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The GOP’s McCarthy Gene December 2, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in Political Commentary.
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goldwater

www.truthout.com

30 November 2008

by: Neal Gabler, The Los Angeles Times

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Barry Goldwater. (Photo: The Santa Barbara Independent)

    Think Goldwater is the father of conservatism? Think again.

    Ever since the election, partisans within the Republican Party and observers outside it have been speculating wildly about what direction the GOP will take to revive itself from its disaster. Or, more specifically, which wing of the party will prevail in setting the new Republican course – whether it will be what conservative writer Kathleen Parker has called the “evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy” branch or the more pragmatic, intellectual, centrist branch. To determine the answer, it helps to understand exactly how Republicans arrived at this spot in the first place.

    The creation myth of modern conservatism usually begins with Barry Goldwater, the Arizona senator who was the party’s presidential standard-bearer in 1964 and who, even though he lost in one of the biggest landslides in American electoral history, nevertheless wrested the party from its Eastern establishment wing. Then, Richard Nixon co-opted conservatism, talking like a conservative while governing like a moderate, and drawing the opprobrium of true believers. But Ronald Reagan embraced it wholeheartedly, becoming the patron saint of conservatism and making it the dominant ideology in the country. George W. Bush picked up Reagan’s fallen standard and “conservatized” government even more thoroughly than Reagan had, cheering conservatives until his presidency came crashing down around him. That’s how the story goes.

    But there is another rendition of the story of modern conservatism, one that doesn’t begin with Goldwater and doesn’t celebrate his libertarian orientation. It is a less heroic story, and one that may go a much longer way toward really explaining the Republican Party’s past electoral fortunes and its future. In this tale, the real father of modern Republicanism is Sen. Joe McCarthy, and the line doesn’t run from Goldwater to Reagan to George W. Bush; it runs from McCarthy to Nixon to Bush and possibly now to Sarah Palin. It centralizes what one might call the McCarthy gene, something deep in the DNA of the Republican Party that determines how Republicans run for office, and because it is genetic, it isn’t likely to be expunged any time soon.

    The basic problem with the Goldwater tale is that it focuses on ideology and movement building, which few voters have ever really cared about, while the McCarthy tale focuses on electoral strategy, which is where Republicans have excelled.

    McCarthy, Wisconsin’s junior senator, was the man who first energized conservatism and made it a force to reckon with. When he burst on the national scene in 1950 waving his list of alleged communists who had supposedly infiltrated Harry Truman’s State Department, conservatism was as bland, temperate and feckless as its primary congressional proponent, Ohio Sen. Robert Taft, known fondly as “Mister Conservative.” Taft was no flamethrower. Though he was an isolationist and a vehement opponent of FDR, he supported America’s involvement in the war after Pearl Harbor and had even grudgingly come to accept the basic institutions of the New Deal. He was also no winner. He had contested and lost the Republican presidential nomination to Wendell Willkie in 1940, Thomas Dewey in 1948 and Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, three men who were regarded as much more moderate than he.

    McCarthy was another thing entirely. What he lacked in ideology – and he was no ideologue at all – he made up for in aggression. Establishment Republicans, even conservatives, were disdainful of his tactics, but when those same conservatives saw the support he elicited from the grass-roots and the press attention he got, many of them were impressed. Taft, no slouch himself when it came to Red-baiting, decided to encourage McCarthy, secretly, sealing a Faustian bargain that would change conservatism and the Republican Party. Henceforth, conservatism would be as much about electoral slash-and-burn as it would be about a policy agenda.

    For the polite conservatives, McCarthy was useful. That’s because he wasn’t only attacking alleged communists and the Democrats whom he accused of shielding them. He was also attacking the entire centrist American establishment, the Eastern intellectuals and the power class, many of whom were Republicans themselves, albeit moderate ones. When he began his investigation of the Army, he even set himself against his own Republican president, who had once commanded that service. In the end, he was censured in 1954, not for his recklessness about alleged communists but for his recklessness toward his fellow senators. Moderate Republicans, not Democrats, led the fight against him. His intemperance disgusted them as much as it emboldened his fans, Goldwater among them.

    But if McCarthy had been vanquished – he died three years later of cirrhosis from drinking – McCarthyism was only just beginning. McCarthyism is usually considered a virulent form of Red-baiting and character assassination. But it is much more than that. As historian Richard Hofstadter described it in his famous essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” McCarthyism is a way to build support by playing on the anxieties of Americans, actively convincing them of danger and conspiracy even where these don’t exist.

    McCarthy, a Catholic, was especially adept at nursing national resentments among the sorts of people that typically did not vote Republican. He stumbled onto the fact that many of these people in postwar America were frightened and looking for scapegoats. He provided them, and in doing so not only won millions of adherents but also bequeathed to his party a powerful electoral bludgeon that would eventually drive out the moderates from the GOP (posthumous payback) before it drove the Democrats from the White House.

    In a way, Goldwater was less a fulfillment of McCarthy conservatism than a slight diversion from it. Goldwater was ideological – an economic individualist. He hated government more than he loved winning, and though he was certainly not above using the McCarthy appeal to resentment or accusing his opponents of socialism, he lacked McCarthy’s blood- lust. McCarthy’s real heir was Nixon, who mainstreamed McCarthyism in 1968 by substituting liberals, youth and minorities for communists and intellectuals, and fueling resentments as McCarthy had. In his 1972 reelection, playing relentlessly on those resentments, Nixon effectively disassembled the old Roosevelt coalition, peeling off Catholics, evangelicals and working-class Democrats, and changed American politics far more than Goldwater ever would.

    Today, these former liberals are known as Reagan Democrats, but they were Nixon voters before they were Reagan voters, and they were McCarthy supporters before they were either. A good deal of McCarthy’s support came from Catholics and evangelical Protestants who, along with Southerners, would form the basis of the new conservative coalition. Nixon simply mastered what McCarthy had authored. You demonize the opposition and polarize the electorate to win.

    Reagan’s sunny disposition and his willingness to compromise masked the McCarthyite elements of his appeal, but Reaganism as an electoral device was unique to Reagan and essentially died with the end of his presidency. McCarthyism, on the other hand, which could be deployed by anyone, thrived. McCarthyism was how Republicans won. George H.W. Bush used it to get himself elected, terrifying voters with Willie Horton. And his son, under the tutelage of strategist Karl Rove, not only got himself reelected by convincing voters that John Kerry was a coward and a liar and would hand the nation over to terrorists, which was pure McCarthyism, he governed by rousing McCarthyite resentments among his base.

    Republicans continue to push the idea that this is a center-right country and that Americans have swooned for GOP anti-government posturing all these years, but the real electoral bait has been anger, recrimination and scapegoating. That’s why John McCain kept describing Barack Obama as some sort of alien and why Palin, taking a page right out of the McCarthy playbook, kept pushing Obama’s relationship with onetime radical William Ayers.

    And that is also why the Republican Party, despite the recent failure of McCarthyism, is likely to keep moving rightward, appeasing its more extreme elements and stoking their grievances for some time to come. There may be assorted intellectuals and ideologues in the party, maybe even a few centrists, but there is no longer an intellectual or even ideological wing. The party belongs to McCarthy and his heirs – Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Palin. It’s in the genes.

    ——-

    Neal Gabler is the author of many books, including, most recently, “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination.”

Palin in Spotlight as Republicans Turn on Each Other November 9, 2008

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by: Oliver Burkeman, The Guardian UK

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Many Republicans are pointing fingers at Sarah Palin, blaming her for John McCain’s loss. (Photo: Reuters)

As the implosion of the defeated Republican campaign continued yesterday, the landscape of American conservatism was dotted with signs that these were very strange times indeed.

Rush Limbaugh, behemoth of rightwing radio, took to the airwaves to declare war on two enemies: Barack Obama and the Republican party. Bloggers at FreeRepublic.com, an internet hub for conservatives, announced a boycott of Fox News and John McCain’s aides fell over one another to leak embarrassing details about the campaign to the press.

Liberals, indulging in what the writer Andrew Sullivan termed “Palinfreude”, were presented with a smorgasbord, ranging from the tale of how McCain’s pro-Palin foreign policy adviser had his Blackberry confiscated in the closing days of the race, to how the party had paid for Todd Palin’s silk boxer shorts.

The fighting consuming the McCain and Palin camps threatened to derail broader efforts to overhaul the Republican party after Tuesday’s decisive defeat, for which some insiders blamed Sarah Palin. Veterans of the right gathered in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, on Thursday for a summit on the movement’s future, but even as they did so, the blame went on.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is worse than I thought,” Limbaugh told listeners. “What the Republican party, led by disgruntled and failed McCain staffers, is trying to do to Sarah Palin, is unconscionable … There are country-club, blue-blood … Republicans who want nothing to do with a firebrand conservative [who] can fire up people.” He added: “We’re going to be taking on two things here [over] the next four years: Obama, and our own party establishment.”

John Fund, a Wall Street Journal columnist, said he had received multiple calls from campaign aides wanting “to use me as a conduit for their complaints”.

“Some on the McCain campaign staff seem more eager than most to settle scores,” he noted.

The main ammunition in the war was a lengthening list of allegations against Palin: that she thought Africa was a country; that she failed to inform the campaign about a scheduled call with Nicolas Sarkozy which turned out to be a prank; that she refused to undergo coaching prior to her disastrous interviews with CBS anchor Katie Couric; that she couldn’t name the three countries in the North America Free Trade Agreement; and that the party had spent up to $70,000 (£45,000) on “wardrobe items” for Palin and “luxury goods” for her husband, in addition to the $150,000 already reported. (Some of the claims were revealed by Fox, hence the boycott.)

The New York Times reported that when Palin met McCain in Phoenix on Tuesday night, she held the text of a speech she planned to deliver, in defiance of campaign convention, and had to be overruled.

The attacks are partly ideological: some blame Palin and her social-conservative supporters for blunting McCain’s appeal to independents, while others believe Palin could be the populist, hawkish figurehead of a revitalised Republican future.

But there is plenty of self-interest at stake. “This blame game is the consultants – the people who make their living running campaigns and don’t want to be blamed, because they need another job,” said Al Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator, and former president of Regnery Publishing, the company behind many recent rightwing bestsellers.

At Thursday’s summit, he said, “there was a lot of discussion about these people, who always seem to come back, whether they win or lose, and get paid a lot of money. We said we thought our side would be much better off without them.”

The sniping at Palin has provoked a backlash. One influential website, RedState.com, announced Operation Leper, designed to blacklist campaign staffers believed to be responsible. “We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them,” it explained.

There was speculation that the culprits may be former aides to Mitt Romney, positioning their hero for a future presidential run.

The collapse of the McCain-Palin alliance began long before election day, Steve Schmidt, a senior McCain adviser, speaking to reporters on the candidate’s plane, was making little effort to hide his disdain for Palin. Asked if her presence on the ticket had been a disadvantage, he twice refused to answer.

Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s foreign policy chief, this week denied reports that he had been fired in the final stage of the campaign for siding with Palin and leaking “poison” on McCain to the pro-Palin columnist William Kristol. But even one of his allies, Michael Goldfarb, told reporters that Scheunemann’s Blackberry had been confiscated in the days before the election.

Kristol, who in one column advised McCain to “fire” his campaign, scoffed at reports that he had advised Palin. “I’m afraid it shows how paranoid some of these McCain aides have gotten – they should take a good rest after a tough campaign,” he told Fox.

He had met Palin once in his life, he continued, and interviewed her once by phone. “You know why this is really disgusting and disgraceful?” he said. “It’s disloyal to John McCain. Who selected Sarah Palin? John McCain. Who defended Sarah Palin for the last three months? John McCain.”

Returning to Alaska, Palin dismissed the criticisms, attributing them to “a small, bitter type of person”. Instead, she has emphasised perhaps the only thing that still unites her and her supporters with McCain loyalists: hostility towards the media.

She had “a little bit of disappointment in my heart about the world of journalism today”, she said, while McCain’s closest aide, Mark Salter, told Politico: “Maybe if the media had been fair, we still would have lost. But there were two different standards of scrutiny for us and Obama.”

Palin offered to help reporters confront their problems. “I want to … help restore some credibility there,” she said.

Another Prominent Republican Dumps McCain October 31, 2008

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October 31, 2008
Posted: 01:35 PM ET
From

Duberstein is pulling for Obama.

Duberstein is pulling for Obama.

(CNN) — Former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week he intends to vote for Democrat Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Duberstein said he was influenced by another prominent Reagan official – Colin Powell – in his decision.

“Well let’s put it this way – I think Colin Powell’s decision is in fact the good housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama.”

Powell served as national security advisor to Reagan during Duberstein’s tenure as chief of staff.

Duberstein spoke with Zakaria about his final days in the Reagan White House. The Reagan official, along with Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, also discussed the transition process to a new administration.

Watch the full discussion on the next administration this Sunday at 1 p.m. on Fareed Zakaria GPS.

The Exodus Continues October 25, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, John McCain, U.S. Election 2008.
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Tony Campbell, 10/24/08

 http://www.republicansforobama.org

In the wake of Colin Powell’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama last Sunday I wrote the following statement:

“My gut feeling is that there will be a significant number of moderate Republicans who will endorse Obama over the next week or so.

Four hours later, I wrote this update after Ken Adelman announced he was voting for Obama.

“Ken Adelman is a bonafide Conservative. If he is able to vote for Obama, then the exodus is just beginning…”

Scott McClellan, Bush’s former press secretary has announced that he is going to vote for Obama. McClellan stated that he is supporting Obama because he has “a message that is very similar to the one that Gov. Bush ran on in 2000.” How ’bout them apples? W’s “Compassionate Conservatism” meets O’s “The Change We Need”.

Another former G.O.P. office holder, Minnesota ex-Governor Arne Carlson, endorsed Obama after Powell’s announcement. Obama’s last major hurdle is to win the endorsement of a sitting Republican member of Congress. It has long been rumored that Senator Chuck Hagel may break from the pack to support Obama or perhaps Senator Richard Lugar (Indiana) may support Obama based on his direction for U.S. foreign policy.

My prediction: By Sunday, a sitting member of Congress from the Republican Party will endorse Obama. If that occurs, all bets are off as far as a landslide victory for Obama on November 4th…as the Republican Exodus Continues…

By the way, on a lighter note, when did D.L. Hughley get a news program? If an Obama presidency means that he and David Alan Grier are allowed to get their own shows…I might have to vote for Bob Barr or Ron Paul.

Yet Another Republican Jumps Ship October 25, 2008

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What Motivates Me to Support Barack Obama

While my crystal ball may be no clearer than anyone else’s, I am sure that we need to choose a President who exemplifies the 21st Century and is not just an echo of the Cold War mentality.  I personally admire John McCain, but I simply cannot see him inspiring the nation and our world economic partners to work together and solve our very daunting problems.  My Obama support-decision matrix includes the characteristics of Judgment, Temperament, Charisma, Intellect, Adaptability, Virtue, Vision, Traditional Republican Values, and dedication to “Main Street.”  Barack Obama is without question the superior choice for me based on my analysis below.  

Temperament:  Inside and out of the next administration, the next president needs a personality and disposition that does not inflame problems, but intelligently resolves them.

Charisma:  Is there any question?

Intellect:  Obama finished at the top of his class at Harvard while McCain finished very close to the bottom of his class at Annapolis; if there is doubt, listen to each of them respond to a complex question.

Adaptability:  I measure this characteristic by a person’s ability and willingness to compromise to achieve a solution to a problem

Virtue:  Obama’s choice to serve his Chicago community and forego lucrative options to apply his acknowledged skills, speaks volumes about his character.

Vision:  I see Obama’s view of the world as deep and nuanced to reflect reality as opposed to ideology.  I am particularly enthusiastic about his plans for converting to clean energy, improving our environment, and encouraging national service.

Judgment:  Obama sees the world in wide angle and Technicolor, as suggested by his views on Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, etc.  Even the Bush administration is beginning to use some of the diplomatic tools Obama has long been discussing.

Traditional Republican Values:  Republican Presidents from Lincoln through Ford were strong advocates for equal rights, balancing labor and business, consumer protection, protecting the environment,  a humble but vigorous foreign policy, promoting peace through strength,  fiscal integrity, and unafraid of great challenges.  A traditional Republican would never condone torture or cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners regardless of circumstances.  Dwight D. Eisenhower probably embodied these traits as well as any Republican President; I see Barack Obama in the same vein, although arguably even more inspirational.

Main Street Values:  America is comprised mostly of folks from “main street” who earn their wages, work in their communities, raise their families, and aspire to create a better world for their children.  Barack Obama has worn the shoes of main street.  His values and success are derived, not from privilege or position, but through real life experience, hard work, and commitment to his ideals and family. 

The opportunity to elect such a leader does not come around often; I hope that America does not squander this opportunity!

Joel Haugen is the Republican Party’s candidate in Oregon’s 1st Congressional district.  
http://www.joelhaugenforcongress.com/

More Republicans Join Stampede to Abandon McCain October 25, 2008

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by: Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian UK

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Scott McClellan, former White House Press Secretary for George W. Bush, has endorsed Barack Obama for president. (Photo: Reuters)

   

 

 Washington – Joel Haugen, a Republican fighting a tough congressional race against the Democrats in Oregon, has fallen out with his party. The reason: his surprise endorsement of Barack Obama for the presidency.

    “I believe in putting nation before party and my first priority is following my conscience with regard to what is best for America,” Haugen said in a statement issued by his office today. “I have a huge amount of respect for John McCain, but I believe that he has more of a cold war mentality.”

    Haugen is just one of many Republican politicians, dubbed “Obamicans”, who have defected to Obama. The latest high-profile desertions include Scott McClellan, George Bush’s former press secretary, who endorses Obama in a taped CNN programme to be broadcast this weekend, and William Weld, the Republican governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997.

    Weld, in a statement released today ahead of a press conference in New Hampshire, described Obama as “a once-in-a-lifetime candidate.”

    Last weekend, Bush’s former secretary of state, Colin Powell, Obama’s biggest Republican catch so far, publicly backed the Democratic candidate.

    It is unusual to see so many prominent Republican politicians and columnists shift, even allowing for the fact that party affiliations are more fluid in the US than Europe.

    The ‘Obamicans’ have their own website, listing those who have endorsed Obama and exchanging views. Campaign paraphernalia is also available from Barack Obama’s team that includes a “Republicans for Obama” button badge.

    According to Haugen’s campaign manager, Sarah Tiedeman, he made no secret of his views while fighting for the party nomination, telling the press about his unhappiness with Bush’s eight years in office and that he was likely to endorse Obama over McCain. He won 70% of the nomination vote.

    The Republican party became increasingly “unfriendly”, Tiedemann said, and has since withdrawn all financial support.

    Haugen, as a compromise, is now standing under an independent banner, though he remains a registered Republican. Tiedemann said the reaction among Republicans over his endorsement was mixed. She acknowledged it was “unusual” to make such an endorsement but Haugen “feels the Republican party has got so far from its roots.”

    Other defectors include Arne Carlson, the Republican governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999, who wrote in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune yesterday: “The choice of governor Sarah Palin as a running mate, and the resultant shallow campaign based on fear and suspicion, looks frighteningly similar to the politics of Karl Rove [Bush's campaign strategist].”

    He described Obama as having “the potential to become a truly great president”.

    McClellan, who published a book earlier this year critical of the Bush administration, accusing it of lying, told CNN he would vote for Obama because he offered the best chance of changing the way Washington works.

    The founders of Republicans for Obama include a former Iowa congressman, Jim Leach; a former Rhode Island senator, Lincoln Chafee, and a former Bush fund-raiser, Rita Hauser.

    Another defector this week is Ken Adelman, a foreign policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, who told the New Yorker he would endorse Obama because of McCain’s temperament, describing as weird his behaviour in response when the economic meltdown began.

Why Some Conservatives Will Vote for Barack Obama October 25, 2008

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, John McCain, U.S. Election 2008.
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From Tony Campbel’s Blog, 7/14/08

Thomas Sowell, in his piece “Conservatives for Obama?” made the following statement:

“A number of friends of mine have commented on an odd phenomenon that they have observed– conservative Republicans they know who are saying that they are going to vote for Barack Obama. It seemed at first to be an isolated fluke, perhaps signifying only that my friends know some strange conservatives. But apparently columnist Robert Novak has encountered the same phenomenon and has coined the term ‘Obamacons’ to describe the conservatives for Senator Obama.”

For the esteemed Mr. Sowell, whom I read a lot, and other folks who are scratching their collective heads over why Conservatives will vote for Obama over McCain in November, here are a few reasons for you to consider:

  1. Reorganizing our National Security apparatus – Since the passing of the Patriot Act, America has restructured its intelligence and national security procedures to prevent another terrorist attack. Conservatives understand the need for surveillance methods to prevent another attack on the American people and our property; however, not all of them support the use of fear to systematically change the social contract between the government and the people regarding their civil liberties under the law. They would, however, support a reexamination of segments of the Patriot Act that would re-establish the proper bounds between government need and individual liberty.
  2. Immigration Reform – Over the past two decades our borders have become porous and that lack of attention has threatened our national security. Conservatives understand that many of these non-documented visitors are hardworking people who currently serve in many important aspects of the American economy. It is neither feasible, nor in the country’s best economic interest, to seek to deport millions of people who contribute to our fiscal and social vibrancy as a nation. To do so would require creating a new agency of the national government with thousands of employees to implement this deportation policy. There are Conservatives who feel this type of reactionary policy is short-sighted and centered more on partisanship than in providing a common sense solution. For these individuals, a pragmatic Conservative stand would support a policy that will identify benchmarks to obtain United States citizenship.
  3. Foreign Policy – To ensure a safe America, some Conservatives believe that the primary issue of foreign policy that has to be addressed by the 44th President of the United States is to rebuild a relationship of mutual trust between us and our international allies. America has lost its leadership position in the world over the last six years. This is not only damaging in the relationship with our allies, but also hazardous in our diplomatic maneuverings with countries such as China, Iran and North Korea. A Conservative approach would support a direction of foreign policy that is practical and pragmatic (i.e. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush). A foreign policy that uses diplomatic, economic and military assets to reach achievable goals on the international stage.
  4. Healthcare – Millions of Americans can not seek preventative healthcare assistance to address the myriad of issues they face on a daily basis. These unchecked health concerns eventually become emergency room visits that help to drive up insurance costs for employers and employees covered under medical plans. A pragmatic Conservative platform would support the development of a voluntary universal healthcare plan that allows flexibility of services and allows for States to meet the needs of their citizens without burdensome and unfunded regulations from Washington, D.C. through our constitutionally mandated federal system of government.
  5. The Economy and the War in Iraq – Under the reasons for establishing a new government, Thomas Jefferson stated that government is charged with protecting “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of its citizens. A strong, robust economy falls under the heading of the “pursuit of happiness.” The U.S. has spent in excess of $100 Billion a year on a war that over seventy percent of the American people do not want, representing twenty percent of our annual GDP. Our current economic condition, with rising prices for everything from gas to food coupled with stagnant wages, has only provided a very few people with the ability to pursue happiness. A pragmatic Conservative approach would support a carefully planned disengagement of our troops from Iraq. The financial resources used to pay for the war may be used on a real economic stimulus plan that will be focused on re-training American workers and businesses to be competitive in the global marketplace.

Some Conservatives have finally realized, after twenty years, that national elections are too critical to waste on partisan rhetoric that does not solve any of the serious problems of our country. Government should focus on strengthening our borders, cutting our debt, and allowing the middle class to prosper by cutting taxes and reduce overall spending. Our elected and appointed officials should let individuals deal with the moral issues surrounding their decisions. Let’s get back to the original idea that the Founders of this Republic birthed– that Government should not mandate the extent of Individual Liberty.

Goldwater Granddaughter Abandons McCain October 23, 2008

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Why McCain Has Lost Our Vote

CC Goldwater

Huffington Post, October 23, 2008

Being Barry Goldwater’s granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state’s senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain ‘dyed in the wool’ Republicans who are on the fence this election, as it seems like a no-brainer to me.

Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year. We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics. I learned a lot about my grandfather while producing the documentary, Mr. Conservative Goldwater on Goldwater. Our generation of Goldwaters expects government to provide for constitutional protections. We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket.

My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman’s right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930′s, a cause my grandfather supported. I’m not sure about how he would feel about marriage rights based on same-sex orientation. I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most and not the intolerance and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years. Paka respected our civil liberties and passed on the message that that we should conduct our lives standing up for the basic freedoms we hold so dear.

For a while, there were several candidates who aligned themselves with the Goldwater version of Conservative thought. My grandfather had undying respect for the U.S. Constitution, and an understanding of its true meanings.

There always have been a glimmer of hope that someday, someone would “race through the gate” full steam in Goldwater style. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened, and the Republican brand has been tarnished in a shameless effort to gain votes and appeal to the lowest emotion, fear. Nothing about McCain, except for maybe a uniform, compares to the same ideology of what Goldwater stood for as a politician. The McCain/Palin plan is to appear diverse and inclusive, using women and minorities to push an agenda that makes us all financially vulnerable, fearful, and less safe.

When you see the candidate’s in political ads, you can’t help but be reminded of the 1964 presidential campaign of Johnson/Goldwater, the ‘origin of spin’, that twists the truth and obscures what really matters. Nothing about the Republican ticket offers the hope America needs to regain it’s standing in the world, that’s why we’re going to support Barack Obama. I think that Obama has shown his ability and integrity.

After the last eight years, there’s a lot of clean up do. Roll up your sleeves, Senators Obama and Biden, and we Goldwaters will roll ours up with you.

Being Barry Goldwater’s granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state’s senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain ‘dyed in the wool’ Republicans w…

Being Barry Goldwater’s granddaughter and living in Arizona, one would assume that I would be voting for our state’s senator, John McCain. I am still struck by certain ‘dyed in the wool’ Republicans w…
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