Tuesday | August 05, 2003
Reagan's "Goldwater" problem
From the Nation's Online Beat:
[T]he comparison that comes to mind when Lieberman bashes candidates who are popular with the party's base voters is not to the 1972 race, but rather to the 1980 contest for the Republican presidential nomination.
Posted August 05, 2003 10:36 AM
That year, moderate Republicans were horrified by the prospect that the party cadres were preparing to nominate former California Governor Ronald Reagan for president. Reagan's foes warned that if the conservative icon became the nominee, the November election results would be as disastrous as the 1964 campaign where standard-bearing conservative Barry Goldwater got trounced.
The pundits repeated the Goldwater-Reagan comparison constantly; even after Reagan's campaign took off, Time magazine declared that, "His biggest problem may be that the very hard-line conservative positions that appeal to the enthusiasts who vote in G.O.P. primaries are exactly those that might not attract the much larger body of people who vote in November." There was even talk that former President Gerald Ford might have to be drafted into the primary competition in order to stop Reagan. But the party faithful could not be dissuaded. They followed their principles and their hearts and went with Reagan.