Gadget

This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.

Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Firing Line: Firing Line With William F. Buckley- Wilbur Cohen and The Great Society in 1967


One of the things if not the main thing that united the Republican Party in the mid and late 1960s, was President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society agenda and all the social insurance programs that came with it. Similar to President Clinton in 1993-94 with his deficit reduction plan, crime bill and failed health care reform attempt. Conservatives in America saw the growth of the Federal Government in the 1960s as a threat to individual freedom. Which is why they united behind Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 and conservative candidates for Congress in 1966 and 68. And why they united behind Richard Nixon for President in 1968.

The GOP saw the Johnson Administration wanting to make America like Europe with a large welfare state. With things like Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start, Public Housing, increasing public education funding from the Federal Government, etc. And conservatives in America like Bill Buckley and others saw all of these programs as unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment. And didn’t like the new tax hikes that came from Medicare, especially since America was a fairly low tax country. Pre-FDR New Deal, LBJ Great Society and still a low tax country today compared with Europe. But Classical Conservatives and Libertarians, still believe that America is still overtaxed as a country.

American Conservatives wanted to get behind candidates and politicians who would work to downsize or eliminate the New Deal and Great Society. And they saw the Johnson Administration and Secretary Wilbur Cohen of the Department of Health, Welfare and Education, as people who wanted to make America more like Europe from the Federal Government. At the expense of individual freedom and state and local governments and try to centralize the power with the Federal Government.

This is how Barry Goldwater, Ron Reagan and other Conservatives got into to power. And how Dick Nixon got back into power in 1968 and how more Conservative Republicans got elected to Congress in the late 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s. And how the Republican Party became relevant again in the Federal Government and across America. By running against the New Deal and Great Society and saying that they want to change it and still try to solve the same problems. But do it in a way that gives the people more individual freedom in how they solve their own problems.

In some ways the Goldwater defeat in 1964 and the LBJ Great Society was great for the Republican Party. Because it brought them together and united them behind the same agenda. And why you saw more conservatives run for Congress and get elected especially in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Like Trent Lott, Ted Stevens, Orrin Hatch, Al Simpson, Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney and may others. Because the Republican Party came together behind the same agenda. And how the Rockefeller faction of the party almost faded away.

Firing Line: William F. Buckley Interviewing U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield- Was Barry Goldwater a Mistake?


By the time the 1964 presidential campaign came around, the Republican Party was already in bad shape. They lost the presidency in 1960, Democrats controlled Congress with huge majorities. And even added to those majorities in 1962 and the classical conservative base of the Republican Party, felt the needed to fight back and take control of the party as they did in 1964. After what they saw as moderate leadership from the Eisenhower Administration in the 1950s. And they saw Vice President Richard Nixon as a moderate presidential candidate.

This is how Senator Barry Goldwater became the 1964 Republican presidential nominee and one reason why Dick Nixon didn't run for president in 1964 and why Governor Nelson Rockefeller was treated so badly at the 1964 Republican Convention. Because a new political faction was in charge of the GOP. That believed the Kennedy-Johnson Administration was moving the Federal Government too far away from federalism. And growing the Federal Government too rapidly with the Great Society and they felt the need to step up and nominate someone who they saw as a Classical Conservative and a Constitutional Conservative. Who would bring the Federal Government back in line with the U.S. Constitution.

This is how exactly Senator Goldwater ran his presidential campaign and even had some success in the South. And won some Southern states that the Democratic Party use to own. 1964 was the start of a movement in American politics, that started to move the South from being a purely Democratic region and made it more competitive for Republican candidates. Which is one reason how Dick Nixon was elected President in 1968. And got reelected in a landslide in 1972 and how the Republican Party won 5-6 presidential elections from 1968-88. Four of those elections that they won were by landslides.

The Republican Party paid a heavy price for Senator Goldwater's landslide lost in 1964, but for only two years. From 1965-67 where the Democratic Party had the presidency and huge majority's in Congress, but it was a short two years, because by 1966, President Johnson was starting to become unpopular. And Congressional Republicans picked up 47 seats in the House and four in the Senate. Republicans were still in the minority in both chambers of Congress, but back in the ballpark, with a shot at making Congress competitive.

Because in 1968 Republicans picked up five more seats in the House to give them 192 and seven in the Senate to give them 43. So the democrats no longer had such huge majorities in Congress and be able to over run the Minority Party. Because the Republican Party now had new states and districts that were put in play for them. In some ways the 1964 general elections was a great defeat for the Republican Party.