Barry Goldwater: Father of American Centrism!?!?

National Review’s new political reporter Jonathan Martin has an article on “the GOP and its Northeast problem” in the print edition of this week’s magazine. Students of conservative history, as well as history buffs in general, may find this summary of some analysis from Dante Scala, a professor of political science at St Anslem’s College in New Hampshire, of particular interest…

There are those who belong to what [Scala] calls the party’s liberal Rockefeller wing, as embodied most recently by [Senator Lincoln Chafee]. They probably won’t ever come back to the GOP, but their numbers are small enough that they won’t be missed. Then there are those who belong to what Scala calls the Goldwater wing. These are traditional Republican voters who have been turned off not just by the party’s cultural conservatism, but also by its mismanagement of crises from Baghdad to New Orleans, and have abandoned the GOP even though it is more in synch with their small-government convictions. With the right message, and the right messenger, and a bit of Democratic over-reaching to remind them why they used to pull the Republican lever, these lapsed libertarians can be brought back into the fold.
Ponder this point for a moment before moving on.
And then…

…ask yourself, if you had a time machine, how rewarding it would be to go back to the day after the 1964 Presidential election and show Barry Goldwater that he shouldn’t worry about his landslide defeat, because his name and ideas would not become associated with a fringe moment in history, but with future generations of centrist swing voters who make thoughtful choices at the polls! (I’ve also encountered this attitude on the anecdotal level. I’ve had at least one liberal friend tell me that the GOP needs to get back to its reasonable Goldwater roots if it wants to be successful). Who says the U.S. is not a fundamentally conservative country!

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Exhume Goldwater
17 years ago

It sounds like you’re an ally for our cause. The future IS Barry Goldwater: Exhume Goldwater ’08!

17 years ago

Goldwater – no,no, – Reagan – bring back his ideology and guts to say what he feels. Now that’s a movement that will work and win !!! Why do we always forget our history ??

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