Words From Barry Goldwater

Probably the Johnson/Goldwater contest was the first national political campaign of which I was aware. Although I was just a lad, I realized how over-the-top Johnson’s A-bomb-cloud/child/flower ad was.

Later, I was perplexed when I found out Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act, which passed with a lot of Republican support.

In any event, some words from the late senator from Arizona:

Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.

[Apparently the Civil Rights Act didn’t represent “equality, rightly understood” in his opinion.]

Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

[Depending upon what acts extremism led to, might extremism in defense of liberty be vicious? ]

I think any man in business would be foolish to fool around with his secretary. If it’s somebody else’s secretary, fine.

[Easy both to chuckle at this one and to note the values and attitudes it represents, but at the same time, it exhibits the quality of a joke prepared for the Rubber Chicken Circuit.]

I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.

Nixon was the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life. He lied to his wife, his family, his friends, his colleagues in the Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world.

[Hard to disagree with Goldwater on this, given the facts, but the rise of recent powerful liars sometimes makes Nixon look like an amateur.]

You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.

[Well put, senator–although it’s also true that you don’t even have to shoot straight if you’re in communications, supplies, etc.]

Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes- and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?

[Indeed, sir.]

I could have ended the war in a month. I could have made North Vietnam look like a mud puddle.

[This quotation may represent the side of Goldwater that helped to make Johnson’s TV ad effective.   “Mud puddle” is such an awful figure of speech here because it excludes any hint of the genocide Goldwater apparently had in mind.]


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