History

A Penny for the Old Guy

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Daniel McCarthy on Barry Goldwater's contested legacy:

[T]he sharpest division that split the Goldwater movement of the '60s…wasn't the division between libertarians and traditionalists, it was the division that separated idealistic libertarians and traditionalists alike, the campaign amateurs, from the campaign professionals. The conservative movement still pays lip service to economic liberty, social order, and military strength—but on all three points, Republicans have become hollow men who have preserved the rites of Goldwaterism but who long ago lost its spirit. That was an amateur spirit—in both the best and worst senses of the word—and it drew together in common cause traditionalists and libertarians as different as Brent Bozell and Goldwater speechwriter Karl Hess….

Today, nation-building and empire, together with K Street politics, is about all that animates the Republicans who claim to be following in Goldwater's footsteps. They've lost what the 1960 and 1964 Goldwater movements were really all about, and they won't rediscover what they've lost by furrowing their brows wondering if Goldwaterism was really purely libertarian or fusionist. Goldwater himself was a man of the American West, and his legacy can be claimed by either libertarians or traditionalists—if they can put the principled spirit of the old movement before the emoluments of politics.

These days the amateurs are holding Guy Fawkes fundraisers for Ron Paul, and the hollow men are sneering at their efforts. This is the way the week sounds: First came a bang, then the whimpers.

Bonus links: More McCarthy on Goldwater here. Reason on Goldwater here.

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  1. That’s interesting, because the same thing is happening in reverse among the Democrats.

    The professional DC consultant class ran the party for decades, but for the past five years or so, they have steadily been losing ground to amateurs and outsiders. This is what Markos of Daily Kos fame wrote his bood “Crashing the Gate” about.

  2. These days the amateurs are holding Guy Fawkes fundraisers for Ron Paul, and the hollow men are sneering at their efforts. This is the way the week sounds: First came a bang, then the whimpers

    Mixing references to 20th century poets? I suppose you must wring what little value there is out of a liberal arts degree.

  3. I don’t know if referencing Markos “every candidate I support loses” Zuniga is a good thing in support of amateurs. Kos is extremely influential, but I think the Dem establishment’s unwillingness to completely embrace him comes from his appalling track record.

  4. Abdul: Just one poet. Actually, just one poem.

  5. Dean Barnett, sneering:

    Ron Paul has taken a good, hard look around America and hates everything he sees. He hates the Iraq war. He hates the rest of our foreign policy. He pretty much thinks we shouldn’t have a foreign policy. He hates our bloated and meddlesome federal government. (What’s that they say about stuck clocks?) He hates abortion. He hates the Treasury and floating currency. Basically, he wishes it were 1796 and he could wear a powdered wig without being ridiculed in public. While Ron Paul himself has no fondness for anarchy, the same cannot be said of his devotees. It’s not an accident that they celebrated their hero on a day named for Guy Fawkes, perhaps the greatest anarchist in the history of the English speaking world.

    If Ron Paul hates everything (a assumption which can be generously characterized as “dubious”), Mr Barnett seems to be a person who fears everything.

  6. Markos “every candidate I support loses” Zuniga

    You know, like Jim Webb. Or John Tester. Or Joe Sestak. Or…

    Time to update those RNC talking points, dude. Slagging the netroots as not winning is soooo 2003.

  7. But good job showing us what it looks like when a hollow man sneers at the future.

  8. Right, joe, because everything I say is a RNC talking point. Time up to update your JPC (joe partisan club) talking points, dude.

  9. Oops, someone stepped on one of joe’s sacred cows and out come the ad hominems.

  10. It’s easy to keep your talking points straight when you put the facts first.

    It is a fact that Kos-backed candidates rock and rolled in the last election.

    It is a fact that you are completely wrong about the effectiveness of the netroots.

  11. It is precisely because Kos supports extremely progressive primary challengers and challengers to safe Red seats that he has the influence he has.

    Those candidates lose a lot of the time, but they’re a lot more competitive than they used to be, and they’re harder to put down. Party leaders pay their respects to Kos because they don’t want to be the next guy who has to expend resources and time fending off a credible challenge from the left. The Democratic party as a whole is moving to the left to try to avoid being thrown out of power by candidates with the support of guys like Kos and Atrios.

    Playing a big part in moving one of the two major parties to the left is a much bigger deal than the success rate of unfunded primary challengers with slight name recognition in an incumbent-favoring system.

    If there was a libertarian Kos I’d be shitting myself with happiness, even if 80% of its little crusades fell completely flat.

  12. That’s cute Marcus. I deliberately quote the language used in the blog post – language no one even suggests is in any way unfair – and you feign horror at how I’ve dragged down the discussion.

  13. It is a fact that you are completely wrong about the effectiveness of the netroots.

    Actually, I didn’t say a single word about the effectiveness of the netroots. To quote you, “reed guder”. I said Markos’ past failures might be a reason the Dem establishment has been hesitant to fully embrace him.

    Try reading what I said and not what the voices in your head see.

  14. We shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that bloggers are the only manifestation of the Crashing the Gates phenomenon.

    Howard Dean becoming DNC Chair, for example, is another manifestation of movement-driven politics overcoming safe, coktail-party DC insider politics. The Lifers said the 50-state strategy was crazy, doomed to failure. Tell that to John Tester.

    Just as Goldwater the Westerner saw the possibility and importance of expanding the party’s appeal beyond its traditional geographic base, so did Dean. I think it was Rahm Emmanuel who made a comment about Democratic organizers “walking around Mississippi picking their nose.” Now, he’s come around.

  15. “Actually, I didn’t say a single word about the effectiveness of the netroots.” – 10:44

    “Markos “every candidate I support loses” Zuniga” – 10:21

    I kan reed reel gud. Thanx.

  16. So Markos is the netroots, and not all the people who make it up? Marcvs is right, how dare I gore your sacred Kos.

    You really need to stop listening to the voices.

  17. Episiarch –

    Not to be a dick here, because I usually agree with you more than Joe, but “Kos’ candidates always lose” is pretty much word for word a Republican talking point, so when Joe said you were repeating a talking point he was right.

    Pick the talking point out of the following list:

    A: Kos candidates always lose.

    B: Moveon.org is an extremist hate group.

    C: Hillary Clinton claps to herself too much.

    Gotcha! It’s a trick question. They’re all talking points. When you use them, it’s repeating a talking point.

  18. Fluffy, fair enough. I used the “every candidate I pick loses” thing because that is the general perception of Kos (promulgated by RNC talking points) that has stuck. This was only in support of my assertion of why the Dem establishment has been hesitant to really adopt Kos.

    Don’t let joe’s distortions affect the meaning of my point.

  19. In the East, Goldwater supporters were kept at arms length in 1964 and for years afterward by the party pros. Yet today if you talk to, say, a County GOP chair or a GOP legislator, he will claim to have been influenced by Goldwater or, if younger than 60, by Reagan.
    But it is pretty obvious that power and not adherence to a political ideology is what motivates them now. So if America wants Santa Claus, then the GOP will give them Santa Claus and the hell with the Party’s legacy as a small government, low tax, less meddling
    operation.

  20. As one who has thrown back more than one can of AU-H2O, let me tell you why I voted for Barry: He would have gotten the US out of the quicksand of Vietnam, which Johnson was obligated to get us deeper into to honor Kennedy.
    The population in general, being much “slower” than I, finally elected Nixon over Humphrey for that reason.
    (In the meantime, I was drafted, shot at, and didn’t like it.)

  21. Now, how about instead of talking about me, we get back to Goldwater and the relationship between careerist insiders and movement amateurs in the party?

    Among the Republicans, the closest thing to the free-agent, movement-oriented amateurs in the past 20 years would seem to be the Religious Right.

    And yesterday, we see that Pat Robertson endorsed a pro-choice supporter of gay rights.

    The conservative netroots has always been of a piece with the rest of the party apparatus. They self-consciously view themselves as soldiers for the cause, as laid down by the party, in a way that the Gate-Crashers never have. To a certain extent, this reflects the way the liberal blogosphere was bottom up, with people setting up their own blogs to push their own ideas, while the conservative blogosphere has been largely top down, with the major sites set up by longtime party activists or established media organs.

    It’s the difference between the Daily Kos and National Review’s “The Corner.” Between Atrios and Pajamas Media.

    But on another level, this reflects the ideological effects of the Iraq War and of Karl Rove’s strategy of using terror, security, and war as wedge issues. Conservative activists view the promotion of Republicans’ political interests over Democrats’ as part and parcel of the War on Terror, and have never been shy about saying so. As opinion on Iraq, torture, and other WoT issues has changed, and as Bush’s popularity has plummeted this has started to change.

    Thus far, we haven’t seen much in the way of the indie liberal bloggers being coopted. Perhaps, once the Iraq War and the Bush presidency end, eliminatig the major insider/outsider split (the fight over how to respond to Bush’s Iraq policy), we’ll see liberal bloggers operating as party organs, too.

  22. could we not ruin yet another thread with another joe-episiarch poo flinging match?

  23. Now, how about instead of talking about me, we get back to Goldwater and the relationship between careerist insiders and movement amateurs in the party?

    That might be interesting if what you really wanted to talk about wasn’t TEAM BLUE TEAM RED GO TEAM GO.

  24. could we not ruin yet another thread with another joe-episiarch poo flinging match?

    I apologize if my entertainment interferes with yours.

  25. Wow, what a dick.

    Nobody is interested, people keep asking you to knock it off, how about showing some respect instead of making everything about partisanship and personal attacks, like people keep asking?

  26. Nobody is interested, people keep asking you to knock it off, how about showing some respect instead of making everything about partisanship and personal attacks, like people keep asking?

    joe, if you think the above comment was directed solely at me, you are even more delusional than I thought.

  27. Thanks, Jesse, for introducing me to “The Hollow Men”. I’d never read that one before, uncultured nerd that I am.

  28. I wrote about the subject at hand. You wrote about me.

    Knock it off.

  29. Howard Dean becoming DNC Chair, for example, is another manifestation of movement-driven politics overcoming safe, coktail-party DC insider politics.

    And the new Dean-helmed DNC has been a bastion of bold ideas, standing up to Republican excesses and demanding accountability from the Executive. Right? LOL

  30. Compared to the previous one, yes, yes it has.

    Remember, the DNC isn’t a policy shop, and it isn’t the Congressional leadership. It organizes campaigns, puts out press releases, and distributes funds.

    The Dean-led DNC has been notably more confrontational than its predecessors, and has taken on the Republicans on turf – georgraphic and ideological – that had previously been ceded without a fight, to great effect.

  31. I actually agree with joe regarding the role that the grassroots efforts play in the two parties. With the exception of Ron Paul’s supporters, the conservative grassroots is basically in lockstep with the national party, whereas the liberal (progressive?) grassroots is pretty divergent a lot of the time. I think personally think they’re all wrong (except Paul’s supporters), but it is an interesting dynamic.

  32. BTW, who are the Kossacks supporting (in general) for the Democratic candidate for POTUS this time around?

  33. joe,

    Funny you should mention Joe Sestak. I worked for him in the late ’70s. He was an intelligent, ambitious, petty micromanager back then. I’m sure he’ll go far in Democratic circles.

  34. I agree, Marcvs, the Paulites are quite a different breed from the right blogosphere.

    As for the Kossacks, right now, they’re hot for Dodd, and Edwards also polls well. Of course there is much love for Kucinich, and everyone wants Gore to jump in, but people realize those are pipe dreams.

    Obama has really fallen off, and Hillary is seen as the embodiment of the Old Guard.

  35. Rethinking it, I worked for Joe Sestak in the early ’80s. Everthing else still applies.

  36. Oh, and Richardson has lost a lot of cachet for pandering, echoing conservative frames in his criticisms of other Democrats, and making repeated mistakes on the trail.

  37. I don’t imagine it’s very easy to become an admiral if you aren’t intelligent, ambitious, perfectionist, and a bit of a jerk.

  38. Beyond the little “poo fight” here, I think that McCarthy is on to something with his theory, though joe’s point about the religious right has some basis.

    I do have to point out that the evangelical leaders have occasionally had a stormy relationship with the “DC Insider” wing of the GOP over the years. In fact, I think one of the political problems for the evangelicals is that they don’t have a sufficiently concentrated leadership structure and so haven’t been able to make their political support turn into substantial policy gains in Washington once the elections are over. The get a few bones thrown their way, but little else.

    By contract, the “netroots” is concentrated in a few sites and people (some of who are hardly just regular folks, including Kos himself), and so I think has been able to wield influence far exceeding the number of people it represents, as compared to evangelicals.

    But McCarthy’s ultimate point was that it was the “amateurs” who ultimately set the terms of the debate for decades, because they talked about policies rather than politics. I have to wonder whether the Kos crowd is really doing that, joe’s beliefs aside. Howard Dean and Joe Trippi are all about political tactics, not policy.

  39. These days the amateurs are holding Guy Fawkes fundraisers for Ron Paul, and the hollow men are sneering at their efforts. This is the way the week sounds: First came a bang……

    Well said Mr Walker

  40. I don’t imagine it’s very easy to become an admiral if you aren’t intelligent, ambitious, perfectionist, and a bit of a jerk.

    But it has been done without the jerk part.

  41. How ’bout a warning in the future? I almost read something by Dean Barnett!

  42. So when is the MSM going to point out that Guy Fawkes Day is a celebration of anti-anarchism?

  43. Does anyone else pronounce “Guy Fawkes” in their head like he was an NHL goalie? I have to be careful to avoid referring to him as Gee outloud.

  44. Guy Faux? That would be an excellent name for a goalie, or a politician.

  45. I don’t think The Corner is the mirror image of Daily Kos. There are top down and bottom up blogs on both sides. I think The Corner:Tapped :: Redstate:Daily Kos. And Pajamas Media is the goateed spock to Huffington post (or vice versa if you prefer)

    Any assymtery between left and right wing blogosphere comes from three things:
    1) At the inception at the begining of this decade, many (most?) bloggers were seeing themselves as more libertartarian, which correlates with tech savy early adopters. Left leaning liberatarians, however, fit more comforably within the various alliances of the Democrats, than their right leaning counterparts with the Republicans, so as they have migrated back to chosing a side, the Democratic side has gained more.
    2) Most of the bloggers are younger, and so of course skew demomcratic. You got the churchill (orwell?) cliche of if your 20 and conservative, no heart, 40 and liberal no brain.
    3) The Iraq conflict really cuts the Republican coalition much more than the Democratic one. The leftish sites have always been against it, so the current situation looks like a vindication. Many of the rightish and/or libertarian sites who were originally pro-bush/pro-war are either anti-, or have shifted to a neutral, not going to talk about it anymore (e.g. McArdle). The few that still support Bush and the Iraq war do so in almost complete opposition to all their other beliefs (e.g. Prof Reynolds, Libertarian Samizdata)

  46. Fluffy,

    Don’t the candidates he supports generally lose? In other words, just because it is a “Republican talking point” (where do I get a list of these things, BTW?) doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Republicans (and Democrats) can be right from time to time.

  47. It’s not an accident that they celebrated their hero on a day named for Guy Fawkes, perhaps the greatest anarchist in the history of the English speaking world.

    Guy Fawkes wasn’t even an anarchist, let alone the greatest anarchist in history. The point of the Powder Plot was to restore the Catholic monarchy to England. Someone’s been getting their history from Hollywood…

  48. The professional DC consultant class ran the party for decades, but for the past five years or so, they have steadily been losing ground to amateurs and outsiders.

    We are talking about the party in which Hillary Clinton has a prohibitive lead for the Presidential nomination, right? The one that put Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House and Harry Reid in charge of the Senate?

  49. Top-tier politicians getting put into top-tier slots doesn’t tell us a whole lot, RC.

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