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Letter of the Day: Lessons from the fringe

  • Sen. Barry Goldwater speaks to a crowd in Raleigh, North Carolina during his presidential campaign in this Sept. 17, 1964 photo. Goldwater, the sharp-tongued, uncompromising defender of conservatism whose fierce but futile campaign for the presidency in 1964 began the philosophical reshaping of the Republican Party, died Friday, May 29, 1998, at age 89, his wife said. (AP Photo)

<b>Lessons from the fringe</b>

EDITOR: Many Republicans are frustrated by the failure of their last two moderate presidential candidates to be elected, and a sizable portion are looking to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to lead them back to victory.

However, they should remember the last time they went down this path. In 1964, after losing the previous election to John F. Kennedy, they nominated Barry Goldwater to run against President Lyndon Johnson, choosing him over moderate Nelson Rockefeller.

Goldwater espoused radically conservative views on many subjects, such as seeking to defund the United Nations and being strongly anti-communist, voting against the censure of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. The result of the 1964 presidential election was the biggest landslide in history, with Goldwater winning only his home state of Arizona and five states in the deep South.

In the process, Republicans were swept out of Congress, which allowed for liberal civil rights, voting rights and Medicare legislation. Of course, the Democrats then shot themselves in the foot by promoting the Vietnam War.

However, that history should be a lesson to the Republicans who seem to regard the moderate Ronald Reagan as a god but are being persuaded by a sizable group of radicals to adopt an opposite course under Cruz.

THOMAS J. VECCHIO

Bodega Bay


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