Barry Gold water’s Politics of Integrity
Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign ended in one of the most resounding electoral defeats in the country's history. His loss was seen as confirmation of New Deal liberal hegemony. Yet the very ideas rejected with Goldwater's defeat, namely small government, states' rights, and an increased militarism, became the reigning public philosophy a mere sixteen years later with the success of the “Reagan Revolution.” This chapter investigates the paradoxical relationship between the nation's repudiation of Goldwater and its subsequent elevation of his ideas to a winning public philosophy. The very elements that led to Goldwater's defeat facilitated the eventual success of modern conservatism: Goldwater developed a coherent conservative ideology and agenda that he refused to adulterate for political advantage. As outsiders to the Republican establishment, his campaign built an organization that lived on after his defeat. The clarity of his vision and the dedication of his partisan following depended on his unusual character—a man more dedicated to a cause than to attainment of office. This interpretation of Goldwater casts him more than a leader ahead of his time; rather, he founded modern conservatism and altered the developmental path of the Republican Party and the nation.
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