Republicans: Salesman for a Cause

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Still, when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1952, Goldwater seemed a hopeless underdog. His Democratic opponent was none other than Ernest McFarland, the prestigious Senate majority leader under President Harry Truman. Goldwater plane-hopped across the state in his Beechcraft. While McFarland stood foursquare behind the Truman record, Goldwater flatly declared himself a conservative, denounced "waste and wild experiments in government." It was a stand that appealed to the pioneer land's traditional distrust of Washington. Burma-Shave-style highway signs set his theme:

Mac is for Harry

Harry's all through

You be for Barry

'Cause Barry's for you.

Near the end of the campaign, Republican Presidential Candidate Dwight Eisenhower whistle-stopped through Arizona; Barry had pictures of himself and Ike plastered across the state. When Election Day came, Goldwater defeated McFarland, 132,000 to 125,000, while Ike's plurality was 43,000. Goldwater is frank to admit that he was "the greatest coattail rider in the business."

Hail-Fellow Hierarchy. In the Senate, Goldwater's breezy charm brought him quick entrance to "The Club"—the hail-fellow hierarchy of off-hours friends who actually govern the Senate. Senate Republican leaders gave Barry coveted assignments to the Interior and Labor committees. In 1955, they handed him one of the toughest jobs of all: running the Republican Senate Campaign Committee.

In that post, Barry Goldwater, the loyal party man, dispensed G.O.P. funds to liberal and conservative Republican candidates with evenhanded justice. But on the travels required by the job, he also discovered, while talking and listening to party groups, how much his own frontier brand of conservatism was shared by others. From the trips, he also became convinced that the G.O.P. had neglected its grass roots, and that Dwight Eisenhower's effort to shape a "modern Republicanism" was going over poorly with the Taft conservatives who formed the party's hardcore strength. Goldwater was at least partly right: in 1956, Ike won a sweeping personal victory and a second term, but the G.O.P., saddled with a platform that echoed Democratic spending promises, failed to win either the Senate or the House.

Goldwater swallowed his growing distrust of the G.O.P.'s search for a new look as long as he could. Then, on April 8, 1957, he stood up in a nearly empty Senate chamber to denounce Ike's betrayal of conservative Republican principles. It was, he says, the "hardest thing I ever did." The President's $71.8 billion budget, he cried, "subverts the American economy because it is based on high taxes, the largest deficit in history, and the consequent dissipation of the freedom and initiative and genius of our people."

It was after that open break with the Eisenhower doctrine—the brief personal estrangement of the two men has long since been healed—that Barry Goldwater actively began to mark out his own conservative path. Always denying that he is inflexible, always insisting that he merely wants to apply the most valuable lessons of the past to the lessons of the future, Goldwater has taken a stand, at one time or another, on almost every issue that confronts the U.S. Among them:

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