Richard Nixon sensed trouble. seated in the cow palace in San Francisco at the GOP convention in 1964, he listened as Barry Goldwater said: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty—is—no—vice." A 41-second ovation ensued. Then Goldwater continued: "And let me remind you also—that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." As Rick Perlstein reconstructs the scene in his book Before the Storm, Nixon reached over to keep his wife, Pat, from rising politely with the crowd. Later Dwight Eisenhower called the Goldwater speech an offense to "the whole American system." The crowds did not care: Goldwater was one of their own, riding in from Arizona to take the GOP from the Ikes and the Rockefellers.
Monday, November 16, 2009
When The Nixons Stayed Seated
In an essay about the angry movement that the Obama White House calls Palinism, "Newsweek"'s Jon Meacham describes a moment of prophetic action by Richard Nixon against Goldwaterism -- as the stage was being set for a GOP wipeout that November that conservatives would proclaim (as they so often do when they help Democrats win) as a great victory: