word - if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican]
party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a
terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics
and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they
are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise.
I know. I've tried to deal with them.
Barry Goldwater, 1994
Barry Goldwater (1909 - 1998), five-term Republican
United States Senator from Arizona, saw early on that the influence
of the "religious right" on the Republican Party could lead to its
undoing. An unlikely, and unpopular, point of view from the man
known as "Mr. Conservative." But then Barry Goldwater never shied
away from voicing his opinion.
great country, where anybody can grow up to be president ... except
Goldwater lost his 1964 presidential campaign
against incumbent Lyndon Baines Johnson by a landslide. The Johnson
campaign capitalized on Goldwater's extreme anti-Communist views
and his admission in a television interview that he would consider
launching a nuclear attack on Vietnam.
A lot of
so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means. They
think I've turned liberal
because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a
decision that's up to the pregnant woman,
not up to the Pope or some do-gooders or the religious right. It's
not a conservative issue at all.
After the campaign and back in the Senate, the
early version of Goldwater as a hard-line Republican gave way to
the more complex, real-life version. And when he failed to live up
to his former image, many Republicans were left confounded, and
would eventually shun him.
have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able
to shoot straight.
In 1993 he wrote a now-famous commentary that
appeared in The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times
denouncing the banning of gays in the military. He would later
support an Arizona initiative to legalize medical marijuana. The
Republican Party never knew quite what to do with him.
frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this
country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral
I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think
they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to
their moral beliefs to me? ... And I am even more angry as a
legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who
it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call
in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every
of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all
Americans in the name of 'conservatism.'