Saturday, March 12, 2016

Barry Goldwater (1964) and Donald Trump (2016)

Thinking about the dust storm today that surrounds the presidential primaries, I remembered an old drawing that showed up on the Army bulletin board where I worked in 1964. Arizona senator Barry Goldwater had been prepared to take on an old friend, John F. Kennedy, but after Kennedy was assassinated, he was confronted by President Lyndon B. Johnson. As the picture depicts, Goldwater was sometimes viewed as a dangerous and rigid Republican.

And yet reading the news clips that were saved nearby this picture I tucked into my journal, there was a seriousness and civility to the media coverage of the time. Goldwater was a Nazi and worse in some vocabularies, but he didn't lack thought. The raucous rancor and lack of specificity of a Donald Trump had not yet borne fruit.

Here's a snippet (click to enlarge) of one New York Times article from July 1964:

1 comment:

  1. It was a time when a president had some clout. Nor did he have to be the darling of big business. And religion was still a personal matter. Not long before his death, i remember this musing... “Today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ don’t even 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.”