Thinking with the Heart
From MURRAY KFMPTON
VERY1HING Senator Goldwater has done Eisince his nomination seems as deliberate a violation of the rules for political success in the United States as was the course he followed to- ward his conquest of the Republican Party.
These are, by tradition, the weeks after any political convention when the victor binds up his victims and together they lift the banner of a united party for the larger struggle. As candi- date, Senator Goldwater would appear to have a special need to show such graces, large and small. The Republican Parties of New York and Pennsylvania are as majestic at home as they were puny in San Francisco. Both New York and Pennsylvania are unitedly apathetic, and it is well known that California is divided. No can- didate for President has ever hoped for election without making a genuine fight in these great States. Goldwater begins behind in all three; the support of every substantial Republican would not be enough there if he had it, but, without it, it is hard to see how he can begin to fight.
Yet the moderate Republicans remain un- appeased and, by every post-convention sign, Goldwater prefers to see them stay that way. He salts wounds which any other politician would salve. He did not merely occupy the Republican National Committee's headquarters, a normal privilege of victors, but put it to the sack. Pro- fessionals who had lived comfortably through every change of guard from Dewey through Taft to Eisenhower through Nixon are being driven out, each to be replaced by a Goldwaterite who can be trusted to burn in the night.
The symbol of the new Republican Party is John Grenier, its new thirty-three-year-old execu- tive director. Grenier is chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, which has not elected a State office-holder or carried Alabama for a Republi- can Presidential candidate since 1880. Grenier comes to national responsibility after having or- ganised a new Alabama Republican Party, its re- birth solemnised by the liquidation of its few surviving Negro officials and its principles set firmly in that dark tradition through which the Southern Democrats held regional power for so long.
Goldwater still plans to hold the 'summit' con- ference with Republicans like Scranton, Rocke- feller and Eisenhower which he announced during the California primary, and Governor Scranton will serve as host. But the impetus for that meeting seems to have come more from the moderates than Goldwater himself. His cold- ness to the usual rituals of post-convention
pacification comes, it seems plain, both from head and heart. His head tells him that the last national candidate to win a campaign which nobody expected him to win was President Truman in 1948. The further in trouble Mr. Truman got, the more passionate he became. The professional Democrats had already given him up for dead; he therefore made his appeal to the committed amateurs—Democrats who had neither forgotten Franklin D. Roosevelt nor for- given Herbert Hoover. Mr. Truman's appeal was the opposite of moderation; he aimed at class fears and old partisan rancours; and he aroused those activists who truly hated Republicans. His posture and his tactics were successful then; Senator Goldwater obviously calculates to try them upside-down this time. Mr. Truman was, of course, running against Herbert Hoover, which had worked since 1932; Senator Goldwater plainly intends to run against Franklin D. Roose- velt, which has never worked. Mr. Truman was President and the representative of the party which had ruled the United States for sixteen years; Mr. Goldwater only wants to be President and his party holds barely a third of the seats in the United States Senate.
The comparison, then, is not especially en- couraging to Goldwater, but the example ob- viously enchants him. He will run his campaign Mr. Truman's way, and he will depend, in that spirit, on the truly committed activists. Part of the Barry Goldwater who is so reluctant to condemn the John Birch Society is a tactician; he needs these people to ring doorbells and bully the indifferent and to fill this summer and fall with the ceaseless clamour of dedication and hysteria any underdog campaign has to have.
But the Birch types also touch Barry Gold- water's heart. His is a nature to spit the lukewarm out of his mouth. He will not make a peace with the Republican moderates in substantial part because he does not like them. He used to seem a casual, amiable man, while his followers were, as a class, obsessed and hostile. Yet they found in him something the rest of us missed: Barry Goldwater has a fanatic heart. The horrid savagery which his galleries visited upon Nelson Rockefeller in San Francisco came from people who hate Rockefeller more than they do any living Democrat. And Goldwater seems to share that feeling, if not to the same personal inten- sity, at least in accepting the theory behind it.
He has said nothing significant since his nomination and his acceptance speech, with its dictum: 'I would remind you that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice. And modera- tion in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.'
When Karl Hess, his speech-writer, brought him the acceptance draft, Goldwater is reported to have read it with approval but no visible ex- citement until he came to the paragraph in favour of extremism. 'I like that,' he is said to have exclaimed then; and, in deference to his taste, those two sentences were the only ones underlined for emphasis in the mimeographed copy dis- tributed in advance to the journalists. He knew his audience; his galleries gave these words their loudest ovation of the evening; his opponents gave them their heaviest silence.
In that moment Senator Goldwater had suc- ceeded in comforting those he comforts and dis- turbing those he disturbs. That, one thinks, is what he wanted to do then and still wants to do. And it was notable that he managed this subtle objective with a sentence which cannot really be said to mean anything at all. At the very least, when a man says that 'extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice,' we would have to know what images come to his mind when he counsels 'extremism' and invokes 'liberty.' In responding, we would also need to ktiow what those images mean to us. Someone has already said that this year we will endure our first subliminal cam- paign, and, in this case, Goldwater has offered us a prototype of who knows how many sentences which call from the half-conscious of the speaker to the half-conscious of the auditor.
For we engage, in Mr. Goldwater, a mind with small inclination for learning what it does not already know and an absolute disinclination to say what it does not itself want to hear. Its desire is not to explore, but to respond. The mind has been dismissed as superficial. On the contrary, it is one of the more elemental in our political experiences; it moves not on its surface, but in its deeps. One does not convey an idea to the head; one strikes a chord in the interior.
Orthodox opinion in the United States has until now dismissed Senator Goldwater with affection as a rather comic figure; there is nothing quite so terrifying as the comic figure who sud- denly turns and enforces upon you your duty to take him seriously. When the comic insists, the comic is fearsome. The Senator's words, oddly enough, are more reasonable than they used to be; it is the tune that suddenly disturbs. Not long ago, Goldwater was urging us to scrap the United Nations and managing to seem rather a pleasant man; now the words say, and mean, that we must depend on the United Nations, but the whole tone is suddenly harsh and unpleasant. Inside the Republican Party, we remember his grace towards his enemies when they defeated him; now we confront his contempt for his enemies when he has beaten them.