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Thursday July 16, 1964 was a sweltering night in San Francisco's Cow Palace. Barry Goldwater took his place on a wooden platform to address the assembled delegates at the Republican National Convention, and a national television audience. The red, white, and blue balloons settled around him as Goldwater began his acceptance speecha speech that was to end a grassroots drive to obtain the Republican nomination for a conservative, and to begin a Goldwater-controlled presidential campaign.
Goldwater accepted the Republican nomination with a "deep sense of humility" and called for a united and determined campaign. He spoke of the "columnists that had closed their minds" and were preparing to make him the "whipping boy of the campaign." Then Goldwater called for all Republicans to "think victory, talk victory, act victoryand we will win victory in November." Unexpectedly, the rhetoric of Goldwater's address changed. He issued a warning to all those who did not share his understanding of the purpose of government, or the nature of the American republic:
Any who join us in all sincerity, welcome. Those who do not care for our cause we do not expect to enter our ranks in any case. And let our Republicanism, so focused and so dedicated, not be made fuzzy and futile by unthinking and stupid labels. I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.1
With this utterance, the assembled delegates jumped to their feet and cheered wildly, but in millions of homes around the country this now (in)famous phrase struck a different cord.
For many, who had been personally involved in the drive to obtain the nomination for the Senator, there was elation and confusion over his speech. Why had Goldwater turned his back on millions of Americans who would be needed to win the presidency? To the Americans who had previously viewed Goldwater as a "kook" or simply misguided, this one phrase seemed to confirm their every fear of his vision for America. Goldwater ended his speech with these marching orders: "This party, its good people, and its unquestionable devotion to freedom will not fulfill the purposes of this campaign which we launch here and now until our cause has won the day, inspired the world, and shown the way to a tomorrow worthy of our yesteryears." With this, the floor and galleries of the Cow Palace again erupted. Goldwater stepped away from the podium, slipping his ever-present black glasses into his lapel pocket and smiled. This began one of the most ill-fated presidential campaigns in American political history.
As we re-examine the place of conservatism in twentieth-century America, the name Barry Goldwater reverberates above all others.2 But, as we acclimate ourselves to the political climate of the early 1960s, it is soon apparent Barry Goldwater was not a master politician controlling a pseudo-conservative ideology for his own gain.3 Instead it is the relationship between Goldwater and his supporters that becomes the central facet to understanding the political movement toward a Goldwater nomination.
This essay contributes to our understanding of American conservatism by offering a detailed look at the Draft Goldwater Committee. It will do so by examining the actions and personalities of the political professionals who held the knowledge and connections to create a nationwide organization. By examining the leaders of the Draft Goldwater movement this essay will place it into the context of the existing literature and make use of new sources to explore both its immediate and long-run impact on the Republican party.4
But, by ignoring the larger political realities of the 1964 pre-nomination cycle, there is the danger of overestimating the importance of any one group to the Goldwater nomination. Or, more clearly, will we miss the forest for the trees by concentrating on the actions of the Draft Goldwater Committee? This danger is, however, offset by the possibility of contributing to a new "synthesis" that explains the political actions of conservatives.5 A central theme running through any examination of the importance of the Draft Goldwater Committee in the Goldwater nomination was Goldwater's intent to run. The literature surrounding the Goldwater nomination has framed this question in two ways: 1) Goldwater did want to run, or 2) Goldwater did not want to run. From these basic premises, the grassroots effort to secure Goldwater's nomination has been seen as either a hijacking of the Republican party by conservatives because Goldwater did not want to run, or as a pre-nomination coalition builder because Goldwater wanted to seek the presidency.
This essay will argue that the question of Goldwater's interest, or lack thereof, in the presidency creates a false dichotomy for explaining how Goldwater became nominated. By denying his interest in the nomination, Goldwater effectively lost control of his political future. In this way movements within the Republican party created their own version of Goldwater. Conservative intellectuals, rank-and-file Republicans, and young conservative activists in the Republican party saw in Goldwater what they wanted to see. The rise of Goldwater from 1959 through 1964 was then actually based on a fundamental misinterpretation, created in large part by a single book, The Conscience of a Conservative. While Conscience was supposedly authored by Goldwater, it was in fact largely written by one of his staff members, L. Brent Bozell.6 Bozell took Goldwater's speeches, which Bozell had written, and distilled them to fit into small topic areas such as "Goldwater on Education," or "Goldwater on Social Security." By presenting Goldwater's words in this way, Bozell gave Goldwater's rhetoric coherence, which it otherwise would not have held. Published in 1960, the book became a best seller with millions of Americans coming to know a "Goldwater" that was not necessarily the real Goldwater.7
This emergence of Goldwater as the conservative spokesman in the Republican party illuminated the organizational and intellectual limitations of conservatives within the party. Outside the Republican party, National Review had given conservative intellectuals a forum to work out the contradictions in the conservative thought emerging in the post-WWII period.8 These ideas brought like-minded individuals together, but they lacked the experience in practical politics to launch their ideas into the national policy debate. Conservative activists in the Republican party lacked the intellectual capital necessary to capture control of the party infrastructure.9 In Goldwater's actions and rhetoric conservatives found validation for their belief that big government, created by the New Deal, was taking away individual liberty and replacing the rule of law by rule of men. These beliefs were sanctified by Goldwater's ardent anti-communism and his conviction that the nation must be returned to its philosophical foundation. The bundle of hopes and aspirations of a Goldwater presidency came to be known as "a choice, not an echo," best characterized by Phyllis Schlafly's book by the same name.
The narrow defeat of Richard Nixon in November of 1960 left no apparent heir for the nomination in 1964. Both the liberals and conservatives in the Republican party argued that if Nixon had just followed their advice, he could have easily defeated Kennedy. But as January approached, the squabbling in the Republican party ended as Congressional Republicans got down to the business of dealing with the new Kennedy administration. Out of this fray, Nelson Rockefeller emerged as the most likely Republican presidential candidate for 1964. Rockefeller possessed all the qualities the Eastern Establishment required in a candidate: he was rich, internationalist, and liberal. The old Dewey Republicans thought it was just a matter of time before Rockefeller took his rightful place as the Republican nominee.
But if one were to ask conservatives in the Republican party whom they supported, there was only one answer: Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was the grandson of a Jewish immigrant, Barry Goldwasser, who started the family's department store in San Francisco, but eventually moved to Phoenix, Arizona. After World War II, Goldwater took over the family department store and soon discovered he was more adept at marketing than management or accounting.10 But as the Goldwater department store continued to grow, Barry found himself a community leader. Goldwater's first foray into politics was his election to the Phoenix city council in 1949. He ran as a reformer to "clean up" the government in Phoenix which had been controlled by a corrupt Democratic party machine. His introduction to statewide politics came as he managed Howard Pyle's successful campaign for governor in 1950. Through the course of the campaign, Goldwater became more popular than his candidate, and in 1952 he took advantage of his statewide popularity and rode Eisenhower's coat-tails into the U.S. Senate.
While Goldwater's election to the Senate may have depended on Eisenhower's popularity, Goldwater quickly aligned himself with the Taft wing of the party upon his arrival in Washington.11 Goldwater did not go on to become a powerful legislative force and no major piece of legislation would bear his name. He became the consummate backbencher. Goldwater made his political name serving as the chairman of the Senate Re-election Committee, traveling thousands of miles campaigning for Republicans around the country. It was at these dinners, with their bad food and uncomfortable seats, Republicans were introduced to Barry Goldwater. The thousands of people Goldwater met and inspired became a dedicated band of activists who began describing themselves as "Goldwater Republicans." As yet an unorganized and unarticulated element within the Republican party, these Goldwater Republicans began appearing within leadership positions in Republican auxiliary organizations throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s. As these groups began to approach Goldwater about running for president, he flatly refused. Goldwater felt that as a senator from a small western state, he could not muster the national support to win the presidency. When pressed on this issue Goldwater would simply argue it was his political neck and he would decide when to stick it out. Goldwater also said he desired to respect his wife's wishes that he not expose their family to the rigors of a presidential campaign.
By the spring of 1961, no Republican had emerged as a clear choice for 1964. Barry Goldwater remained the obvious choice of conservatives, but he had made no move to run. Goldwater made his position on a possible candidacy perfectly clear at an organizational meeting held in December, 1960. Stephen Shadegg, Goldwater's political confidant in Arizona, had called the meeting with Goldwater and five other men ostensibly to talk about how to capture the Republican party for conservatives. The five others at the meeting: William R. Spear and Dick Herman, both from Nebraska, Charles Barr, an oil executive from Chicago, G.R. Herberger, from Arizona and Minnesota, and Roger Milliken, from South Carolina. They were all confirmed Goldwater supporters and the talk soon shifted to running Goldwater for president. Goldwater immediately cut the others short and reminded them they were there to talk about selecting a new chairman for the Republican National Committee.12
While Goldwater was able to control this first attempt at organizing a presidential committee on his behalf, he could not control the support for him that was beginning to emerge at the grassroots level. Time observed Goldwater's growing national popularity in June of 1961 by placing his picture on its cover and writing:
Goldwater is the hottest political figure this side of Jack Kennedy.... No Republican is more in demand. Since March, Goldwater's Washington office has received more than 650 written invitations for the Senator to put in an appearance, plus hundreds of telephone requests. Goldwater's mail runs to a remarkable 800 pieces a day...[and] visitors crowd around Barry Goldwater's fourth floor suite in the Old Senate Office Building hoping earn a passing handclasp or a hastily scrawled autograph.13
Independent of the Shadegg meeting, three other men took Goldwater's call to action at the 1960 Republican convention very seriously.14 These menF. Clifton White, William A. Rusher, and John M. Ashbrookwould soon begin formulating how to use their nationwide network of contacts, forged in the conservative takeover on the National Young Republican Federation, to elect Barry Goldwater as President of the United States.15
F. Clifton White was born in upstate New York in 1918, and took a degree in social science from Cornell University. After graduation, White apprenticed as a teacher with the hopes of becoming a history teacher in a public high school.16 White's first experience in politics came in 1946 when he lobbied the Ithaca city council to provide affordable housing for veterans attending college there. White was soon involved with the Dewey republican machine in New York and was recruited to run for a U.S. House seat representing Tompkins County, New York. After a resounding primary defeat, White recognized his abilities lay in "backroom politics," (a phrase he used without reservation) rather than as a candidate.
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1923, William Rusher moved to New York with his family when he was seven. Even though he lived in the heart of New York City, Rusher never lost his midwest accent, or his midwest Republicanism. Entering Princeton in 1940, Rusher soon led a Republican group on campus. After taking his law degree from Harvard and working at a Wall Street firm, Rusher joined the legal staff of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. In June of 1957, he approached William F. Buckley, Jr., about becoming a lawyer for the Buckley family oil company. Buckley surprised him by instead offering him the position of publisher of National Review, Rusher took a few weeks to think the offer over and decided to dedicate his life to promoting conservatism rather than pursuing his chosen profession as a lawyer.17
John Ashbrook, born in Johnstown, Ohio in 1928, was introduced to politics by his father William A. Ashbrook, a Democratic congressman. Ashbrook took his degree in law from Ohio State University in 1953, and served as a special council to the Ohio attorney general for two years. In 1955, Ashbrook took over publication of the weekly paper the Johnstown Independent and he went on to publish three other weekly newspapers in northcentral Ohio. Ashbrook took the skills he learned as chairman of the national Young Republican Federation and was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1956 and again in 1958. In 1960 he ran for and won a U.S. Congressional seat in a tough election year for conservative Republicans.18
One month after the Goldwater article in Time, William Rusher traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Congressman Ashbrook. While at lunch, Rusher began to talk about the lack of a conservative presidential candidate for 1964. Both Rusher and Ashbrook agreed Nixon was not a conservative, and that Rockefeller was undesirable and unelectable. Rusher shared a theory he and White had formulated in the months since the election. The leaders of the Eastern Establishment seemed to have played out their cards in 1960. The last contested nomination had been in 1952 and now "most of (the Eastern Establishment) were just plain too old to answer the bell for another round."19
Then they began to talk about the disciplined political machine they built in the Young Republicans.20 "'You know John,' Rusher mused, 'if we held a meeting of our old YR crowd today, I'll bet it would be about the third largest faction in the Republican party.'" Actually Rusher thought he was being cautious, probably only Rockefeller could have fielded a larger personal organization than theirs. Ashbrook agreed with Rusher it was certainly possible the Eastern Establishment was ripe for displacement. He took Rusher back to his office and pulled open a file drawer containing contacts he had made as National YR Chairman. Ashbrook simply said, "These people still know me."21
Two days after returning to New York City, Rusher met White for lunch and told White about Ashbrook's files and they discussed merging the names in those files with the allies White had made in the regular party. Both White and Rusher realized their days in the Young Republicans were over; they needed a vehicle to propel them into the regular party structure if they were to capture the Republican nomination for a conservative. They hoped the network of individuals contained in the White-Ashbrook files would prove to be this vehicle.
With the embryo of this plan, White traveled to Washington D.C. to talk it over with Charles Barr. White laid out his thesis: While there was an emerging grass roots support for Barry Goldwater, without an effective national organization to help focus this energy, a relatively small, well financed group could still nominate a liberal candidate. White's idea was to take the organization he had created in the Young Republicans, both in structure and personnel, and use it to give direction and training to local groups of conservative Republicans. The most important manifestation of this direction would be to ensure that conservatives were selected as delegates to the 1964 Republican national convention.
It was September 7 before Ashbrook was able to travel to New York to discuss the plan. Over lunch White, Rusher, and Ashbrook began to go through the list name by name. At first, the criterion to be selected into their "group" was to have all three men vouch for that individual's credentials, but they soon had to abandon this formula as the list had grown so large there were very few people all three men knew. In the end, it was decided any individual at least one of them knew well enough to support without reservation was selected. They moved the meeting to the Black Angus restaurant for dinner, and by the time coffee was served they had a list of twenty-six people; October 8 in Chicago was decided upon as the date for an organizational meeting for this new ad hoc group. Finally, they divided up the list to invite those on it to the meeting. When calling, Ashbrook, White, and Rusher did not spell out the specific agenda of the meeting; instead they simply said they were getting a group together to talk politics.22
On October 8, 1961 twenty-two men gathered at the Avenue Hotel in Chicago. Most of the attendees were graduates of the Young Republican politics; some were beginning their life in regular Republican politics while others were businessmen still interested in promoting conservatism. All had paid their own way to Chicago, and one had even borrowed the money. It was also, for the most part, a gathering of younger men who had yet to gain national prominence in the Republican party. Other than White, Ashbrook, and Rusher the attendees were:
Charles Barr, of Illinois, a knowledgeable lobbyist for Standard Oil of Indiana;
James Boyce, of Louisiana, a close friend of White's and a nominal Democrat (the only Democrat at the meeting), whom White had come to know and respect as a volunteer for Nixon in 1960;
Donald C. Bruce, a Republican Congressman from Indiana;
Robert F. Chapman, of South Carolina, soon to be chairman of the Republican State Committee;
Ned Cushing, of Kansas, a young banker and a Republican state finance chairman.
Samuel Hay, of Wisconsin, a businessman and chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Committee;
Robert E. Hughes, treasurer of the State of Indiana;
Robert Matthews, also of Indiana, a former chairman of its Republican state committee;
Gerrish Milliken, of Connecticut, one of the owners of the textile firm Deering Milliken, Inc.;
Roger Milliken, of South Carolina, Gerrish's brother and board chairman of Deering Milliken, Inc.;
Roger Allan Moore, of Massachusetts, an attorney, counsel to the Republican state committee, and chairman of the board of National Review;
Robert Morris, of Texas, president of the University of Dallas;
David Nichols, of Maine, chairman of the state Republican committee;
Leonard Pasek, of Wisconsin, a businessman and friend of White's;
Speed Reavis, Jr., of Arkansas, another volunteer for Nixon recruited by White;
John Keith Rehmann, of Iowa, businessman and Republican activist;
Gregg Shorey, of South Carolina, chairman of the Republican state committee;
Charles Thone, of Nebraska, Republican national committeeman from that state; and
Frank Whetstone, of Montana, a small-town newspaper publisher.23
Once the meeting was called to order, F. Clifton White was chosen to preside. White began by discussing why he, Rusher, and Ashbrook thought 1964 would be the year to push for the Republican nomination of a conservative. The discussion then turned to Nixon's plans to run for governor of California, and also the organization Rockefeller was putting together. Everyone at the meeting agreed Goldwater was their obvious choice, but White cautioned them about the consequences of linking themselves to any one candidate three years away from the convention. He pointed out that while the Eastern Establishment may at that moment be disorganized, it could still muster a formidable defense if threatened. White argued they should instead begin organizing conservatives at the grassroots level; when the time came those forces could be mobilized in support of their candidate. At the end of the meeting, White was elected to oversee the creation of a budget and a political plan. White agreed to take the post but he explained that he regarded the appointment as only temporary and he called for another meeting in two months. If the committee was still willing to move ahead, he would accept the chairmanship.24
There were additions to the original group at the start of the December 10 meeting, four of whom had been invited to the first meeting but were unable to attend. They were:
Tad Smith, the state Republican chairman from Texas;
Albert E. Fay, the Republican state committeeman from Texas;
Donald Nutter, governor of Montana;
John M. Lupton, a state senator from Connecticut, and former public relations executive;
William G. McFadzean, a Minneapolis businessman White had met through his public relations seminar;
Edward O. Ethell, a Colorado public relations executive and Republican county chairman;
John Tope, a steel company executive from Birmingham, Al.; and
Sullivan Barnes, an executive in the American Football League.
White began the meeting by laying out his proposed budget. Understanding that early fundraising would be difficult, White had set a $65,000 goal. He included in the budget only the bare necessities: a small office in New York, a secretary/assistant, travel expenses and a telephone. White was to have a salary of $2,000 per month.
Then White passed out a map on which he divided the country into nine regions and proposed assigning a regional director to each area with his responsibility to be identifying conservative leaders in the Republican party both at the state and local level. White then pointed out that while Goldwater was the most obvious candidate, their present goal was to send conservative delegates to the 1964 national convention and the only way to do this was to begin organizing by county and precinct. He explained that in most states, delegates were selected by votes in congressional districts, and these votes were greatly influenced by precinct committeemen. These committeemen were selected two years before the convention. If they could mobilize conservatives to fill vacant slots and run against "liberal" committeemen, the selection of conservatives as delegates would be almost assured. White also explained he thought many leaders of the "Old Guard" had lost touch with the grassroots campaigning.25 Therefore, conservatives could organize at the local level without fear of retaliation, but if they attempted an open coup at the convention, they would be too late. White added that they should try to work through the regular party if possible, but if they encountered resistance, to move outside the party and recruit new people into their organization.
This political plan was the result of White's experience in the "Citizens for Nixon-Lodge" campaign. That campaign grew out of a response to the lack of support Eisenhower had received at the county level in many states. In a "Citizens for" campaign, the local party structure was circumvented by identifying individuals outside the party structure who would help in a local area. These "citizens" would then be supplied with materials to begin their own campaign committees. In this way an organization of dedicated and enthusiastic workers could be built, immune from local party strife or apathy.26
Once home, the members of the "Clif White Group" began to look more closely at their own states and their prospects for winning delegates. White took out a lease on a two-room suite on the thirty-fifth floor of the Chanin Building in New York City. Situated on the corner of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, the office had two used desks, some chairs, and a rented water cooler. The office was listed in the building directory as "F. Clifton White and Associates" and the door read "3505." Rusher asked White what he was going to have painted on the door, and White told him it would remain simply "3505." Rusher laughed at this and said it would be a great no-name for the office. Next, White searched for an assistant and coordinator of women's programs. William Rusher introduced him to Rita Bree, an insurance manager and successful political operative, and after some prompting Bree took the position. She would organize women and also keep the office in order, both when White was in New York City and when he was on the road.27
Securing women to serve as delegates to the 1964 Convention was more important than before. In 1960, the republican National committee had reconstituted the committee selection process to give more incentive for women to participate at the national convention. Rule 14a now read:
The Delegates from each state elected to the National Convention shall immediately after they are selected from their members for each Committee of the National Convention ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN to serve thereon and shall file notice of each selection with the Secretary of the National Committee.28
The committees affected by this rule were the committee on credentials, committee on permanent organization, committee of resolutions (the platform committee), and the committee on rules. The Democrats had adopted a similar resolution at their convention in 1960. They allowed, however, for states unable to seat a man and a woman for each committee to substitute a man. The Republican resolution forced states that were unable to seat a man and a woman on each committee to leave those seats vacant.
In June, White and Rita Bree received only $300 in contributions and they were learning how to avoid creditors while maintaining a national profile.29 This same month, White had a lucrative job offer and was forced to make a tough decision: he could either fold the operation and go back into the private sector, or he could begin using his family's savings to continue his work for Barry Goldwater. After some soul searching with his wife Bunny, White started dipping into his own bank account. Through the course of the summer White would use about $6,000 of his family's money and son's college fund to keep the operation afloat.30
When the budget allowed White to travel, he hit the "rubber chicken circuit" and presented his projected delegate breakdown to local Republican groups. He also met with Republican leaders to discuss how to implement his plan in their counties and states. In a swing through the southern states, White and his friends, John Grenier and Gregg Shorey, began to see how they could capture those states for Goldwater both in the primary and the general election. Unlike the outright racism in "Operation Dixie" during Eisenhower's second campaign, the "Suite 3505 Plan" was to begin organizing the new suburban population emerging in the South.31 White, and the members of the Suite 3505 Committee, saw that these "new" Southern suburbanites were very much alike their brethren in the North. They worked at white-collar jobs and drove home to the suburbs to vote Republican. The Suite 3505 group's "Southern Strategy" was not to play on southern fears of racial equality, but to reach out to previously unorganized Republicans.
The 1962 elections did not offer the mandate against Kennedy the members of the Suite 3505 Committee had hoped for. The Cuban missile crisis seemed to have transformed the usual midterm losses into a Democratic victory in the Congress. Overall, Democrats lost only two seats in the House and gained four seats in the Senate. However, in districts unaffected by reapportionment, Democrats actually lost seats.32 Democratic losses at the state level were more indicative of past elections. They lost governorships to George Romney of Michigan and William Scranton of Pennsylvania. Nelson Rockefeller was reelected in New York; and in Illinois, Sidney Yates lost to Everett Dirksen by a narrow margin. The sweet spots for Democrats were the defeat of Richard Nixon by Pat Brown in California and the election of Edward Kennedy to his brother's Senate seat in Massachusetts. Members of the Suite 3505 Committee did point to the results in the South as evidence of the probable success of organizing there. Republicans had retained all their southern congressional seats and added five new House seats. Republicans even picked up seats in state legislatures that had not seen Republicans since Reconstruction.33
At a December 2, 1962 meeting the executive committee decided to structure their organization as a draft committee. This would alleviate the problem of not having Goldwater as an active candidate, but would let them use him to energize the grassroots organizations. More important, a "draft" organization would furnish White with the freedom he needed to pursue delegates. This was the first meeting of an expanded Suite 3505 committee. New members were Ione Harrington of Indiana and Hazel Barger from Virginia, both national committeewomen; Patricia Hutar from New York and John Tyler of Oklahoma, both co-chairs of the National Young Republican Federation; Peter O'Donnell of Texas; John Grenier from Alabama; and Wirt Yerger from Mississippi; all three state Republican chairmen. Also in attendance were William Brock of Tennessee; Robert Carter, of Colorado, an airline executive; Jack Whittaker of Ohio; Wesley Phillips of Oregon; John McClatchey of Pennsylvania; Randy Richardson of New York and Georgia; and Ed Lynch, Jeremiah Milbank, and William Middendorf, friends of White from the New York area.
After a short discussion of possible candidates, everyone there agreed Barry Goldwater was their only choice. White reminded the committee that Goldwater was holding firm to his pledge not to run, and explained he believed Goldwater would only become a candidate if he saw a strong financial and organizational commitment to him. With this in mind, he laid out the proposed budget for 1963 and the first half of 1964.
This budget called for raising $3,200,000, with $1,275,000 earmarked for primary campaigns and $75,000 for the convention itself. It designated $725,000 to be used for a national headquarters in Washington, D.C. with $437,000 needed to staff the headquarters. White called for a staff of "a campaign director, a public relations manager, a research director, three financial and fund-raising experts, five field men, an office manager, and six secretaries. In 1964 we planned to add two more public relations men, four additional research people, five field men and four secretaries."34
The Suite 3505 Committee organized three more committees that would make up a newly constituted Draft Goldwater Committee. The public relations committee would prepare written materials for the Draft Committee and oversee the committee's relationship with the media. The survey committee would work with poling firms, and the research committee would identify the issues concerning the American public. Finally, a women's division was rolled into a four-part strategy committee made up by the chairs of the other four committees. The activities of all these committees would be overseen by the campaign director. The top of the schematic drawing of the Draft Goldwater organization would be left open for Goldwater, if and when he decided to occupy it.
On January 14, 1963 White flew to Washington D.C. to meet with Goldwater and inform him of the Committee's intention to draft him. January 14 was also the day the Senate Republicans met to elect the policy committee. About ten minutes after White had been shown into his office, Goldwater burst through the door and told White he had been removed from the policy committee.35 As White was about to launch into a discussion of delegate predictions, Goldwater stopped him and said he had no intention of running for president. White told Goldwater meekly, "Well, we thought we might have to draft you." At this Goldwater became incensed and said, "Draft nothin', I told you I'm not going to run. And I'm telling you now, don't paint me into a corner. It's my political neck and I intend to have something to say about what happens to it."
On the morning of February 18, 1963 the executive committee of Suite 3505 met in a conference room at the O'Hare Inn in Chicago.36 The main topic was how to persuade Goldwater to run. Soon it was apparent they had exhausted every option. An audible silence fell over the group, and then Bob Hughes stood up and declared, "There's only one thing we can do, let's draft the son of a bitch." When it was pointed out to Hughes that Goldwater would not let them draft him, Hughes simply said, "We'll draft him anyway, I mean really draft him." The Committee now approached a question they had sought to avoid: could they really force a man to run for the presidency? When they decided maybe they could, they were faced with a more difficult question: how to prevent Goldwater from condemning their organization? The most obvious means of preventing Goldwater's repudiation was to select a national chairman Goldwater could not rebuff without embarrassment. After some intense debate it was decided that Peter O'Donnell, the new state chairman in Texas, was the man for the job.
O'Donnell accepted the chairmanship on March 6 while making it quite clear that White would oversee the day-to-day operation of the draft committee. White and O'Donnell then met with William Middendorf, who had agreed to serve as the treasurer of the committee, and Stets Coleman to discuss the rounding out the leadership. White then traveled to Ohio to speak with Katharine Kennedy Brown, the national committeewoman and grande dame of Republican politics. Brown was flattered by White's offer to serve as chairwoman, but she felt a younger woman was needed for the job. With Brown's assistance, White was able to secure Ione Harrington, the national committeewoman from Indiana, to serve as chairwoman. Next the committee needed to recruit a secretary and Harrington suggested Judy Fernald, who readily accepted the chance to rejoin her friends from the Young Republicans.37
With the leadership for the Draft Goldwater Committee in place, it was decided to retain Suite 3505 as a base of operations in case Goldwater put a premature end to their efforts. With the plan to open a national office in Washington D.C. put on hold, White leased P.O. Box 1964 in Washington D.C. to give the group a Washington address. White and O'Donnell set April 8, 1963 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C. as the date and place to formally announce the formation of the Draft Goldwater Committee.
White and Bree also began to prepare their grassroots organization, the centerpiece of which were the draft Goldwater petitions. These petitions would be sent to individuals both outside and inside the Republican party. Volunteers would go out into their communities to explain why they supported Goldwater and would collect signatures. They would also ask petition signers to contribute one dollar to the Draft Goldwater campaign, thereby raising money and giving the signer a tangible relationship with the Draft Goldwater Committee. White also began to cultivate relationships with the other Goldwater organizations emerging around the country. The Goldwater for President Committee in Phoenix had some legitimacy because it was in Goldwater's home state. Led by John J. Kennedy, the group saw its mission as providing "the manpower and the operation to serve as a clearing house and central source of registering every Goldwater supporter affiliated with any group in the country." To ease this registration they had purchased an IBM data processing program and a Pitney Bowes high-speed mailing machine.
The Goldwater for President Committee had no plan to organize the groups they were registering. They believed the Goldwater movement "is and must remain a volunteer peoples' movement." To be granted a constitution, a Goldwater group had to submit "20 names on two petitions with a $2 donation for each signature, along with a slate of officers."38 The Citizens for Goldwater Committee was the only other national Draft Goldwater organization. Initiated by Peter and Polly Yarnell and based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the Citizens for Goldwater group issued petitions to people interested in supporting Goldwater. They did not, however, plan to create state or local Goldwater clubs or raise funds for the Goldwater primary campaign.39 It was absolutely necessary for White to persuade these other groups to recognize the Draft Goldwater Committee. The possibility of having multiple "official" Goldwater movements was potentially disastrous. White was unable to sway the Goldwater for President Committee to work with the Draft Goldwater Committee. But he was able to induce the Citizens for Goldwater to unite their petitions with the growing Draft Goldwater Committee lists.
The first public event for the Draft Goldwater Committee following its official announcement was the Republicans Women's Conference held in Washington D.C. the last week of April 1963. Judy Fernald and Rita Bree wanted to make a strong showing at the event, and had been planning for it long before the April 8 announcement. They planned to have a Draft Goldwater reception room to give Goldwater supporters at the conference tangible evidence of their committee's existence and give the committee a chance to build a relationship with these women. Over the course of the three-day conference, 1080 women signed their registry.
Soon after the ribbon was cut opening the National Draft Goldwater Committee office in Washington D.C., plans began to move forward with a July 4th rally. The rally would serve as the kickoff for the petition drive and as a means to show public support for Goldwater. The committee secured the National Armory as a location and hired Donald Shafto to plan and promote the rally. Senator John Tower of Texas, Congressman John Ashbrook, and Governor Paul Fannin of Arizona agreed to be speakers. The Committee also persuaded television actors Walter Brennan, William Lundigan, Chill Wills, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. to make appearances.
During a dress rehearsal on July 3, the empty seats and stifling heat in the Armory seemed an angry omen to the Goldwater faithful. As they were leaving the stage, White jokingly said if the weather broke the next day it would show "God was on our side," but no one laughed. The next morning a cool breeze was blowing up the Potomac Valley and a large morning crowd at the Draft Goldwater Open House eased fears about Rally attendance. Ione Harrington even stuck her head into White's office and told him his prayer had been answered.
After recognizing the leaders in the audience, O'Donnell introduced Paul Fannin, governor of Arizona. Next, speeches were given by Efrem Zimbalist, John Ashbrook, and Walter Brennan. Then F. Clifton White was introduced and a map of the United States with states forecasted to elect delegates for Goldwater was projected onto a large screen. In his remarks, White described the Draft Goldwater clubs around the country as "the first grassroots draft movement since George Washington was called by his fellow citizens to be our first president."
Next White pointed to the U.S. map projected on the screen.
We do not write off any state or any area. We know from our mail, our telephone calls and our Petitions, that Goldwater is popular throughout ALL of America. We knew this strength is going to grow and build. Let us examine, on a conservative basis, the electoral strength of Senator Goldwater….
White outlined the areas he felt would be strong for Goldwater and "on this conservative estimate, let us see what the total would be-301 [electoral votes] with 270 needed."40 White then introduced Judy Fernald, who gave a short report on the support Goldwater would receive from women. The last speaker of the evening was Senator John Tower. He described Goldwater as the consummate Republican, saying "We cannot deny the millions of Americans who want [a] genuine, clear-cut alternative to the Frontier power grab, vacillating, weak defense policy, and bankrupt fiscal policy."41
The Draft Goldwater Committee was riding high in the press and Goldwater continued to rise in the polls.42 The Rockefeller campaign recognized they had to react to this "emerging" support for Goldwater and re-affirm Rockefeller in the mind of Republican voters. To this end on July 14, Rockefeller issued his Bastille Day announcement, in which he attacked what he described as "the unprincipled extremism of the radical right." Pointing to the recent Young Republican convention, Rockefeller stated:
No one could fail to be deeply disturbed by the proceedings at the recent Young Republican national convention in San Francisco…. The proceedings there were dominated by extremist groups, carefully organized, well-financed, and operating through the tactics of ruthless, rough-shod intimidation.
No Republican can stand by idly in the face of this threat…. One must be either for or against these forces. The time for temporizing is over.
Rockefeller also demonstrated his disdain for a "sinister" plan which would have the Republican party "write off the Negro and other minority groups, and the big cities; and that it directs its appeal primarily to the electoral votes of the South, plus the West, and a scattering of other states."
After the success of the rally, the staff at the new Washington D.C. office began the difficult process of setting up viable Draft Goldwater Committees state by state. White had prepared a state chairman's organization manual which was titled Target: Nomination 1964.43 This manual, and its supplement for local committee chairman, was the culmination of White's experience in creating effective grassroots organizations. These manuals were "nuts and bolts" guides of how to put together an effective political organization. In the introduction to the state chairman's manual, White reiterated "this is not a general election campaignyou are participating in a drive for the Republican presidential nomination. Your primary responsibility is to build an organization in your state that will translate grassroots support into delegate strength for Goldwater." The manuals were divided into six sections covering the objectives of the Draft Goldwater Committee, how to organize a statewide committee, raising money, handling the media, grassroots activities, and starting local Goldwater Clubs. The manuals also contained detailed timelines for when state and local organizations should accomplish everything from writing letters to the editor to holding fundraising events.
The petition drive began to pick up as motivated "Committees of One" began to circulate. In Minneapolis, Marion Pritchard gathered 750 signatures and Lorriane Yerkes assembled 500 in Palm Beach, Florida. While in Ohio, Marion Livingston collected 500 signatures in Columbus and Margie Ross gathered 650 in Cincinnati. These signatures and addresses, along with the thousands more collected around the country, became the core for all subsequent finance and political mailings.44
Fundraising remained the Committee's greatest impediment. In late July, Frank J. Kovac agreed to become executive finance director of the Committee. Coming off three years as executive director of the Republican National Finance Committee, Kovac attempted to bring some discipline to the fundraising operation. Finding a limited major donor base, Kovac promoted small high dollar events; he also began a systematic direct mail program. In his first solicitation letter, Kovac stressed the urgency of collecting "a substantial fund which will allow for an effective, all out effort during the state preferential primaries and pre-convention period in 1964."45 Kovac also sent out "checks" to be made out by individuals and sent to the Republican National Committee, but redeemable only after Goldwater had announced his candidacy.46
The public relations committee also began producing campaign literature entitled "Barry Goldwater: The Republican Opportunity to WIN in 1964." One tri-fold pamphlet was aimed at swing voters and concentrated on the states projected to elect delegates for Goldwater. Under a map showing a delegate breakdown Goldwater was described as "A CLEAR-CUT CHOICE" because Goldwater personified "traditional Republican principles" and was not a me-too candidate. The pamphlet then described the committee's "Southern Strategy," asserting it was the "key to Republican success." Finally, the pamphlet portrayed the "Southern Strategy" as the only means for "building a truly national party." 47 The major piece of literature produced by the Draft Goldwater Committee was printed on 8" by 11" glossy paper. Aimed at the Republican party faithful, the basic premise of this piece was not to argue "Goldwater Can Win," but that the future of the Republican party lay with the nomination of Barry Goldwater. The pamphlet went on to describe how the committee was recruiting delegates at the grassroots level and gave a brief biography of each of the Draft Goldwater Committee officers.48
On July 28, 1963 the steering committee of the Draft Goldwater organization met for the first time and their task was to decide upon state Draft Goldwater chairmen.49 The committee had previously endorsed fourteen state chairmen, but had questionable individuals in charge in many other states. O'Donnell wanted to avoid endorsing any more state chairmen to allow high ranking Republicans a chance to make themselves known. White, conversely, wanted to move ahead with endorsing chairmen so the National Draft Committee could control pro-Goldwater activities in those states. By the end of July, the National Draft Goldwater Committee began to give out constitutions to local Draft Goldwater clubs; the plan the Clif White group had developed seemed to be coming to fruition. But unknown to the Draft Goldwater Committee, Barry Goldwater had set events into motion which would end the Draft Committee's involvement in the push for his nomination. The arrival of Denison Kitchel in Washington D.C. signaled the beginning of the end of the Draft Goldwater Committee.
Denison Kitchel, from Bronxville, New York had taken his law degree from Harvard. He migrated to Phoenix in 1934, and married into a copper mining family, eventually working at the law firm handling the family business. Kitchel became the general counsel to the Arizona Republican Party (although he had no real political background) and became good friends with Barry Goldwater. In the spring of 1963, Goldwater had begun to rethink his position as a noncandidate and asked Kitchel to come to Washington D.C. and open an office. Publicly this was to be the "Goldwater for Senate" office, but Goldwater wanted Kitchel in Washington to "keep his powder dry, and listen-to everybody. We'd take until the end of 1963 to evaluate the political situation."50 Both White and O'Donnell sensed what the opening of Kitchel's office in the Carroll Arms meant.51 Soon after his arrival in Washington, Kitchel's lack of political experience became obvious: he did not know elected officials or political operatives. In an effort to cement future political ties, White prepared a notebook with a picture and short biography of every important Republican who Kitchel was likely to meet. The tension between the Draft Goldwater Committee and Goldwater for Senate/President office intensified with the arrival of Dean Burch in Washington. Burch was to "take care of the housekeeping" at the Goldwater office, but his first act was to oversee the physical expansion of the Goldwater office. While Kitchel never physically visited the Draft Goldwater office, both White and O'Donnell kept him apprised of their actions and reports from the field.
By November 20, Goldwater was prepared to announce his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. The announcement was delayed when Goldwater's mother-in-law died and he flew to Indiana to attend the funeral. Then, on November 22, 1963 a single bullet changed the political climate in America, and Americans began to come to grips with the death of President Kennedy. Lyndon Baines Johnson took the oath of office with the former first lady looking on in a blood-stained dress. After the Kennedy assassination, all political bets were off. Every poll which showed Goldwater as the Republican front-runner, had Goldwater in a race against Kennedy. Even White's delegate projections were made with the assumption Goldwater would be facing Kennedy. When he learned of the assassination, Goldwater immediately made a decision not to seek the Republican nomination. Goldwater saw a campaign against his friend Kennedy as an opportunity to present conservatism to the American voters against an articulate liberal. Even Kennedy seemed eager for a meaningful race against Goldwater. Goldwater sensed that a race against LBJ would not be the grand philosophical contest he had hoped for with Kennedy. He was also aware that Johnson would cut into his southern support; and Johnson was considered much more conservative than Kennedy.52
Two weeks after the assassination, Goldwater held a meeting in his Washington apartment to announce his intention not to run. Present at the meeting were Senators Carl Curtis and Norris Cotton; former Senator William Knowland, now draft chairman in California; Denison Kitchel; Bill Baroody; and Jay Hall, a Washington lobbyist.53 When Goldwater announced that he would not run, everyone in the room was astounded. Norris Cotton took the offensive and argued the basic make up of the Democratic Party had not changed. He also pointed out the issues remained the same; and, too, Goldwater had a responsibility to the conservative movement. After extended conversations with his wife, Peggy, Goldwater took a private poll to assess where he stood after the assassination. When it showed he was still the Republican front-runner, his decision was almost made for him.
On December 11, Goldwater told Kitchel he was going to seek the nomination. Kitchel then contacted O'Donnell and White to inform them of Goldwater's decision; at the Draft Goldwater steering committee meeting that evening, the mood was bittersweet. The finance committee reported contributions had actually gone up after November 22 even though four major fundraisers had been canceled.54 By now, O'Donnell and White knew Kitchel would be Goldwater's campaign manager, and they were concerned that his lack of experience would become a large problem. O'Donnell eventually suggested they each contact Goldwater personally, and advised him to get experienced people to run his primary campaign. The committee had come to realize the price they had to pay for Goldwater's nomination was to accept whomever Goldwater appointed to leadership positions in the Goldwater for President Committee.55 The next morning, White and O'Donnell began the process of formally turning the Draft Goldwater Committee over to Kitchel's Goldwater for President Committee. O'Donnell had suggested the Draft Goldwater organization remain intact as an "Americans for Goldwater Committee" working in conjunction with the Goldwater for President Committee. But Kitchel and Goldwater had decided one organization would be more effective than two.
On December 18, 1963 White sent a memo to Kitchel and Jay Hall to inform them of the scope of the Draft Goldwater organization. He used the memo to not only lay out what the Draft Goldwater Committee had done, but what the Goldwater for President Committee needed to accomplish.56 White, O'Donnell, and Jay Hall spent the remainder of December determining how to transfer the Draft organization over to the Goldwater for President Committee. On January 2, White received a phone call from Kitchel, briefing him on Goldwater's formal announcement the next day. At the end of the conversation, Kitchel mentioned Richard Kleindienst would be his second in command. This announcement was a blow to White's ego: Kleindienst had no national political experience. White had continued to work under the assumption he would serve as campaign director, but now he was in the same situation as Peter O'Donnell-unsure if he had any place in the upcoming campaign. Goldwater's campaign leadership was now complete. Denison Kitchel would be the general director of the Goldwater for President committee with Dean Burch serving as assistant general director. Richard Kleindienst would act as a director of field activities, and Ann Eve Johnson would head up the women's division. This group came to be known as the "Arizona Mafia," and included no one from the Draft Goldwater committee.
In the early afternoon of January 3, 1964, Barry Goldwater formally declared himself a candidate for the presidency of the United States. Goldwater's announcement was greeted with champagne at the Draft Goldwater office, but mixed with the joy there was a feeling of dejection. Peter O'Donnell already knew he had no part to play in the coming election, and F. Clifton White was still unsure if he was to be included. O'Donnell presided over the final meeting of the Draft Goldwater Committee on January 12. The committee voted to disband in two days and turn the organization over to Kitchel. The next day, White and his staff moved from 1025 Connecticut Ave., to the Goldwater for President offices on second floor of the Duryea Building.
The nomination of Barry Goldwater in the summer of 1964 reflected the hard work of White and O'Donnell. The Draft Goldwater Committee had concentrated on states where state conventions selected most of the delegates through precinct-level caucuses. F. Clifton White recognized party control over these caucuses was weak, and this created an opportunity to organize conservatives by precinct, away from the eyes of the Eastern Establishment. More important, organizing at the precinct level could be accomplished by a small group with a minimal budget. The Draft Goldwater organization became "a mass campaign…which made its weight felt not in the public forums of politics but in its back rooms," the old-fashioned way.57
The organizational success of the Draft Goldwater Committee was dependant upon three factors. First was the structure of the Republican Party itself. The party apparatus provided a myriad of openings for conservatives to become politically involved in auxiliary organizations. The inherent instability of auxiliaries such as the Young Republicans, College Republicans, and The National Federation of Republican Women allowed conservatives to capture leadership positions in these organizations. Through the process of obtaining these leadership positions, conservatives were taught important lessons about practical and convention politics. F. Clifton White, William Rusher, John M. Ashbrook, all cut their political teeth in Young Republican politics. The Draft Goldwater committee itself was created by combining lists of former Young Republican operatives.
Second, the formula for delegate apportionment was another important part of the organizational success of the Draft Goldwater Committee. Delegates to the National Convention were apportioned by state population, with bonus delegates given to states which performed well in presidential year elections. This method of apportionment gave "conservative" Western states a disproportionate number of delegates and Republican National Committee members. From 1940-1960, delegate numbers from the Northeast had been cut from 32.2 percent to just 26.6 percent. Conversely, western and southern delegates had risen to 43.4 percent.58 When White and his regional coordinators began to recruit conservative delegates by precinct they had one important piece of information: how delegates had been selected in the past. White knew his plan to organize at the precinct level would be successful because it had worked before. In 1964, the battlefield was in the precincts, and the liberals in the Republican party never contested the Draft Goldwater Committee's efforts to organize at the local level.
Third, the physical act of organizing conservatives by precinct began a process that would fundamentally remake the Republican Party.59 In many areas of the country, the Republican party had functioned as a "phone-booth" party, existing simply to dole out patronage. This lack of party structure forced conservatives in these areas not to take over the Republican party, but to create it. When White recruited Luke Williams in 1963 to organize Washington state, there were committeemen in only 2,500 of the state's 5,500 precincts. By the beginning of 1964, Williams had filled these vacancies and Washington state sent 22 Goldwater delegates to the Republican national convention. The process was repeated in Alabama when John Grenier organized 64 of the state's 67 counties.60
By taking control of the Republicans, precinct by precinct, the actions of the Draft Goldwater Committee created a party that was now clearly conservative. But, this control created a fundamental tension between the conservative insurgency and its candidate. Conservative success required the ability to focus on the Goldwater persona created by The Conscience of a Conservative to entice conservatives into the regular party structure. But the Goldwaterism of the pre-nomination period did not reflect the Goldwaterism conservatives came to know in the general election, and the tensions of the Goldwater-controlled presidential campaign almost blew apart the conservative coalition.
The coalition held, however, and the conservatives F. Clifton White recruited remained in the Republican party structure after 1964. This created a circular effect, maintaining conservative dominance at both the local and national levels. Conservatives also gained a new spokesman, Ronald Reagan, who emerged after his nationally televised speech for Goldwater on October 27, 1964.61 The attempt of the Eastern Establishment to regain control of the nominating process in 1968 "demonstrated the utter failure of the Republican liberals' efforts to recapture the party.62 Whereas in 1960 Nixon had made a deal with Nelson Rockefeller to gain the nomination, in 1968 Nixon was forced to deal with Barry Goldwater, John Tower, and Strom Thurmond. Conservative leaders held the veto power over Nixon's vice-presidential nominee, and kept many southern delegates from bolting to Ronald Regan.63 Throughout Nixon's presidency, conservatives solidified their control of the Republican party, and some liberal Republicans drifted to the Democratic Party. This fundamental shift in party composition led America for the first time to have a liberal party with the Democrats and a conservative party in the Republicans.
It is, however, important not to ignore the Draft Goldwater Committee's relationship with the emerging conservative movement. There existed a symbiotic relationship between the act of organizing the Draft Goldwater Committee and the development of a coherent conservative ideology. However, if we were to draw a solid line between the realms of conservative political thought and political action, there existed no effective means to travel between the two in 1960. Or more clearly, there was no procedure for conservative idea brokers and conservative idea makers to interact. Through the editorial board of National Review, there was created a workable compromise between the anti-communists, traditionalists, and libertarians. While these writers promulgated many ideas, they lacked the means to launch these ideas into the national political arena. Conversely, F. Clifton White had organized conservatives in the political arena, but he lacked the ideas needed to take the next step into the Republican party structure. The words of Barry Goldwater in The Conscience of a Conservative seemed to offer the polemical and political bridge conservatives had been lacking. Before The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater was a senator from a small western state with an outside chance at the Vice Presidency. But after The Conscience of a Conservative, Goldwater became "the political heir to Taft and McCarthy, the hope of disgruntled Republicans, …the national spokesman of a national political movement.64 Goldwater by himself, however, lacked the ability to unite conservative thought and action into a presidential campaign.
It was William Rusher, in his capacity as the publisher of National Review and organizer of the Draft Goldwater Committee, that this wall was breached; Rusher became the conduit through which conservative thought and action were finally united. In the end, it is William Rusher who develops into the most important figure in the conservative take-over of the Republican party. The lasting importance of the Draft Goldwater Committee to the conservative movement was not simply that conservatives now occupied key leadership positions within the Republican party. The modern American conservative think tanks (i.e., the American Conservative Union, and the Heritage Foundation) were built with the "Goldwater lists." These lists, collected from the draft Goldwater petitions and the Citizens for Goldwater-Miller, contained the names and addresses of thousands of people who were willing to give time and money to advance the conservative movement. By soliciting the Goldwater lists via direct mail and receiving fifty and one hundred dollar gifts, the ACU was able to set up shop and give conservatives a home outside the Republican party. The ACU's ability to raise money in this manner also fundamentally changed the method of political fundraising. Until this point, candidates from both parties had relied on large donors and party officials to fill their coffers. Now candidates could appeal directly to large numbers of voters and raise funds independently of party control.65
This leaves the $64,000 question, or perhaps the $682,880.30 question: did the activities of the Draft Goldwater Committee persuade Goldwater to run, or would Goldwater have sought the Republican nomination without the Draft Committee's existence? Rather than frame the question in this way, let us step back and ask simply what each side (Goldwater himself and the leaders of the Draft) had to gain from a Goldwater nomination. Could it not be that Goldwater was using the leaders of the Draft Committee for his own ends, just as much as the leaders of the Draft Committee were using Goldwater to theirs? Conservatives in the Republican party needed a presidential candidate for their insurgency attempt, and Goldwater was the only candidate with the necessary stature. After the Kennedy assassination Goldwater was presented with a national political and fundraising organization with $228,259.39 in its bank account, all pledged for his usean attractive proposition for any politician. The Draft Goldwater Committee did not so much persuade Goldwater to run as make him a deal he could not refuse.
The goal Rusher, White, and Ashbrook had set before themselves in 1961 was reached with the nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964. The Republican party was now controlled by conservatives. The Draft Goldwater movement became the political and intellectual bridge between the "old" conservatism of Robert Taft and the "new" conservatism of Ronald Reagan. Goldwater even in defeat, was the means to that end.
Jay Hartz is a former Ashbrook Scholar. This essay is reprinted with the permission of Continuity: A Journal of History, published by the Center for the American Idea.
1. The meaning and ramifications of the "extremism" phrase have caused much debate. It had been thought Karl Hess was the author of the speech and the extremism phrase had been suggested by Harry Jaffa, a professor of political science at Claremont College. In a letter to F. Clifton White, Jaffa attempts to clear up the confusion about both the authorship of the acceptance speech and the origin of the extremism phrase.
Jaffa points out Hess had written the draft of a speech "which no one liked." When Goldwater made it known he wanted the extremism phrase worked into the middle of the speech, it was recommended that the author of the phrase "might know best how to produce the beginning and the ending!" Warren Nutter was to assist Jaffa, but Jaffa maintains "it was my work from beginning to end."
As for the "extremism phrase," the "famous couplet was not from Burke, Cicero, or any one else." It is in fact a passage from Thomas Paine's Rights of Man: "A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice." Jaffa goes on to write, "Neither I nor Aristotle could have said it any better." Letter to F. Clifton White from Harry V. Jaffa, August 16, 1992, papers of F. Clifton White, Box 9, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
2. Professor Alan Brinkley argues in his essay "The Problem of American Conservatism," American Historical Review, 49 (April 1994), 409, "that in the twentieth century American Conservatism has been something of an orphan in historical scholarship." This essay, then, is a response to Brinkley's call for expanded scholarship on the development of American conservatism.Return to text.
3. In The Paranoid Style in American Politics, Richard Hofstadter attempts to link pseudo-conservatism and status politics. Hofstadter claims to trace pseudo-conservatism back to the American Revolution; he then shows how this development has influenced American political history. It was Hofstadter's contention that the only way to understand the place of pseudo-conservatism in the American experience was to develop the idea that there is a "paranoid style" of politics-a "belief not that there are conspiracies in history, but that conspiracy is the motive force in historical events."
Hofstadter makes it clear he is not using 'paranoid' in the clinical sense. Instead he is attempting to create a historical meaning for the term to describe individuals with whom "the feeling of persecution is central." It was when Hofstadter turned his attention to the Goldwater movement in the chapter "Goldwater and Pseudo-conservative Politics" that he fully develops his theory of the paranoid style in politics.
Hofstadter pointed to Goldwater as the ultimate pseudo-conservative. He asked how any man "whose entire political career was spent urging a sharp break with the past, whose great moment as a party leader was marked by a repudiation of our traditional political ways," could be considered a conservative? Goldwater's rhetoric was, then, not truly conservative, but constructed to elicit responses from individuals receptive to the paranoid style. See Richard Hofstadter, "Goldwater and Pseudo-conservative Politics," in The Paranoid Style in American Politics (New York, 1965).
For two very good examinations on the scholarship of twentieth-century American conservatism see: Jerome Himmelstein, To the Right (Berkeley, Calif., 1990); and William B. Hixson, Jr., The Search for the American Right Wing (Princeton, N.J., 1992).Return to text.
4. The best examinations of the Draft Goldwater Committee are: David W. Reinhard, The Republican Right Since 1945 (Lexington, 1983); Nicole C. Rae, The Decline and Fall of Liberal Republicans from 1952 to the Present (New York, 1989).Return to text.
5. For an excellent overview of recent scholarship that seeks to view conservatism in its historical context, see Leo Ribbuffo, "Why is There So Much Conservatism in the United States and Why Do So Few Historians Know Anything About It?" American Historical Review 99 (April 1994). Return to text.
6. For a detailed account of how The Conscience of a Conservative came into being see Lee Edwards's Chapter "Conscience of a Conservative" in Goldwater: The Man Who Made A Revolution (Washington, D.C., 1995). Return to text.
7. The initial run of The Conscience of a Conservative had been published privately by Clarence Manion, a former dean of the Notre Dame's school of law. By 1964, The Conscience of a Conservative had sold 3,500,000 copies. Return to text.
8. For discussions on the development of the conservative intellectual movement, see George Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945 (New York, 1979); Michael Miles, The Odyssey of the American Right (New York, 1980); Paul Gottfried and Thomas Fleming, The Conservative Movement (Boston, 1988); Patrick Allitt, Catholic Intellectuals and Conservative Politics in America, 1950-1985 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1993). Return to text.
9. For an excellent contemporary study of these Republican-leaning conservative groups see: M. Stanton Evans, Revolt on the Campus (New York, 1961). Return to text.
10. Goldwater created a national fad in underwear by having ants painted on men's boxer shorts and calling them "antsy pants." Return to text.
11. The Eisenhower that emerged after the 1952 elections forced conservatives to sharpen their perceptions of themselves, and to understand their own limitations. The debate between Eisenhower and conservatives came over the president's unwillingness to dismantle the New Deal and Fair Deal programs of FDR and Truman. The death of Senator Robert Taft ended any hope of compromise between conservatives and Eisenhower, and the president came to embrace the corporate style management he had learned in the military. The core of Eisenhower's social program was to bring the American people to what he considered a legitimate center. Eisenhower would attempt to bring this center to the Republican party in what would come to be known as "Modern Republicanism." Conservatives saw "Modern Republicanism" as an attempt to make the Republican party look as much as possible like the Democratic party. The programs of the Eisenhower administration caused a shift in the deep structure of conservatism, not by conservatives opposing specific programs, but by obscuring if not protecting the ideological shift from the pragmatic "Taft conservatism" to the new "Goldwater conservatism." For excellent overviews of this tension between conservatives and Eisenhower, see Alonzo L. Hamby, Liberalism and Its Challengers (New York, 1992); William E. Leuchtenburg, In the Shadow of FDR (Ithaca, N.Y., 1983); Gary W. Reichard, The Reaffirmation of Republicanism: Eisenhower and the Eighty-Third Congress (Knoxville, 1975); and Herbert S. Parmet, Eisenhower and the American Crusades (New York, 1972). Return to text.
12. Stephen Shadegg, What Happened to Goldwater? (New York, 1965), 5. Return to text.
13. Time, June 21, 1961. Return to text.
14. Before the 1960 Republican national convention, South Carolina and Arizona had pledged their delegates to Goldwater. After the news of the Nixon-Rockefeller deal was released, Goldwater allowed the leaders of the South Carolina and Arizona delegations to see what kind of support they could secure. When early reports of 287 delegates turned out to be false, Goldwater released the delegations of their commitment to him; the South Carolina delegation, however, finally persuaded Goldwater to allow himself to be nominated. Return to text.
After Goldwater's nomination by Governor Paul Fannin of Arizona, a large floor demonstration took place, and the first "Americans for Goldwater" and "Goldwater for President" signs appeared. Goldwater mounted the podium and gave the speech which was to establish himself as the national spokesman for conservative Republicans. He told his supporters at the Convention and around the country: "We had our chance, and I think the conservatives have made a splendid show at the convention…. Let's grow up conservatives. Let's, if we want to, take this party backand I think we can someday. Let's get to work."
15. My history of the Draft Goldwater organization relies heavily on F. Clifton White, Suite 3505: The Story of the Draft Goldwater Movement (Ashland, Ohio, 1993), and discussions with William Rusher. Also see Theodore H. White, The Making of a President, 1964 (New York, 1965). Return to text.
16. F. Clifton White, C-Span interview on "History of Republican National Conventions," April 21, 1992. For a more detailed description of White's political and business career see his biography, Politics as a Noble Calling (Ottawa, Ill., 1994). Return to text.
17. For a more detailed description of Rusher's political and business career see William Rusher, The Rise of the Right (New York, 1984) and Jay D. Hartz, "The Creation of an American Political Movement" (M.A. thesis, Villanova University, 1996). 54-55. Return to text.
18. Randy McNutt, No Left Turns (Fairfield, Ohio, 1986), vii. Return to text.
19. White, Suite 3505, 23. Return to text.
20. The Young Republican (YR) faction that White, Rusher, and Ashbrook controlled was known as "The Syndicate," a term originally coined by those opposing the White-Rusher-Ashbrook faction, but eventually adopted by them. So strong was this faction within the Young Republicans, White and Rusher were able to pick the national YR chairman from 1949 to 1959. The election of John Ashbrook as national chairman in 1957 ushered in a new era in YR politics. The ability to elect a chairman without the support of eastern states gave conservatives a chance to legitimize themselves in the Republican party. Control of the YR organization also gave conservatives a forum for their views and the means to train operatives in practical politics. See Hartz, "The Creation," 28-35. Return to text.
21. White, Suite 3505, 23. Return to text.
22. Letter from Frank Whetstone to Jay D. Hartz, May 30, 1994. See also letters to Jay D. Hartz from Speed Reavis, Jr. and Gregg Shorey cited in Hartz, "The Creation." Return to text.
23. Rusher, Rise of the Right (New York, 1984), 101-02; see also White, Suite 3505, 29-30. Return to text.
24. White, Suite 3505, 31-33. Return to text.
25. By now the Republican "Old Guard" was another name for the Eastern Establishment; before it had described "Taft Republicans." Return to text.
26. White would later describe the plan as "a formal and systematic organizational program. The organization developed with the objective of electing delegates in the respective states in 1964. This involved (1) familiarity with the statutes, by-laws and customs of delegate selections in each of the states, and 2) locating the people who could do this. This meant determination of existing and regular party officials who would be favorably predisposed in our direction, and how to overcome and neutralize those who would be opposed to us." See F. Clifton White to William Gill, June 9, 1965, Box 4, Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
27. Rita Bree would later remember, "I was the first woman in the country to be involved in this conservative movement. I attended the 'secret' meetings, was privy on a day-to-day basis to all activities…" Rita Bree to John D. Hartz, January 5, 1995. Two interesting books that do not touch directly on the involvement of women in the Draft Goldwater Committee are Rebecca E. Klatch's Women of the New Right (Philadelphia, 1987) and Susan M. Yohn's "Will the Real Conservative Please Stand Up?" American Historical Review 99 (April 1994). Return to text.
28. "Rules adopted by the Republican National Committee," at a meeting held in Chicago, Illinois, July 25, 1960. This pamphlet was published by the Republican national committee. Return to text.
29. See Monthly Financial Summary for June, Box 4, Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
30. Bunny White didn't give a second thought about letting her husband use the family funds to keep the office open. She knew how important his work was to him and she was more than willing to make any necessary sacrifices. Jay D. Hartz, phone interview with Bunny White, February 24, 1995. Return to text.
31. Reichard, Reaffirmation of Republicanism 169. Return to text.
32. Michael Barone, Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan (New York, 1990), 348. Return to text.
33. Ibid., 349. Return to text.
34. White, Suite 3505, 84-85. Return to text.
35. This move had been engineered by Senator Jacob Javits from New York. Javits had also been successful in getting Goldwater removed from the Senate republican Campaign Committee in 1960. Return to text.
36. The executive committee now consisted of F. Clifton White, William Rusher, John Ashbrook, Charlie Barr, Frank Whetstone, Robert Mathews, Robert Hughes, Tad Smith, Peter O'Donnell, and Andrew Carter. Return to text.
37. All of these women had taken part in the conservative "takeover" of the National Federation of Republican Women in 1962. Return to text.
38. Letter to Polly A. Yarnell from John J. Kennedy, September 23, 1963, Box 7, Papers of F. Clifton White, Cornell University Archives, Ithaca, N.Y. Return to text.
39. The Citizens for Goldwater group would eventually submit Barry Goldwater an expense account for $31,114.07 for 1963. A salary request was not included in the report. See Box 7, Papers of Clifton F. White, Cornell University Archives, Ithaca, N.Y. Barry Goldwater did not endorse the efforts of either the Goldwater for President or the Citizens for Goldwater organizations. Both of the groups would eventually be absorbed into the Draft Goldwater organization. Return to text.
40. "Excerpts of Remarks Made by F. Clifton White," July 4, 1963, National Guard Armory, Washington D.C., Box 3 (Red Binder), Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
41. "Washington Rally Opens Campaign to Draft Senator Goldwater for G.O.P. President," The New York Times, July 5, 1963. Return to text.
42. Barone, Our Country, 347. Return to text.
43. "Target: Nomination, 1964, Goldwater State Chairman's Organization Manual," and "1964 Blueprint for Victory, Chairman's Organizational Hand Book," Box 1, Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
44. White, Suite 3505, 126-27. Return to text.
45. National Draft Goldwater Committee direct solicitation letter, July 1963, Box 2, Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
46. "Declaration of Support to the National Draft Goldwater Movement," Box 2, Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
47. "Barry Goldwater: The Republican Opportunity to WIN in 1964," trifold pamphlet, Box 2, Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
48. "Barry Goldwater: The Republican Opportunity to WIN in 1964," blue pamphlet, Box 10, Papers of Clifton F. White, Cornell University Archives. Return to text.
49. The Steering Committee was made up of the officers of the Draft Committee as well as William Rusher, John Tower, John Rhodes, John Ashbrook, Arthur Wesley, Charles Barr, Stets Coleman, and Jeremiah Milbank. Return to text.
50. Barry Goldwater, Goldwater (New York, 1988), 146. Return to text.
51. Barone, Our Country, 370. Return to text.
52. Goldwater, Goldwater, 148-49. Return to text.
53. Ibid., 151. Return to text.
54. William Middendorf filed a finance report on December 6, 1963, his first anniversary as treasurer:
Total receipts through November 30, 1963 in this 12 month period have been $682,880.30…. Total contributions to date have been $567,742.80; petitions have produced $79,553.15 and materials have produced $35,584.35. The cost of distributing material is a loss leader, but this is one area where we should not attempt to break even or even make a profit. Of course since the recognition factor is probably the single most important thing that will elect Barry Goldwater.
Total disbursements for the twelve months to date on November 30, 1963 was $454,620.91.39.... Cash balance on November 20, 1963 was $228,259.39. See Memorandum to Peter O'Donnell from J. William Middendorf, December 6, 1963, Box 10, Papers of F. Clifton White, Cornell University Archives. Return to text.
55. One example of this is Ione Harrington's experience shortly after Goldwater began to assemble his campaign team. She met with Goldwater to inform him of the women's division plan. Goldwater thanked her for the suggestions, but informed her Ann Eve Johnson would be heading up the women's committee. Return to text.
56. Memorandum to Jay Hall and Denison Kitchel from F. Clifton White, December 18, 1963, Box 5, Papers of F. Clifton White, Ashland University Archives. Return to text.
57. Gerald Pomper, Nominating the President: The Politics of Convention Choice (New York, 1966), 273. Return to text.
58. Rae, Decline and Fall, 68. Return to text.
59. Himmelstein, To The Right, 109. Return to text.
60. Louis M. Seagull, Southern Republicanism, (New York, 1975), 89. Return to text.
61. Ronald Reagan, "Televised Nationwide Address on Behalf of Senator Barry Goldwater," in Speaking My Mind (New York, 1989). To many conservatives this has become known as "the speech." See George Will's description of Reagan's speech, "Fingernails Across the Blackboard," Newsweek, October 31, 1994, 72. Return to text.
62. Busch, "In Defense of the Mixed System," 537. Return to text.
63. Barry Goldwater, With No Apologies (New York, 1979), 212-13. Return to text.
64. Edwards, Goldwater, 121. Return to text.
65. Philip A. Klinkner, The Losing Parties: Out-Party National Committees, 1956-1993 (New Haven, Conn., 1994), 62-63; James W. Caesar, "Political Parties," in Anthony King, ed., The New American Political System (Washington, D.C., 1990), 104. Return to text.