As carefully and deliberately as an architect planning a skyscraper, the Republican Convention drew its 1964 platform design to the political and philosophical specifications of Barry Goldwater.

The Platform Committee was chaired by Wisconsin's Representative Melvin Laird, himself an unannounced Goldwater backer. It struck out against costly, deficit-creating federal paternalism in a way that went well beyond the 1960 Republican platform. It approved a platform of conservatism in the word's dictionary sense, promising tightfisted fiscal policy, deploring pervasive federal influence, and urging local action to deal with local problems. Foreign-policy planks have a...

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