Victor Gold (journalist)
Victor (Vic) Gold (born 1928) is an American journalist, author, and Republican political consultant. His career as a political consultant spanned the period from the 1964 Presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater through George H. W. Bush's 1992 re-election campaign, and he co-wrote Bush's 1987 autobiography.
Early life and career
Victor Gold grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he attended New Orleans public schools and Tulane University. After his graduation from Tulane he worked as a reporter-correspondent for the Birmingham News (Birmingham, Alabama) before entering law school at the University of Alabama, where he received a law degree. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
In 1958 Gold joined the Washington, D.C. public relations firm of Selvage & Lee. His interest in Republican politics began after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which made him disillusioned with the Presidency of Democrat John F. Kennedy, for whom he had voted in 1960. He was attracted to Senator Barry Goldwater for his strong stance against Communism, his libertarianism, and his contrarian tendencies. In 1964 he became deputy press secretary for Goldwater's unsuccessful presidential campaign. In his chronicle of the 1964 election, Theodore White described Gold as having played a critical role in helping to overcome the press corps' hostility toward Goldwater. A 2007 article in the Washington Post quoted White as saying that Gold "carried [the journalists'] bags, got them to the trains on time, out-shouted policemen on their behalf, bedded them down and woke them up, and before they knew it, the correspondents, about 95 percent anti-Goldwater by conviction, had been won to a friendship with the diminutive intellectual which spilled over onto his hero."
In 1965 Gold opened his own political public relations firm in Washington, serving Republican clients including Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, and Shirley Temple Black. At the Republican National Conventions of 1968 and 1976 he worked with press secretary Lyn Nofziger in support of the presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan, who was at the time governor of California. During the Nixon administration he served as press secretary to Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. Timothy Crouse wrote in The Boys on the Bus that while the reporters covering Agnew were occasionally amused by Gold's politics, much like the Goldwater reporters had they respected him as a "stickler for perfection. He made sure that everyone had a room, that everyone knew where the phones were, and that the Western Union man was never more than a few feet away". He worked with Agnew in the Congressional election campaign of 1970, when Agnew made appearances around the country criticizing incumbent Democratic Senators with epithets such as "nattering nabobs of negativism."
In 1980 Gold joined the staff of Republican presidential candidate George H. W. Bush as a speechwriter and senior advisor. He served on Bush's vice-presidential staff in 1981, was a speechwriter and advisor for the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1984, and was an advisor to Bush in his 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns.
In 1989 he was appointed to a delegation sent by President Bush to provide oversight of the first free elections in Romania after the ouster of Nicolae Ceauşescu. As a Bush appointee on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting during the early 1990s, he criticized the CPB for its funding of Pacifica Radio and other liberal media outlets.
Journalism and book-writing career
Gold is a long-time contributor to Washingtonian magazine, for which he holds the position of national correspondent. He also has written articles on politics and sports for numerous other U.S. publications, has been a speaker for political audiences and on university campuses, and has appeared on television shows.
Together with Lynne Cheney (who was a colleague at Washingtonian magazine before she became chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities) he co-authored a satirical political novel entitled The Body Politic, published in 1988. The novel revolves around a Republican vice president who dies while making love to a female television news reporter.
He also is the author of several nonfiction books. I Don't Need You When I'm Right recounted his experience in Washington public relations. P-R As In President dealt with the influence of the news media and public relations in U.S. presidential political campaigns.
In his 2007 book Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Neo-Cons and Holy Rollers Destroyed the GOP he attacked President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. In the book he called the younger Bush "the weakest, most out of touch president in modern times." Of Cheney, who he called "Machiavellian," he said: "A vice president in control is bad enough. Worse yet is a vice president out of control." Under their leadership, he said that the Republican Party had abandoned its long-time principles of small government, prudent foreign policy, and keeping government out of people's private lives. He decried the influence of religious right leaders such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, and said that the Republican Party had been transformed into "a party of pork-barrel ear-markers like Dennis Hastert, of political hatchet men like Karl Rove, and of Bible-thumping hypocrites like Tom DeLay." The criticisms were considered particularly noteworthy in view of Gold's close relationships with the people he attacked.
In 1992 Gold received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Political Communication from the University of Alabama.
- I Don't Need You When I'm Right: The Confessions of a Washington PR Man, by Victor Gold. Morrow, 1975. ISBN 0-688-02909-4, ISBN 978-0-688-02909-8
- P-R as in President, by Victor Gold. Doubleday, 1977. ISBN 0-385-12334-5, ISBN 978-0-385-12334-1
- Looking Forward, by George Bush with Victor Gold. Doubleday, 1987.
- The Body Politic by Victor Gold and Lynne V. Cheney. Macmillan, 1988. ISBN 0-312-02171-2, ISBN 978-0-312-02171-9
- Liberwocky: What Liberals Say and What They Really Mean, by Victor Gold. Thomas Nelson, 2004. ISBN 0-7852-6057-9, ISBN 978-0-7852-6057-8
- Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Neo-Cons and Holy Rollers Destroyed the GOP, by Victor Gold. Sourcebooks Trade, 2007. ISBN 1-4022-0841-3, ISBN 978-1-4022-0841-6
- Victor Gold profile, June 29, 2007, Bill Moyers Journal website.
- Michael Abramowitz, Rightist Indignation: GOP Insider Vic Gold Launches a Broadside at the State of the Party, The Washington Post, April 2, 2007
- Guest Archive: Victor Gold, Friday, August 27, 2004, The John Hancock Show, WBT website, Greater Media Charlotte, Inc.
- Crouse, Timothy (1973). The Boys on the Bus. New York City: Random House. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-8129-6820-0.
- Invasion of the Party Snatchers description and reviews, Amazon.com website, accessed May 3, 2009
- The History of KPFA, KPFA website, accessed May 3, 2009
- Victor Gold Knows How to Succeed in DC by Victor Gold, self-interview for Washingtonian magazine, October 1, 2008
- The Wayward Lemming, Victor Gold's blog