There is a cancer growing on the Republican Party.  Extremism.  Extremism does not win national elections.  Senator Barry Goldwater only won 6 states and 52 electoral votes in the 1964 presidential election.

Winning the nomination was one serious fight in the GOP.  Despite that Goldwater’s allies led by F. Clifton White started early and were organized at the precinct level.  There may be a lesson here for main stream conservative thinking about the 2016 nomination.  Teddy White in his national bestseller “Making of the President 1964” provided an excellent account of the battles.

Even before the outcome of that election Goldwater set the stage in his Cow Palace convention acceptance speech for continuing the fight.  He made the infamous statement, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”  The battle continued between extreme elements of the Party and the more moderate thinking.

Fortunately, former Vice President Richard Nixon still loved by most Republicans got into the 1968 campaign early, won the nomination and the extremist went under cover.  In subsequent presidential elections responsible conservatives like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were nominated and elected.

Our party faces significant decisions if it is to win another presidential election, let alone in 2014, hold the U. S. House of Representative and take over the Senate in Washington.

Those decisions include rejection of the Tea Party’s scorched earth strategy, strengthening the hand of moderate leaders and finding a presidential nominee who knows the importance of working with others.

This is not something which can wait.  Republican activists on a national, state and local level need to begin to think about the consequences of their actions.

“As the founder of modern Republicanism Barry Goldwater found out, extremism in the pursuit of one’s goals isn’t popular with the American public.” (1)

(1) Brandt Ayers, publisher Anniston Star in Alabama


6 Responses to “Extremism”

  1. David Michael Myers says:

    “Extremism” is the word that RINOs use to describe Constitutionalism. Unfortunately RINOs want to compromise with Scamo/scumocrats so they can pick-up the crumbs left behind, petty positions of power. Goldwater’s “extermism” set the stage for Reagan’s and Nixon’s elections. “Extremism” was the tool that educated enough Americans to the evils Dumbocraps have inflicted upon us. I repeat Karl Hess’s wprds: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
    Unleash capitalism!”

  2. Bill Hefner says:

    It’s the Tea Party that will revitalize the Republican party and it’s the McConnell, McCain, and Graham dinosaurs that are killing the party. It’s a new time and the old-timer’s have bled the party dry, so get use to it and step aside. Regan died you know, Nixon was forced to resign, and the Bushes were our last leaders. Cruz, Paul, and Rubio are the new Republican Party, and thank God.

  3. Bill Hefner says:

    This awaiting moderation comment shows how totally out of touch you are.

  4. David Hines says:

    What happened to the guys who supported AuH2O? They were elected — Nixon and Reagan. What happened to the guys who didn’t? They couldn’t buy an election, though Rockefeller could obtain an unelected Veep appointment.

    IF Republicans are so willing to go along with what Dems want, why not just vote for the Dems? For those wanting socialism, the regular version is a much bigger draw than Socialism Lite. If the GOP is not willing to hold the line somewhere, they’re compromising themselves into obsolescence.

  5. Chris Phillips says:

    Bill, you are one of the most astute political observers I have ever known but I question your call to moderation here.

    What is so superior about the Democratic Party? They can nominate a first term junior Senator, rated the most liberal member of the US Senate, with nearly zero political or real world experience, and win the Presidency. That election we ran a “Maverick Moderate”, and earned defeat.

    They used every bit of legislative legerdemain they could muster to foist the ACA act upon this nation, and stand united behind it despite the ensuing train wreck of it’s initial implementation.

    In the next election we nominated a very good man, and one who might have been able to start cleaning up the fiscal mess we have put ourselves in, but hardly a conservative extremist. We were resoundingly defeated again.

    I profoundly disagree with the Democratic parties beliefs, but at least they believe in something. If our party doesn’t examine it’s core principles and return to trying to win elections to accomplish something rather than gaining office, I’m afraid it is going to go the way of the Whig party it replaced.

    A pretty successful Goldwater supporter put it much better than I:
    “A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.”

  6. John says:

    If having the Republican party win at all costs means rejecting the Tea Party and libertarian factions in the Republican Party, I will continue to vote third party. I’m sorry, but if you think John McCain, Mitt Romney, or George W. Bush are the type of leaders the Republicans need, then that is a party I want nothing to do with. There is no fundamental difference between these “leaders” and the democrats. They are all big government/big spending/trample the Constitution liberal leaders.

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