THE GOLDWATER CAPER by Richard H. Rovere


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After the fact, and as a final (but surely not the final) windup of Barry Gold-water's rise and fall, come these incisive pieces written by The New Yorker's man-about-politics and resident liberal, Richard Rovere. Reporter Rovere is obviously fascinated with his subject (to wit: ""Either someone is lying or there are two Barry Goldwaters. I believe the second explanation explains more""). he picks up at the Cow Palace in July 1960 when Goldwater wanted to replace the Republican platform with a ""declaration of principles,"" looks back to his background as businessman and Senator (he squeaked through with a 7000 plurality to Eisenhower's 42,000), carries him through the campaign and dumps him unceremoniously, hoisted by his own petard (""Why not victory?"") after the November 1964 debacle. By the way, he does in Barry's ghost, Shadegg, and Barry's manner of writing a book, assesses the conscience of a conservative, weighs the politician's progress. For his campaign procedures he has only awe: ""The whole enterprise has the air not of a great political campaign but of a great political caper -- a series of pranks and calculated errors. Unless all the rules have been suspended for this year, unless Barry Goldwater knows something that the Republican leaders in New York and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Illinois and Ohio and even Georgia and Florida and Texas do not know, the entire strategy is a joke."" But the phenomenon of BG pales in comparison with that of LBJ, caught forever in a campaign close-up ""with four hands in his right one and another four in his left."" Perspicacious and funny to boot.

Pub Date: March 10th, 1965
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World