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July 06, 2009


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Goldwater was self-identified as a Jew along with being a member of Planned Parenthood and the Urban League. His "conservatism" was less Birchite than Hollywood. He was rugged, handsome, garrulous, and likeable. He was authentically conservative but he also learned to play the role assigned him by smart hustlers like Steve Shadegg. And he was having the time of his well-lived life.

When the religious right metastasized into its current horror, Goldwater had no problem realizing how the party was migrating away from his upper-middle class values. At this late stage, Goldwater was the curator of his own legend and not disposed to checking his tongue for the sake of partisan unity.

He was also a modern man, not some relic of a bygone era. What separated him from the millions of new Republicans was their tweaked sense of grievance about modernity. In that sense, he was unlike Ronald Reagan who was an adept and directable actor. Of course, Reagan could sire a family virtually indistinguishable from a Norman Lear sitcom while channeling the outrage of millions forced to accommodate black people.

Republicans thought they could harness the lumpen proles without being corrupted by their stupidity. Didn't work. Now reasonably sophisticated people like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich are forced to express solidarity with the kind of culture warriors they obviously disdain. The party can neither divorce itself from its dittoheads nor evolve in a saner direction. Faustian bargains are a bitch.

Goldwater would probably be shocked by the disease that has overtaken Phoenix. The author Charles Bowden interviewed him once and asked if he was happy to see Phoenix and Tucson eventually merging their growth edges. He paused long enough to tell a truth every Arizona native feels: he'd be glad he wouldn't live long enough to see it.

You are definitely spot on with all your observations, in particular the way that movement conservatism at the national level has subsumed the GOP at the local level. For all the lip service elected Kooks pay to state pride, a Kook in the AZ legislature is virtually indistinguishable from his/her counterpart in Oklahoma or Minnesota.

To your comment about conservatism serving corporate interests, I must point out that (unfortunately) many Democrats go right along with it. While Gov. Napolitano held some of the more draconian and ridiculous efforts of the lege at bay she never met a corporate tax break she didn't like. She, like many centrist Dems, thoroughly swallowed the corporate koolaid that tax cuts to big business encourage a favorable business climate. I laugh ruefully as I see the CEOs of Intel and Boeing admonishing Arizona to "invest more in education", lest we become so uncompetitive that companies like theirs are forced to relocate. These same companies have been bleeding our state dry with tax breaks and subsidies.

This should be in Arizona history books someplace. That was the whole pie.

Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics nice job keep it up !!

The movement conservatives' capture of the Arizona GOP has been further aided by Clean Elections, a noble experiement that has had some unfortunate consequences. In the old days, the business community -- whose financial support was necessary to be elected -- acted as something of a break and filter on Legislative elections. Public funding has made it easier for the farthest-right candidates to compete and win on the Republican side. That it has made it easier for relatively more liberal Democrats to win as well is irrelevant, given their minority status. Killing Clean Elections has long been a goal for Arizona conservatives, but they might regret it if they succeed.

Ah yes...do I misrecall when I remember Barry Goldwater, near the end of his life, using the term a**holes about the new breed of soi-disant conservatives? The man was no fool...certainly not in comparison with today's right-wingers.

Nice post keeps on posting this type of interesting and informative articles.

Fantastic post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up.

Best Regards!

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