Barry Goldwater

When Justice O'Connor Thought a Bush Was "Vital for the Court"

An old letter suggests she too once saw the Supreme Court as a political body

An old letter suggests she once saw the Supreme Court as more political than she says she does today.

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What the Jackie Robinson Film Leaves Out

'42' doesn't touch on his conservative politics, which are widely misunderstood

The 24-hour news cycle yielded one of its better sitcom interludes last week when Rand Paul went to Howard University, the historically black college, to tell its student body why it needed the Republican Party. The libertarian junior senator from Kentucky, at one point, asked for a show-of-hands from those who knew that most of the African Americans who founded the NAACP more than 100 years ago were Republican.

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Barack Obama may be a redistributionist, but he has yet to redistribute any money.

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Republicans know a great, great deal about the power of popular music in the merchandising of ideology for electoral gain

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It’s clear that the conflict in Syria is now an issue in the American presidential campaign, largely at the insistence of Mitt Romney’s Republican supporters. Most notable among the interjections was an emotional speech recently delivered on the Senate floor by Senator John McCain, in which he demanded to know why the White House was abetting Bashar al Assad’s murdering of innocents. There is, of course, much to quibble with in this characterization: Far from doing nothing to oppose Bashar, the Obama administration has supported the U.N.

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McNamara's Tell

Sen. Barry Goldwater used to claim that whenever Ronald Reagan's CIA director, Bill Casey, lied while testifying before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, his deputy, Bobby Inman, would lean forward and pull up his socks to signal to the interrogators that Casey was not telling the truth. Apparently Robert McNamara, defense secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, used the same method on himself.

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A specter is haunting the Republican establishment—the specter of Barry Goldwater. With recent polling data suggesting that Rick Santorum has surged ahead of Mitt Romney among Republican voters nationwide, the people whose livelihoods depend on Republican electoral victories are terrified by the growing possibility of a massive wipeout in November, much like the one that Republicans experienced in 1964, when Goldwater was their nominee. But even if the magnitude of the Republicans’ defeat this year resembles that previous debacle, the path there will be significantly different.

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As the 2012 invisible primary lurches to a close, the Republican Party looks more likely than ever to be in the process of presenting its caucus and primary voters with the choice between one candidate they don’t want to nominate and another their fellow-Americans don’t want to elect. Mitt Romney simply hasn’t grown on primary voters; if anything, in recent weeks, he’s soured. And Newt Gingrich, for his part, would enter the general election as the weakest GOP nominee since Barry Goldwater.

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I sincerely hope Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination for president: It could bring a healthy candor to our politics and end up boosting the fortunes of liberalism as well. Now, I realize the former Speaker may not be able to convert his current polling spurt into triumph over his main rival, that dodgy I’m-all-businessman, whose too-perfect hair and smile remind me of a middle-aged Ken doll.

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In his inaugural presidential debate, Rick Perry had a choice.

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