As the definition states: “In practice, the term Goldwater Republican is used by people today unsatisfied with the Republican Party’s current focus on social issues and family matters.”
Then come articles such as this one in today’s New York Times, which underscore overall Republican lack of cohesion and agreement well into the current election cycle.
What the Republican party really seems it could use in this presidential election year is a Goldwater resurrection. Just as Barack Obama four years ago became the fresh new face of the Democratic party, it’s well past time for the GOP to present its own similar face of freshness, one that appeals not to the party’s extreme religious fringes, but rather to its much larger, more moderate and consensus-building center. At the same time, a much more daunting and insurmountable question beckons: How can the religious right be divorced from the Republican party, yielding a GOP much like that of 50+ years ago?
After all, “The increasing influence of the Christian right on the Republican Party so conflicted with Goldwater’s libertarian views that he became a vocal opponent of the religious right on issues such as abortion, gay rights and the role of religion in public life.” (Wikipedia)
An online posting in 2008 titled “The Future of the Right” clearly and succinctly defines three basic types of Republicans. For all the concern four years ago over the focus and the future of the Republican party, this feeling has by no means subsided, but rather grown. As written in 2010, Goldwater would not recognize today’s party, while being “seriously taken aback with the anti-gay and anti-choice views.” Then, one-time possible Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, just yesterday, expressed his own thoughts on the distinct possibility of Republican self-destruction, keeping this ongoing concern very much alive into 2012.
The bottom line is this: The Republican party can do better, to-be-determined strategy notwithstanding. “Republican” itself is not a dirty word; rather it’s been hijacked and smeared by the figures and forces of the current time. A Goldwater resurrection stands a decent chance of changing this course, if only such a movement could take root, gain visibility, and build viable strength in numbers.
So where are the Goldwater Republicans? They’re not in the mainstream media it seems, nor in the current presidential election. It’s time to find them. This is step one.