Talk:Barry Goldwater

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RJJensen 16:55, 5 December 2008 (EST)

Barry Goldwater

I see some recent stretching to include people like Goldwater as libertarians. You are too good a historian to muddle the waters with throw-away lines such as "many of his later views were libertarian". Yes? So? Many of his views would, today, be considered near leftist as well. Historians need to resist revisionism. In his time, by his own definition, Goldwater rejected libertarianism, and self-branded himself a conservative. Goldwater did not believe in abortion as a substitute for abstaining or birth control, nor did he support "abortion on demand". Many views held by even Ted Kennedy could be considered "conservative", but that hardly gives license to brand him one, or make the statement "some of his views are conservative", that would be misleading, IMO. --₮K/Talk! 16:55, 5 December 2008 (EST)

well I knew Goldater personally since 1958 and followed his career very closely. After 1980 or so he was libertarian on most social issues, while remaining conservative on defense and spending issues. In his heyday as a conservative leader (1960-64) he rarely mentioned social issues and they were seldom on the agenda. Here is what Bill Buckley said of Goldwater:
Conspicuous here was his defense of Supreme Court decisions involving abortion, gay rights, and the separation of church and state. Most followers of the senator were surprised, and abashed, especially at his defense of abortion.from National RreviewDec10, 2004

RJJensen 17:01, 5 December 2008 (EST)

  • Ditto for me. My family were neighbors at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, CA, for several decades. But this is straw snatching, trying to paint the man as a libertarian, by a few high-profile pronouncements later in life, to somehow add cred to the libertarian cause. Find your own hero's, but kindly do not snatch our conservative ones! I do not disagree with showing, with cites, his later libertarian views (many of which I agreed with), but putting him, and others, with the help of another libertarian editor, into the libertarian category, and implying some "conversion" isn't being honest. --₮K/Talk! 17:19, 5 December 2008 (EST)
Conversion? well, I think Barry was always a libertarian but only became outspoken about it in the 1980s when social issues got high on the political agenda. When he was a leader of the conservative movement (1958-64) he rarely mentioned social issues of any kind--he never mentioned abortion, for example. (he did mention gays in 1964 in the Walter Jenkins scandal--a top LBJ aide was arrested during the election campaign-- but did not condemn it.) His libertarianism after 1980 was not a "few" statements it was his high profile fight to get O'Connor on the Supreme Court. He was at that time a very powerful Senator and his views are quite important. RJJensen 17:42, 5 December 2008 (EST)
Perhaps he should not be in the category libertarianism in which I placed his page. He may not have self-identified, but he had many more libertarian views (and even some pro-abortion ones, which many libertarians disagree with, myself included) than many of self-identified libertarians do. As such, he was a major influence that both the conservative movement and the libertarian philosophy should respect. Sulli 18:24, 5 December 2008 (EST)

Why was this deleted?

"Goldwater was defeated in 1964 after Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson used the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident to boost his reelection." It's factual and enlightening. Also, I wouldn't describe Goldwater as losing the leadership of the conservative movement. The movement adopted him, not vice-versa.--Andy Schlafly 21:57, 14 January 2009 (EST)

Exactly. In point of fact, Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Bill Bennett, George Deukmajian and Newt Gingrich all claimed to be carrying on Goldwater's fight and always credited him as being the titular conservative leader while he was alive. Goldwater was adopted as its leader just prior to the 1964 Republican Convention, due to his strong opposition to the Eastern, liberal wing, under Nelson Rockefeller's domination. --₮K/Admin/Talk 22:03, 14 January 2009 (EST)
The Gulf of Tonkin business had very little to do with the election (and Goldwater supported it); it misleads the readers about Goldwater's problem. He did lose the leadership of the movement, as the followers shifted to Reagan, and Goldwater seems to have lost interest in the national movement. There was no doubt whatever in 1960, 1961 and 1962 and 1963 that he was the #1 conservative leader by far--the "just prior" suggestion is flat wrong. While others acknowledged Barry's role, they did not call him their leader after 1964. RJJensen 22:13, 14 January 2009 (EST)
Being attacked by a foreign nation provides a HUGE boost in popularity to a sitting president. No one doubts that LBJ lied about the Gulf of Tonkin in order to boost his reelection chances. It worked. I'm not sure what you mean by saying Goldwater "supported it." He certainly did not support that kind of lying.
Goldwater was adopted by the conservative movement for just a few years around 1964. Reagan was not adopted by the movement until 1976, and even then only temporarily, until a more permanent relationship began when Reagan ran a conservative campaign in 1980.--Andy Schlafly 22:36, 14 January 2009 (EST)
Johnson actually thought the US was being attacked. And indeed the North Vietnamese were making plans for systematic attacks on US Marines in South Vietnam. But it made little difference in the election, which is the point here. The draft Goldwater movement began in 1959 -- I remember talking to Clarence Manion about it at the time. the goal was to find a leader who could win the presidential nomination and Goldwater was by far the most available leader. RJJensen 12:34, 15 January 2009 (EST)
Maybe if you believe McNamara and Rusk's assertions. What's clear is that Johnson had been provoking an attack for some time, hoping for just such a retaliation, real or imagined. Whether the attack was real or not, he had been pushing for one which would all but ensure his reelection, and presenting the attack as unprovoked was a singular act of deceit. - Rod Weathers 12:44, 15 January 2009 (EST)
I think it's a left-wing view that the Communist attack was faked or provoked. Fact is the Communists had decided long before to overthrow the US ally by force, and both LBJ and Goldwater strongly opposed them and wanted to use the US military to stop it. RJJensen 12:47, 15 January 2009 (EST)
Of course the North Vietnamese wanted to overthrow the South. That's patently obvious and quite beside the point. Johnson wanted an clear attack against American forces which would allow him to escalate operations and give him political capital. The left-wing view is that Johnson was convinced the attacks were real and was forced by necessity, thus absolving him of blame or responsibility. - Rod Weathers 12:57, 15 January 2009 (EST)
No. Better read the biography by Dallek (2004):
"George Ball and Senator J. William Fulbright later said that the stepped up operations in July and August were meant to provoke Hanoi into a response that would allow the United States to begin air attacks on North Vietnam. Fulbright, in fact, held this view at the time of the attack. In a telephone conversation on the morning of August 3, Fulbright told Ball that “he was a little suspicious and thought probably that the incident was asked for.”
"But McNamara and Bundy dispute that. MacNamara told his biographer Deborah Shapley: “I don't believe that the president, or I, or Dean Rusk, or Mac Bundy were planning, in the sense of anticipating or embarking upon ‘overt war’ with North Vietnam in 1964. I know that the president didn't intend ‘overt war’ and I didn't intend ‘overt war’ in 1964. Johnson didn't have plans for military action other than to continue on as we were.” Likewise, Bundy told Shapley, Johnson “didn't want to take decisions on this issue in an election year.”
"Johnson's response to the August 2 attack in the Gulf bears out the MacNamara and Bundy assertions. Though Johnson was determined to show Hanoi that the United States would not be intimidated, his initial impulse was to play down the incident and keep it from escalating into a confrontation that would agitate unwanted questions about military action during the presidential campaign." [end of Dallek quote] RJJensen 13:03, 15 January 2009 (EST)
I have read Dallek's biog., and have it 3 feet from me on my shelf. He routinely interprets equivocal evidence in Johnson's favor, not surprising given the standard biographer's bias, and Dallek's firm emplacement in the post-revisionist historiographical school. Yet even he notes that it was deceitful to the public. Note page 179 (presuming you have the single-volume version): "At the same time Johnson authorized air strikes against North Vietnam and won an endorsement from Congress over an incident he knew was in doubt, he also misled the public about American actions in the gulf. In describing Hanoi's attacks as deliberate, unprovoked aggression, he was conveniently omitting the 34-A operations, which CIA director McCone had told him were the basis of North Vietnam's attacks." - Rod Weathers 13:25, 15 January 2009 (EST)
the standard conservative history is Triumph Forsdaken (2006) by Mark Moyer (a professor at Marine Corps University). His chapter 14 covers the Gulf of Tonkin episode, in which he states that the Communists deliberately made an unprovoked attack on the USS Maddox, and then apparently made a second attack on Aug 4. The Navy and the Joint Chiefs repored to Johnson that there was a second attack. Only months later did reanalysis show that there probably was no second attack. LBY and his top advisors formly believed there had been two attacks (actually there was only one). Moyar concludes that LBJ tried to minimize the attacks and did not want them discussed in the campaign because that would lead the public to demand more hawkish (Goldwaterish) responses. The 34-A operations were by South Vietnam, not the US. RJJensen 14:24, 15 January 2009 (EST)
This surprises me. I've never heard anyone dispute the conventional wisdom that Lyndon Johnson misrepresented and exaggerated the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Though I have the highest respect for our military, I'd caution against overreliance on a military professor for this point, as one could not expect a military professor to embarrass a liberal Commander in Chief.--Andy Schlafly 19:44, 15 January 2009 (EST)
Moyar cites the documents that prove the Navy and the Joint Chiefs strongly believed there was a second attack, and Moyar shows it was months later that doubts emerged when the CIA reanalyzed the evidence. LBJ did a lot of deceitful things, but not that time. Moyar also shows that LBJ refused to act after the first (real) attack, overruling the military and civilian leaders who wanted to retailiate. RJJensen 19:49, 15 January 2009 (EST)
LBJ went on national television within days and exaggerated the attack and its significance, and then obtain an extraordinary resolution from Congress within days of that.[1] If Moyar says that "LBJ refused to act," then it is Moyar who loses credibility by downplaying how LBJ acted in the most aggressive manner possible to boost his popularity weeks before the presidential election. It makes me wonder what Moyar says about other political issues.--Andy Schlafly 21:05, 15 January 2009 (EST)
Moyar says LBJ refused to act after the first attack, but that heavy pressure from the pentagon forced him to act after the second (supposed) attack. RJJensen 22:52, 15 January 2009 (EST)
Nobody anywhere on the political spectrum, left or right, felt that LBJ could be pressured by anyone. So if Moyar says that, then his insight into politics and LBJ is[ limited or biased.
I'm trying to determine if Moyar is a non-conservative. This op-ed] by him in the NY Times, with his reference to "Darwinian struggle" and his support of the U.S. leaving Iraq so that it can somehow restore order on its own (without Moyar once mentioning Islam), suggests that Moyar views the world like most who went to Harvard and Cambridge. That's not conservative and it is susceptible to limitations and bias.--Andy Schlafly 23:34, 15 January 2009 (EST)
On Vietnam Moyar is as conservative as they come. In any case I've read many of the original documents myself, as well as LBJ's phone conversations and the newspaper accounts. Johnson was indeed pressured--Ambassador Taylor in Saigon was demanding immediate action, for example, and Democrats were afraid that the public would swing behind Goldwater's hawkish positions leaving LBJ looking too weak to respond to military attacks on the US Navy. It's not true that LBJ exaggerated the threat (and he got Goldwater's explicit support for LBJ's major TV address.) As the coming months proved, Hanoi was dead serious about damaging the US as much as possible. RJJensen 23:59, 15 January 2009 (EST)
This is an interesting discussion and your insights are illuminating. Perhaps we should have a separate entry about Moyar's own political views, but I'm confident they are not conservative.
There's no way around the fact that LBJ immediately whipped the public and Congress into a fervor by exaggerating the Gulf of Tonkin incident, for LBJ's enormous political benefit. Every historical account -- except perhaps Moyar -- seem to agree about the exaggeration. To go on national television as LBJ did, and then obtain the extraordinary congressional approval, ranks almost as high as the day after Pearl Harbor. That LBJ, the master of "The Treatment," obtain Goldwater's approval for this is of little significance.--Andy Schlafly 09:06, 16 January 2009 (EST)
Moyar argues very convincingly that LBJ systematically downplayed the attack on the US Navy and the entire Red threat at this time; he rejected his military advice and insisted on hiding the critisis as much as possible. That. Moyar argues, caused him to lose the war. Looking at the newspapers, you notice that the issue simply vanished in a few days. RJJensen 11:10, 16 January 2009 (EST)
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