|United States Senator|
January 3, 1969 – January 3, 1987
|Preceded by||Carl Hayden|
|Succeeded by||John McCain|
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1965
|Preceded by||Ernest McFarland|
|Succeeded by||Paul Fannin|
|Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee|
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1987
|Preceded by||John Tower|
|Succeeded by||Sam Nunn|
|Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee|
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1985
|Preceded by||Birch Bayh|
|Succeeded by||David Durenberger|
|Member of the Phoenix City Council|
from the at-large district
Barry Morris Goldwater
January 2, 1909
Phoenix, Arizona Territory, U.S.
|Died||May 29, 1998 (aged 89)|
Paradise Valley, Arizona, U.S.
(m. 1934; died 1985)
Susan Shaffer Wechsler
|Children||4, including Barry Jr.|
|Education||University of Arizona (did not graduate)|
|Years of service|
|This article is part of a series on|
in the United States
|Conservatism portal United States portal|
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in the United States
Barry Morris Goldwater (January 2, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was an American politician, statesman, businessman, United States Air Force officer, and author who was a five-term Senator from Arizona (1953–1965, 1969–1987) and the Republican Party nominee for president of the United States in 1964. Goldwater is the politician most often credited with having sparked the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s. Despite his loss of the 1964 presidential election in a landslide, many political pundits and historians believe he laid the foundation for the conservative revolution to follow, as the grassroots organization and conservative takeover of the Republican party began a long-term realignment in American politics which helped to bring about the "Reagan Revolution" of the 1980s. He also had a substantial impact on the libertarian movement.
Goldwater was born in Phoenix in what was then the Arizona Territory, where he helped manage his family's department store. Upon the U.S. entry into World War II, Goldwater received a reserve commission in the United States Army Air Force. He trained as a pilot and was assigned to the Ferry Command, a newly formed unit that flew aircraft and supplies to war zones worldwide. After the war, Goldwater was elected to the Phoenix City Council in 1949 and won election to the U.S. Senate in 1952.
In the Senate, Goldwater rejected the legacy of the New Deal and, along with the conservative coalition, fought against the New Deal coalition. Goldwater also had a reputation as a "maverick" for his challenging his party's moderate to liberal wing on policy issues. A member of the NAACP and active supporter of desegregation in Phoenix, Goldwater voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but reluctantly opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, despite believing in racial equality he felt one of its provisions to be unconstitutional and a potential overreach of the federal government—a decision that considerably anguished him. In 1964, Goldwater mobilized a large conservative constituency to win the hard-fought Republican presidential primaries. Although raised as an Episcopalian, Goldwater was the first candidate of Jewish descent (through his father) to be nominated for president by a major American party. Goldwater's platform ultimately failed to gain the support of the electorate and he lost the 1964 presidential election to incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson by one of the largest margins in history. Goldwater returned to the Senate in 1969 and specialized in defense and foreign policy. As an elder statesman of the party, Goldwater, who was respected by his colleagues for his honor and dedication to principle, successfully urged President Richard Nixon to resign in 1974 when evidence of a cover-up in the Watergate scandal became overwhelming and impeachment was imminent.
Goldwater narrowly won re-election in 1980 for what would be his final and most influential term in the senate. In 1986, Goldwater oversaw passage of the Goldwater–Nichols Act, arguably his most significant legislative achievement, which strengthened civilian authority in the Department of Defense. The following year, he retired from the Senate and was succeeded by Congressman John McCain, who praised his predecessor as the man who "transformed the Republican Party from an Eastern elitist organization to the breeding ground for the election of Ronald Reagan". Goldwater strongly supported the 1980 presidential campaign of Reagan, who had become the standard-bearer of the conservative movement after his "A Time for Choosing" speech. Reagan reflected many of the principles of Goldwater's earlier run in his campaign. The Washington Post columnist George Will took note of this, writing: "We ... who voted for him in 1964 believe he won, it just took 16 years to count the votes".
Goldwater's views on social and cultural issues grew increasingly libertarian as he neared the end of his career. After leaving the Senate, Goldwater's views on social issues cemented as libertarian. He criticized the "moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others [in the Republican Party] who are trying to ... make a religious organization out of it." He supported homosexuals serving openly in the military, environmental protection, abortion rights, and the legalization of medicinal marijuana.
Early life and family background
Goldwater was born in Phoenix in what was then the Arizona Territory, the son of Baron M. Goldwater and his wife, Hattie Josephine "JoJo" Williams. His father's family founded Goldwater's Department Store, a leading upscale department store in Phoenix. Goldwater's paternal grandfather, Michel Goldwasser, a Polish Jew, was born in 1821 in Konin, then part of Congress Poland. He emigrated to London following the Revolutions of 1848. Soon after arriving in London, Michel anglicized his name to Michael Goldwater. Michel married Sarah Nathan, a member of an English-Jewish family, in the Great Synagogue of London. The Goldwaters later emigrated to the United States, first arriving in San Francisco, California before finally settling in the Arizona Territory, where Michael Goldwater opened a small department store that was later taken over and expanded by his three sons, Henry, Baron and Morris. Morris Goldwater (1852–1939) was an Arizona territorial and state legislator, mayor of Prescott, Arizona, delegate to the Arizona Constitutional Convention and later President of the Arizona State Senate.
Goldwater's father, Baron was Jewish; but he was raised in his mother's Episcopalian faith. Hattie Williams came from an established New England family that included the theologian Roger Williams of Rhode Island. Goldwater's parents were married in an Episcopal church in Phoenix; for his entire life, Goldwater was an Episcopalian, though on rare occasions he referred to himself as Jewish. While he did not often attend church, he stated that "If a man acts in a religious way, an ethical way, then he's really a religious man—and it doesn't have a lot to do with how often he gets inside a church."
After he did poorly as a freshman in high school, Goldwater's parents sent him to Staunton Military Academy in Virginia where he played varsity football, basketball, track and swimming, was senior class treasurer and attained the rank of captain. He graduated from the academy in 1928 and enrolled at the University of Arizona. but dropped out after one year. Barry Goldwater is the most recent non-college graduate to be the nominee of a major political party in a presidential election. Goldwater entered the family's business around the time of his father's death in 1930. Six years later, he took over the department store, though he was not particularly enthused about running the business.
With America's entry into World War II, Goldwater received a reserve commission in the United States Army Air Force. Goldwater trained as a pilot and was assigned to the Ferry Command, a newly formed unit that flew aircraft and supplies to war zones worldwide. He spent most of the war flying between the U.S. and India, via the Azores and North Africa or South America, Nigeria, and Central Africa. Goldwater also flew "the hump", one of the most dangerous routes for supply planes during WWII, as it required aircraft to fly directly over the Himalayas in order to deliver desperately needed supplies to the Republic of China.
Following World War II, Goldwater was a leading proponent of creating the United States Air Force Academy, and later served on the Academy's Board of Visitors. The visitor center at the Academy is now named in his honor. Goldwater remained in the Army Air Reserve after the war and in 1946, at the rank of Colonel, Goldwater founded the Arizona Air National Guard. Goldwater ordered the Arizona Air National Guard desegregated, two years before the rest of the U.S. military. Goldwater was instrumental in pushing the Pentagon to support the desegregation of the armed services.
Goldwater remained in the Arizona Air National Guard until 1967, retiring as a Command Pilot with the rank of major general. By that time, he had flown 165 different types of aircraft. As an Air Force Reserve major general, he continued piloting aircraft, including the B-52 Stratofortress, until late in his military career.
As a U.S. Senator, Goldwater had a sign in his office that referenced his military career and mindset: "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots."
Early political career
In a heavily Democratic state, Goldwater became a conservative Republican and a friend of Herbert Hoover. He was outspoken against New Deal liberalism, especially its close ties to labor unions. A pilot, amateur radio operator, outdoorsman and photographer, he criss-crossed Arizona and developed a deep interest in both the natural and the human history of the state. He entered Phoenix politics in 1949, when he was elected to the City Council as part of a nonpartisan team of candidates pledged to clean up widespread prostitution and gambling. The team won every mayoral and council election for the next two decades. Goldwater rebuilt the weak Republican party and was instrumental in electing Howard Pyle as Governor in 1950.
Local support for civil rights
Barry Goldwater was fundamentally a staunch supporter of racial equality. Goldwater integrated his family's business upon taking over control in the 1930s. A lifetime member of the NAACP, Goldwater helped found the group's Arizona chapter. Goldwater saw to it that the Arizona Air National Guard was racially integrated from its inception in 1946, two years before President Truman ordered the military as a whole be integrated (a process that was not completed until 1954). Goldwater worked with Phoenix civil rights leaders to successfully integrate public schools a year prior to Brown vs. Board of Education.
Goldwater was an early member and largely unrecognized supporter of the National Urban League Phoenix chapter, going so far as to cover the group's early operating deficits with his personal funds. Though the NAACP denounced Goldwater in the harshest of terms when he ran for president; the Urban League conferred on Goldwater the 1991 Humanitarian Award "for 50 years of loyal service to the Phoenix Urban League." In response to League members who objected, citing Goldwater's vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the League president pointed out that Goldwater had saved the League more than once and he preferred to judge a person "on the basis of his daily actions rather than on his voting record."
Running as a Republican, Goldwater won a narrow upset victory seat in the 1952, against veteran Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland. He won largely by defeating McFarland in his native Maricopa County by 12,600 votes, almost double the overall margin of 6,725 votes. As a measure of how Democratic Arizona had been since joining the Union 40 years earlier, Goldwater was only the second Republican ever to represent Arizona in the Senate.
In his first year in the Senate, Goldwater was responsible for the desegregation of the Senate cafeteria after he insisted that his black legislative assistant, Katherine Maxwell, be served along with every other Senate employee.
Goldwater defeated McFarland by a larger margin when he ran again in 1958. Following his strong re-election showing, he became the first Arizona Republican to win a second term in the U.S. Senate. Goldwater's victory was all the more remarkable since it came in a year Democrats gained 13 seats in the Senate. He did not seek re-election for the Senate in 1964, deciding to focus instead on his presidential campaign.
During his Senate career, Goldwater was regarded as the "Grand Old Man of the Republican Party and one of the nation's most respected exponents of conservatism".
Criticism of the Eisenhower administration
Goldwater was outspoken about the Eisenhower administration, calling some of the policies of the Eisenhower administration too liberal for a Republican president. "...Democrats delighted in pointing out that the junior senator was so headstrong that he had gone out his way to criticize the president of his own party." There was a Democratic majority in Congress for most of Eisenhower's career and Goldwater felt that President Dwight Eisenhower was compromising too much with Democrats in order to get legislation passed. Early on in his career as a senator for Arizona, he criticized the $71.8 billion budget that President Eisenhower sent to Congress, stating "Now, however, I am not so sure. A $71.8 billion budget not only shocks me, but it weakens my faith." Goldwater opposed Eisenhower's pick of Earl Warren for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. "The day that Eisenhower appointed Governor Earl Warren of California as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Goldwater did not hesitate to express his misgivings."
Stance on civil rights
In his first year in the Senate, Goldwater was responsible for the desegregation of the Senate cafeteria after he insisted that his black legislative assistant, Katherine Maxwell, be served along with every other Senate employee.
Goldwater and the Eisenhower administration supported the integration of schools in the south, but Goldwater felt the states should choose how they wanted to integrate and should not be forced by the federal government. "Goldwater criticized the use of federal troops. He accused the Eisenhower administration of violating the Constitution by assuming powers reserved by the states. While he agreed that under the law, every state should have integrated its schools, each state should integrate in its own way." There were high-ranking government officials following Goldwater's critical stance on the Eisenhower administration, even an Army General. "Fulbright's startling revelation that military personnel were being indoctrinated with the idea that the policies of the Commander in Chief were treasonous dovetailed with the return to the news of the strange case of General Edwin Walker."
Goldwater repeatedly introduced amendments to labor bills that would outlaw racial discrimination in labor unions, however, labor unions successfully used their political influence to defeat Goldwater's proposals. Goldwater voted in favor of both Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution but did not vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1960. While he did vote in favor of it while in committee, Goldwater reluctantly voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it came to the floor. Later, Goldwater would state that he was mostly in support of the bill, but he disagreed with Title II and VII, which both dealt with employment, making him infer that the law would end in the government dictating hiring and firing policy for millions of Americans.
Congressional Republicans overwhelmingly supported the bill, with Goldwater being joined by only 5 other Republican senators in voting against it. It is likely that Goldwater significantly underestimated the effect this would have, as his vote against the bill hurt him with voters across the country, including from his own party. However, in the 1990s, Goldwater would later call his vote on the Civil Rights Act, “one of his greatest regrets."
1964 presidential election
Goldwater's maverick and direct style had made him extremely popular with Republican Party's suburban conservative voters, based on the South and the senator's native West. Following the success of Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater became the frontrunner for the GOP Presidential nomination to run against his close friend John F. Kennedy. Despite their disagreements on politics, Goldwater and Kennedy had grown to become close friends during the eight years they served alongside each other in the Senate. With Goldwater the clear GOP frontrunner, he and JFK began planning to campaign together, holding Lincoln-Douglas style debates across the country and avoiding a race defined by the kind of negative attacks that were increasingly coming to define American politics.
Goldwater was grief-stricken by the assassination of Kennedy and was greatly disappointed that his opponent in 1964 would not be Kennedy but instead his vice president, former Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. Goldwater disliked Johnson, later saying he "used every dirty trick in the bag." Goldwater struggled to emotionally recover for a campaign against Lyndon Johnson. The fallout from Kennedy's assassination, coupled with Goldwater's vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, greatly reduced his viability as a national candidate as well as his popularity within the Republican party.
At the time of Goldwater's presidential candidacy, the Republican Party was split between its conservative wing (based in the West and South) and moderate/liberal wing, sometimes called Rockefeller Republicans (based in the Northeast and Midwest). Goldwater alarmed even some of his fellow partisans with his brand of staunch fiscal conservatism and militant anti-communism. He was viewed by many moderate and liberal Republicans as being too far on the right wing of the political spectrum to appeal to the mainstream majority necessary to win a national election. As a result, moderate and liberal Republicans recruited a series of opponents, including New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton, to challenge him. Goldwater received solid backing from most of the few Southern Republicans then in politics. A young Birmingham lawyer, John Grenier, secured commitments from 271 of 279 Southern convention delegates to back Goldwater. Grenier would serve as executive director of the national GOP during the Goldwater campaign, the number 2 position to party chairman Dean Burch of Arizona. Goldwater fought and won a multi-candidate race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. Goldwater's main rival was New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, whom he defeated by a narrow margin in California's winner take all primary, a win that secured Goldwater's victory for the nomination.
1964 Republican National Convention
Eisenhower gave his support to Goldwater when he told reporters, "I personally believe that Goldwater is not an extremist as some people have made him, but in any event we're all Republicans." His nomination was staunchly opposed by the so-called Liberal Republicans, who thought Goldwater's demand for active measures to defeat the Soviet Union would foment a nuclear war. In addition to Rockefeller, prominent Republican office-holders across the northeast refused to endorse Goldwater's candidacy, including both Republican Senators from New York Kenneth B. Keating and Jacob Javits, Governor Scranton of Pennsylvania and Congressman John V. Lindsay (NY-17). Rockefeller Republican Jackie Robinson walked out of the convention in disgust over Goldwater's nomination.
In the face of such opposition, Goldwater delivered a well-received acceptance speech. The author Lee Edwards says "[Goldwater] devoted more care [to it] than to any other speech in his political career. And with good reason: he would deliver it to the largest and most attentive audience of his life." Journalist John Adams says, "his acceptance speech was bold, reflecting his conservative views, but not irrational. Rather than shrinking from those critics who accuse him of extremism, Goldwater challenged them head-on" in his acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican Convention. In his own words:
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
His paraphrase of Cicero was included at the suggestion of Harry V. Jaffa, though the speech was primarily written by Karl Hess. Because of President Johnson's popularity, Goldwater refrained from attacking the president directly. He did not mention Johnson by name at all in his convention speech.
General election campaign
Former U.S. Senator Prescott Bush, a moderate Republican from Connecticut, was a friend of Goldwater and supported him in the general election campaign. Bush's son, George H. W. Bush (then running for the Senate from Texas against Democrat Ralph Yarborough), was also a strong Goldwater supporter in both the nomination and general election campaigns.
Future Chief Justice of the United States and fellow Arizonan William H. Rehnquist also first came to the attention of national Republicans through his work as a legal adviser to Goldwater's presidential campaign. Rehnquist had begun his law practice in 1953 in the firm of Denison Kitchel of Phoenix, Goldwater's national campaign manager and friend of nearly three decades.
Goldwater was painted as a dangerous figure by the Johnson campaign, which countered Goldwater's slogan "In your heart, you know he's right" with the lines "In your guts, you know he's nuts," and "In your heart, you know he might" (that is, he might actually use nuclear weapons as opposed to using only deterrence). Johnson himself did not mention Goldwater in his own acceptance speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.
Goldwater's provocative advocacy of active interventionism to prevent the spread of communism and defend American values and allies led to effective counterattacks from Lyndon B. Johnson and his supporters, who claimed that Goldwater's militancy would have dire consequences, possibly even nuclear war. In a May 1964 speech, Goldwater suggested that nuclear weapons should be treated more like conventional weapons and used in Vietnam, specifically that they should have been used at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 to defoliate trees. Regarding Vietnam, Goldwater charged that Johnson's policy was devoid of "goal, course, or purpose," leaving "only sudden death in the jungles and the slow strangulation of freedom". Goldwater's rhetoric on nuclear war was viewed by many as quite uncompromising, a view buttressed by off-hand comments such as, "Let's lob one into the men's room at the Kremlin." He also advocated that field commanders in Vietnam and Europe should be given the authority to use tactical nuclear weapons (which he called "small conventional nuclear weapons") without presidential confirmation.
Goldwater countered the Johnson attacks by criticizing the administration for its perceived ethical lapses, and stating in a commercial that "we, as a nation, are not far from the kind of moral decay that has brought on the fall of other nations and people.... I say it is time to put conscience back in government. And by good example, put it back in all walks of American life." Goldwater campaign commercials included statements of support by actor Raymond Massey and moderate Republican senator Margaret Chase Smith.
Before the 1964 election, Fact magazine, published by Ralph Ginzburg, ran a special issue titled "The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater". The two main articles contended that Goldwater was mentally unfit to be president. The magazine supported this claim with the results of a poll of board-certified psychiatrists. Fact had mailed questionnaires to 12,356 psychiatrists, receiving responses from 2,417, of whom 1,189 said Goldwater was mentally incapable of holding the office of president. Most of the other respondents declined to diagnose Goldwater because they had not clinically interviewed him but claimed that, although not psychologically unfit to preside, Goldwater would be negligent and egregious in the role.
After the election, Goldwater sued the publisher, the editor and the magazine for libel in Goldwater v. Ginzburg. "Although the jury awarded Goldwater only $1.00 in compensatory damages against all three defendants, it went on to award him punitive damages of $25,000 against Ginzburg and $50,000 against Fact magazine, Inc." According to Warren Boroson, then-managing editor of Fact and later a financial columnist, the main biography of Goldwater in the magazine was written by David Bar-Illan, the Israeli pianist.
A Democratic campaign advertisement known as Daisy showed a young girl counting daisy petals, from one to ten. Immediately following this scene, a voiceover counted down from ten to one. The child's face was shown as a still photograph followed by images of nuclear explosions and mushroom clouds. The campaign advertisement ended with a plea to vote for Johnson, implying that Goldwater (though not mentioned by name) would provoke a nuclear war if elected. The advertisement, which featured only a few spoken words and relied on imagery for its emotional impact, was one of the most provocative in American political campaign history, and many analysts credit it as being the birth of the modern style of "negative political ads" on television. The ad aired only once and was immediately pulled, but it was then shown many times by local television stations covering the controversy.
Goldwater did not have ties to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), but he was publicly endorsed by members of the organization. Lyndon B. Johnson exploited this association during the elections, but Goldwater barred the KKK from supporting him and denounced them.
Throughout the presidential campaign, Goldwater refused to appeal to racial tensions or backlash against civil rights. After the outbreak of the Harlem riot of 1964, Goldwater privately gathered news reporters on his campaign plane and said that if anyone attempted to sow racial violence on his political behalf, he would withdraw from the presidential race - even if it was the day before the election.
Past comments came back to haunt Goldwater throughout the campaign. He had once called the Eisenhower administration "a dime-store New Deal" and the former president never fully forgave him. However, Eisenhower did film a television commercial with Goldwater. Eisenhower qualified his voting for Goldwater in November by remarking that he had voted not specifically for Goldwater, but for the Republican Party. In December 1961, Goldwater had told a news conference that "sometimes I think this country would be better off if we could just saw off the Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea." That comment boomeranged on him during the campaign in the form of a Johnson television commercial, as did remarks about making Social Security voluntary, and statements in Tennessee about selling the Tennessee Valley Authority, a large local New Deal employer.
The Goldwater campaign spotlighted Ronald Reagan, who appeared in a campaign ad. In turn, Reagan gave a stirring, nationally televised speech, "A Time for Choosing", in support of Goldwater. The speech prompted Reagan to seek the California Governorship in 1966 and jump-started his political career. Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, later well known for her fight against the Equal Rights Amendment, first became known for writing a pro-Goldwater book, A Choice, Not an Echo, attacking the moderate Republican establishment.
Goldwater lost to President Lyndon Johnson by a landslide, pulling down the Republican Party which lost many seats in both houses of Congress.
Goldwater only won his home state of Arizona and five states in the Deep South. The Southern states, traditionally Democratic up to that time, voted Republican primarily as a statement of opposition to the Civil Rights Act, which had been signed into law by Johnson earlier that year. Outside of the South, the law was extremely popular. Despite Johnson's support for the Civil Rights Act, the bill received split support from Congressional Democrats due to southernern opposition. In contrast, Congressional Republicans overwhelmingly supported the bill, with Goldwater being joined by only 5 other Republican senators in voting against it. Outside of the South, the Civil Rights Act was extremely popular and Goldwater's opposition to it hurt him significantly with voters across the country, including from his own party.
In the end, Goldwater received 38% of the popular vote and carried just six states: Arizona (with 51% of the popular vote) and the core states of the Deep South: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. In carrying Georgia by a margin of 54–45%, Goldwater became the first Republican nominee to win the state. However, the overall result was the worst showing in terms of the popular vote and electoral college vote for any post-World War II Republican. Indeed, he would not have even carried his own state if not for a 20,000-vote margin in Maricopa County.
Johnson won an overwhelming 486 electoral votes, to Goldwater's 52. Goldwater, with his customary bluntness, remarked, "We would have lost even if Abraham Lincoln had come back and campaigned with us." He maintained later in life that he would have won the election if the country had not been in a state of extended grief following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and that it was simply not ready for a third president in just 14 months.
Goldwater's poor showing pulled down many supporters. Of the 57 Republican Congressmen who endorsed Goldwater before the convention, 20 were defeated for reelection, along with many promising young Republicans. In contrast, Republican Congressman John Lindsay (NY-17), who refused to endorse Goldwater was handily re-elected in a district where Democrats held a 10% overall advantage. On the other hand, the defeat of so many older politicians created openings for young conservatives to move up the ladder. While the loss of moderate Republicans was temporary—they were back by 1966—Goldwater also permanently pulled many conservative Southerners and white ethnics out of the New Deal Coalition.
According to Steve Kornacki of Salon, "Goldwater broke through and won five [Southern] states—the best showing in the region for a GOP candidate since Reconstruction. In Mississippi—where Franklin D. Roosevelt had won nearly 100 percent of the vote 28 years earlier—Goldwater claimed a staggering 87 percent." It has frequently been argued that Goldwater's strong performance in Southern states previously regarded as Democratic strongholds foreshadowed a larger shift in electoral trends in the coming decades that would make the South a Republican bastion (an end to the "Solid South")—first in presidential politics and eventually at the congressional and state levels, as well. Also, Goldwater's uncompromising promotion of freedom was the start of a continuing shift in American politics from liberalism to a conservative economic philosophy.
Return to the Senate
Throughout the late 1970s, as the conservative wing under Ronald Reagan gained control of the Republican Party, Goldwater concentrated on his Senate duties, especially in military affairs. Goldwater purportedly did not like Richard Nixon on either a political or personal level, later calling the California Republican "the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life". Accordingly, he played little part in Nixon's election or administration, but he helped force Nixon's resignation in 1974. At the height of the Watergate scandal, Goldwater met with Nixon at the White House and urged him to resign. At the time, Nixon's impeachment by the House of Representatives was imminent and Goldwater warned him that fewer than 10 Republican senators would vote against conviction. After Goldwater helped convince Nixon to resign, the term "Goldwater moment" has been used to describe situations when influential members of Congress disagree so strongly with a president from their own party that they openly oppose him.
Despite being a difficult year for Republicans candidates, the 1974 election saw Goldwater easily reelected over his Democratic opponent, Jonathan Marshall, the publisher of The Scottsdale Progress.
At the 1976 Republican National Convention, Goldwater helped block Rockefeller's renomination as vice president. When Reagan challenged Ford for the presidential nomination in 1976, Goldwater endorsed the incumbent Ford, looking for consensus rather than conservative idealism. As one historian notes, "The Arizonan had lost much of his zest for battle."
In 1979, when President Carter normalized relations with Communist China, Goldwater and some other Senators sued him in the Supreme Court, arguing that the President could not terminate the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty with Republic of China (Taiwan) without the approval of Congress. The case, Goldwater v. Carter 444 U.S. 996, was dismissed by the court as a political question.
Final campaign and Senate term
With his fourth Senate term due to end in January 1981, Goldwater seriously considered retiring from the Senate in 1980 before deciding to run for one final term. It was a surprisingly tough battle for re-election. Goldwater was viewed by some as out of touch and vulnerable for several reasons, chiefly because he had planned to retire in 1981, he had not visited many areas of Arizona outside of Phoenix and Tucson. Additionally, his Democrat challenger, Bill Schulz, proved to be a formidable opponent. A former Republican and a wealthy real estate developer, Schultz's campaign slogan was "Energy for the Eighties." Arizona's changing population also hurt Goldwater. The state's population had soared and a huge portion of the electorate had not lived in the state when Goldwater was previously elected; meaning unlike most incumbents, many voters were less familiar with Goldwater's actual beliefs. Goldwater would go on to spend most of the campaign on the defensive. Although he went on to win the general election by a very narrow margin, receiving 49.5% of the vote to Schulz's 48.4%, early returns on election night indicated that Schulz would win. The counting of votes continued through the night and into the next morning. At around daybreak, Goldwater learned that he had been reelected thanks to absentee ballots, which were among the last to be counted.
Goldwater's surprisingly close victory in 1980 came despite Reagan's 61% landslide over Jimmy Carter in Arizona. Despite Goldwater's struggles, in 1980 Republicans were able to pick up 12 senate seats, regaining control of the chamber for the first time since 1955, when Goldwater was in his first term. Goldwater was now in the most powerful position he had ever been in the Senate. In October 1983, Goldwater voted against the legislation establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday.
After the new senate convened in January 1981, Goldwater became chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. In this role he had a notable clash with the Reagan administration in April 1984 when he discovered that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been mining the waters of Nicaragua since February, something that he had first denied when the matter was raised. In a note to the CIA director William Casey, Goldwater denounced what he called an "act of war", saying that "this is no way to run a railroad" as he stated crossly that only Congress had the power to declare war and accused the CIA of illegally mining Nicaraguan waters without the permission of Congress. Goldwater concluded: "The President has asked us to back his foreign policy. Bill, how can we back his foreign policy when we don't know what the hell he is doing? Lebanon, yes, we all knew that he sent troops over there. But mine the harbors in Nicaragua? This is an act violating international law. It is an act of war. For the life of me, I don't see how we are going to explain it." Goldwater felt compelled to issue an apology on the floor of the Senate because the Senate Intelligence Committee had failed in its duties to oversee the CIA as he stated: "I am forced to apologize for the members of my committee because I did not know the facts on this case. And I apologize to all the members of the Senate for the same reason". Goldwater subsequently voted for a Congressional resolution condemning the mining.
In his 1980 Senate reelection campaign, Goldwater won support from religious conservatives but in his final term voted consistently to uphold legalized abortion and in 1981 gave a speech on how he was angry about the bullying of American politicians by religious organizations, and would "fight them every step of the way". Goldwater also disagreed with the Reagan administration on certain aspects of foreign policy (for example, he opposed the decision to mine Nicaraguan harbors). Notwithstanding his prior differences with Dwight D. Eisenhower, Goldwater in a 1986 interview rated him the best of the seven presidents with whom he had worked.
He introduced the 1984 Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act, which allowed local governments to require the transmission of public, educational, and government access (PEG) channels, barred cable operators from exercising editorial control over the content of programs carried on PEG channels, and absolved them from liability for their content.
Goldwater visited the small town of Bowen, Illinois, in 1989 to see where his mother was raised.
In response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell's opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, "Every good Christian should be concerned", Goldwater retorted: "Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass." According to John Dean, Goldwater actually suggested that good Christians ought to kick Falwell in the "nuts", but the news media "changed the anatomical reference".[page needed] Goldwater also had harsh words for his one-time political protégé, President Reagan, particularly after the Iran–Contra Affair became public in 1986. Journalist Robert MacNeil, a friend of Goldwater's from the 1964 presidential campaign, recalled interviewing him in his office shortly afterward. "He was sitting in his office with his hands on his cane... and he said to me, 'Well, aren't you going to ask me about the Iran arms sales?' It had just been announced that the Reagan administration had sold arms to Iran. And I said, 'Well, if I asked you, what would you say?' He said, 'I'd say it's the god-damned stupidest foreign policy blunder this country's ever made!'", although aside from the Iran–Contra scandal, Goldwater thought nonetheless that Reagan was a good president.
Goldwater said later that the close result in 1980 convinced him not to run again. He retired in 1987, serving as chair of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees in his final term. Despite his reputation as a firebrand in the 1960s, by the end of his career, he was considered a stabilizing influence in the Senate, one of the most respected members of either major party. Although Goldwater remained staunchly anti-communist and "hawkish" on military issues, he was a key supporter of the fight for ratification of the Panama Canal Treaty in the 1970s, which would give control of the canal zone to the Republic of Panama. His most important legislative achievement may have been the Goldwater–Nichols Act, which reorganized the U.S. military's senior-command structure.
Goldwater became most associated with labor union reform and anti-communism; he was a supporter of the conservative coalition in Congress. His work on labor issues led to Congress passing major anti-corruption reforms in 1957, and an all-out campaign by the AFL-CIO to defeat his 1958 reelection bid. He voted against the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954, but he never actually charged any individual with being a communist/Soviet agent. Goldwater emphasized his strong opposition to the worldwide spread of communism in his 1960 book The Conscience of a Conservative. The book became an important reference text in conservative political circles.
In 1964, Goldwater ran a conservative campaign that emphasized states' rights. Goldwater's 1964 campaign was a magnet for conservatives since he opposed interference by the federal government in state affairs. Goldwater voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but did not vote on the Civil Rights Act of 1960. Though Goldwater had supported the original Senate version of the bill, Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His stance was based on his view that Article II and Article VII of the Act interfered with the rights of private persons to do or not to do business with whomever they chose and believed that the private employment provisions of the Act would lead to racial quotas. In the segregated city of Phoenix in the 1950s, he had quietly supported civil rights for blacks, but would not let his name be used.
All this appealed to white Southern Democrats, and Goldwater was the first Republican to win the electoral votes of all of the Deep South states (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana) since Reconstruction. However, Goldwater's vote on the Civil Rights Act proved devastating to his campaign everywhere outside the South (besides Dixie, Goldwater won only in Arizona, his home state), contributing to his landslide defeat in 1964.
While Goldwater had been depicted by his opponents in the Republican primaries as a representative of a conservative philosophy that was extreme and alien, his voting records show that his positions were in harmony with those of his fellow Republicans in the Congress. According to Hans J. Morgenthau, what distinguished him from his predecessors was his firmness of principle and determination, which did not allow him to be content with mere rhetoric.
Goldwater fought in 1971 to stop U.S. funding of the United Nations after the People's Republic of China was admitted to the organization. He said:
I suggested on the floor of the Senate today that we stop all funds for the United Nations. Now, what that'll do to the United Nations, I don't know. I have a hunch it would cause them to fold up, which would make me very happy at this particular point. I think if this happens, they can well move their headquarters to Peking or Moscow and get 'em out of this country.
Goldwater and the revival of American conservatism
Although Goldwater was not as important in the American conservative movement as Ronald Reagan after 1965, he shaped and redefined the movement from the late 1950s to 1964. Arizona Senator John McCain, who had succeeded Goldwater in the Senate in 1987, summed up Goldwater's legacy, "He transformed the Republican Party from an Eastern elitist organization to the breeding ground for the election of Ronald Reagan." Columnist George Will remarked after the 1980 presidential election that it took 16 years to count the votes from 1964 and Goldwater won.
The Republican Party recovered from the 1964 election debacle, acquiring 47 seats in the House of Representatives in the 1966 mid-term election. Further Republican successes ensued, including Goldwater's return to the Senate in 1969. In January of that year, Goldwater wrote an article in the National Review "affirming that he [was] not against liberals, that liberals are needed as a counterweight to conservatism, and that he had in mind a fine liberal like Max Lerner".
Goldwater was a strong supporter of environmental protection. He explained his position in 1969:
I feel very definitely that the [Nixon] administration is absolutely correct in cracking down on companies and corporations and municipalities that continue to pollute the nation's air and water. While I am a great believer in the free competitive enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right of our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment. To this end, it is my belief that when pollution is found, it should be halted at the source, even if this requires stringent government action against important segments of our national economy.
By the 1980s, with Ronald Reagan as president and the growing involvement of the religious right in conservative politics, Goldwater's libertarian views on personal issues were revealed; he believed that they were an integral part of true conservatism. Goldwater viewed abortion as a matter of personal choice and as such supported abortion rights.
After his retirement in 1987, Goldwater described the Arizona Governor Evan Mecham as "hardheaded" and called on him to resign, and two years later stated that the Republican party had been taken over by a "bunch of kooks".
In 1987 he received the Langley Gold Medal from the Smithsonian Institution. In 1988, Princeton University's American Whig-Cliosophic Society awarded Goldwater the James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service in recognition of his career.
In a 1994 interview with The Washington Post, the retired senator said,
When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye.
In 1988 during that year's presidential campaign, he pointedly told vice-presidential nominee Dan Quayle at a campaign event in Arizona "I want you to go back and tell George Bush to start talking about the issues."
Some of Goldwater's statements in the 1990s alienated many social conservatives. He endorsed Democrat Karan English in an Arizona congressional race, urged Republicans to lay off Bill Clinton over the Whitewater scandal, and criticized the military's ban on homosexuals: He said that "Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar" and that "You don't need to be 'straight' to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight." A few years before his death, he addressed establishment Republicans by saying, "Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you've hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have."
In 1996, he told Bob Dole, whose own presidential campaign received lukewarm support from conservative Republicans: "We're the new liberals of the Republican party. Can you imagine that?" In that same year, with Senator Dennis DeConcini, Goldwater endorsed an Arizona initiative to legalize medical marijuana against the countervailing opinion of social conservatives.
Personal life and death
In 1934, he married Margaret "Peggy" Johnson, daughter of a prominent industrialist from Muncie, Indiana. They had four children: Joanne (born January 18, 1936), Barry (born July 15, 1938), Michael (born March 15, 1940), and Peggy (born July 27, 1944). Goldwater became a widower in 1985, and in 1992 he married Susan Wechsler, a nurse 32 years his junior.
Goldwater's grandson, Ty Ross, is an interior designer and former Zoli model. Ross, who is openly gay and HIV positive, has been credited as inspiring the elder Goldwater "to become an octogenarian proponent of gay civil rights".
Goldwater ran track and cross country in high school, where he specialized in the 880 yard run. His parents strongly encouraged him to compete in these sports, to his dismay. He often went by the nickname of "Rolling Thunder".
In 1940, Goldwater became one of the first people to run the Colorado River recreationally through Grand Canyon participating as an oarsman on Norman Nevills' second commercial river trip. Goldwater joined them in Green River, Utah, and rowed his own boat down to Lake Mead. In 1970 the Arizona Historical Foundation published the daily journal Goldwater had maintained on the Grand Canyon journey, including his photographs, in a 209-page volume titled Delightful Journey.
In 1963, he joined the Arizona Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was also a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and Sigma Chi fraternity. He belonged to both the York Rite and Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and was awarded the 33rd degree in the Scottish Rite.
Hobbies and interests
Goldwater was an avid amateur radio operator from the early 1920s onwards, with the call signs 6BPI, K3UIG and K7UGA. The last is now used by an Arizona club honoring him as a commemorative call. During the Vietnam War he was a Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS) operator.
Goldwater was a prominent spokesman for amateur radio and its enthusiasts. Beginning in 1969 and up to his death, he appeared in numerous educational and promotional films (and later videos) about the hobby that were produced for the American Radio Relay League (the United States national society representing the interests of radio amateurs) by such producers as Dave Bell (W6AQ), ARRL Southwest Director John R. Griggs (W6KW), Alan Kaul (W6RCL), Forrest Oden (N6ENV), and the late Roy Neal (K6DUE). His first appearance was in Dave Bell's The World of Amateur Radio where Goldwater discussed the history of the hobby and demonstrated a live contact with Antarctica. His last on-screen appearance dealing with "ham radio" was in 1994, explaining a then-upcoming, Earth-orbiting ham radio relay satellite.
Electronics was a hobby for Goldwater beyond amateur radio. He enjoyed assembling Heathkits, completing more than 100 and often visiting their maker in Benton Harbor, Michigan, to buy more, before the company exited the kit business in 1992.
In 1916, Goldwater visited the Hopi Reservation with Phoenix architect John Rinker Kibby, and obtained his first kachina doll. Eventually his doll collection included 437 items and was presented in 1969 to the Heard Museum in Phoenix.
Goldwater was an amateur photographer and in his estate left some 15,000 of his images to three Arizona institutions. He was very keen on candid photography. He got started in photography after receiving a camera as a gift from his wife on their first Christmas together. He was known to use a 4×5 Graflex, Rolleiflex, 16 mm Bell and Howell motion picture camera, and 35 mm Nikkormat FT. He was a member of the Royal Photographic Society from 1941 becoming a Life Member in 1948.
For decades, he contributed photographs of his home state to Arizona Highways and was best known for his Western landscapes and pictures of native Americans in the United States. Three books with his photographs are People and Places, from 1967; Barry Goldwater and the Southwest, from 1976; and Delightful Journey, first published in 1940 and reprinted in 1970. Ansel Adams wrote a foreword to the 1976 book.
Goldwater's photography interests occasionally crossed over with his political career. John F. Kennedy, as president, was known to invite former congressional colleagues to the White House for a drink. On one occasion, Goldwater brought his camera and photographed President Kennedy. When Kennedy received the photo, he returned it to Goldwater, with the inscription, "For Barry Goldwater—Whom I urge to follow the career for which he has shown such talent—photography!—from his friend—John Kennedy." This quip became a classic of American political humor after it was made famous by humorist Bennett Cerf. The photo itself was prized by Goldwater for the rest of his life and recently sold for $17,925 in a Heritage auction.
Son Michael Prescott Goldwater formed the Goldwater Family Foundation with the goal of making his father's photography available via the internet. (Barry Goldwater Photographs) was launched in September 2006 to coincide with the HBO documentary Mr. Conservative, produced by granddaughter CC Goldwater.
On March 28, 1975, Goldwater wrote to Shlomo Arnon: "The subject of UFOs has interested me for some long time. About ten or twelve years ago I made an effort to find out what was in the building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where the information has been stored that has been collected by the Air Force, and I was understandably denied this request. It is still classified above Top Secret." Goldwater further wrote that there were rumors the evidence would be released, and that he was "just as anxious to see this material as you are, and I hope we will not have to wait much longer".
The April 25, 1988 issue of The New Yorker carried an interview where Goldwater said he repeatedly asked his friend, General Curtis LeMay, if there was any truth to the rumors that UFO evidence was stored in a secret room at Wright-Patterson, and if he (Goldwater) might have access to the room. According to Goldwater, an angry LeMay gave him "holy hell" and said, "Not only can't you get into it but don't you ever mention it to me again."
In a 1988 interview on Larry King's radio show, Goldwater was asked if he thought the U.S. Government was withholding UFO evidence; he replied "Yes, I do." He added:
I certainly believe in aliens in space. They may not look like us, but I have very strong feelings that they have advanced beyond our mental capabilities... I think some highly secret government UFO investigations are going on that we don't know about—and probably never will unless the Air Force discloses them.[unreliable fringe source?]
On Larry King's show in 1994, Goldwater says:
I think the government does know. I can't back that up, but I think that at Wright-Patterson field, if you could get into certain places, you'd find out what the Air Force and the government knows about UFOs ... I called Curtis LeMay and I said, 'General, I know we have a room at Wright-Patterson where you put all this secret stuff. Could I go in there?' I've never heard him get mad, but he got madder than hell at me, cussed me out, and said, 'Don't ever ask me that question again!'
Goldwater's public appearances ended in late 1996 after he suffered a massive stroke. Family members disclosed he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. He died on May 29, 1998, at the age of 89 at his long-time home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, of complications from the stroke. His funeral was co-officiated by both a reverend and a rabbi. His ashes were buried at the Episcopal Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley, Arizona. A memorial statue set in a small park has been erected to honor the memory of Goldwater in that town, near his former home and current resting place.
Buildings and monuments
Among the buildings and monuments named after Barry Goldwater are: the Barry M. Goldwater Terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Goldwater Memorial Park in Paradise Valley, Arizona, the Barry Goldwater Air Force Academy Visitor Center at the United States Air Force Academy, and Barry Goldwater High School in northern Phoenix. In 2010, former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, himself a Goldwater scholar and supporter, founded the Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic Tournament to be held annually at the Phoenix Country Club in Phoenix. On February 11, 2015, a statue of Goldwater by Deborah Copenhaver Fellows was unveiled by U.S. House and Senate leaders at a dedication ceremony in National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Barry Goldwater Peak is the highest peak in the White Tank Mountains.
The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986. Its goal is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.
The Scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences. It is awarded to about 300 students (college sophomores and juniors) nationwide in the amount of $7,500 per academic year (for their senior year, or junior and senior years). It honors Goldwater's keen interest in science and technology.
Goldwater's granddaughter, CC Goldwater, has co-produced with longtime friend and independent film producer Tani L. Cohen a documentary on Goldwater's life, Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater, first shown on HBO on September 18, 2006.
In popular culture
In his song "I Shall Be Free No. 10", Bob Dylan refers to Goldwater: "I'm liberal to a degree, I want everybody to be free. But if you think I'll let Barry Goldwater move in next door and marry my daughter, you must think I'm crazy." In the 1965 film The Bedford Incident, the actor Richard Widmark playing the film's antagonist, Captain Eric Finlander of the fictional destroyer USS Bedford, modelled his character's mannerisms and rhetorical style after Goldwater.
- Command Pilot Badge
- Service Pilot Badge (former U.S. Army Air Forces rating)
- Legion of Merit
- Air Medal
- Army Commendation Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with campaign star
- World War II Victory Medal
- Armed Forces Reserve Medal with three bronze hourglasses
- Presidential Medal of Freedom (1986)
- American Legion Distinguished Service Medal
- Marconi Gold Medal, Veteran Wireless Operators Association (1968)
- Marconi Medal of Achievement (1968)
- Bob Hope Five Star Civilian Award (1976)
- Good Citizenship Award, Daughters of the American Revolution
- 33rd Degree Mason
- The Douglas MacArthur Memorial Award
- Top Gun Award, Luke Air Force Base
- Order of Fifinella Award – Champion of the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) (1978)
- Thomas D. White National Defense Award 1978
- Conservative Digest Award (1980)
- Senator John Warner Award for Public Service in the field of Nuclear Disarmament (1983)
- Alexander M. Haig, Jr. Memorial Award (1983)
- National Congress of American Indians Congressional Award (1985)
- Space Pioneer Award, Sixth Space Development Conference (1987)
- James Madison Award, American Whig-Cliosophic Society (1988)
- National Aviation Hall of Fame (1982)
- The Conscience of a Conservative (1960)
- Why Not Victory? A Fresh Look at American Policy (1963)
- Where I Stand (1964)
- Conscience of a Majority (1971)
- The Coming Breakpoint (1976)
- Arizona (1977)
- With No Apologies: The Personal and Political Memoirs of Senator Barry M. Goldwater (1980)
- Goldwater (1988)
Goldwater's son Barry Goldwater Jr. served as a Congressman from California from 1969 to 1983. He was the first Congressman to serve while having a father in the Senate. Goldwater's uncle Morris Goldwater served in the Arizona territorial and state legislatures and as mayor of Prescott, Arizona. Goldwater's nephew Don Goldwater sought the Arizona Republican Party nomination for Governor of Arizona in 2006, but he was defeated by Len Munsil.
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Goldwater did not run as a Jew and did not seek the support of other Jews. He did not go out of his way to support Israel, either. On the other hand, he never disavowed his Jewish antecedents. ... Whether Goldwater should be seen as Jewish is an open question.
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