Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Relevant for today: "Grow Up, Conservatives" Speech

Barry Goldwater delivered this speech at the 1960 Republican National Convention to announce his decision to withdraw his name from consideration for the party's nomination. During the speech, Goldwater blamed the Republican's recent electoral losses on conservatives who decided not to vote because they disagreed with the positions of individual candidates. Goldwater, who led the party's conservative wing, attempted to rally Republican support around Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 election to present a unified front to the Democrats.


"Grow Up, Conservatives" Speech (1960)

By Barry Goldwater

July 28, 1960

Mr. Chairman, delegates to the convention and fellow Republicans:

I respectfully ask the chairman to withdraw my name from nomination. Please, I release my delegation from their pledge to me and, while I'm not a delegate, I would suggest that they give these votes to Richard Nixon.

Now, Mr. Chairman, with your kind permission and indulgence, as a conservative Republican I would like to make a few statements that will not take more than a few moments, and I think might help in this coming election.

We are conservatives. This great Republican party is our historic house. This is our home. Now some of us don't agree with every statement in the official platform of our party, but I might remind you that this is always true in every platform of an American political party.

Both of the great historic parties represent a broad spectrum of views spread over a variety of individual and group convictions. Never are all of these views expressed totally and exclusively in the platform of either party.

We can be absolutely certain of one thing. In spite of the individual points of difference the Republican platform deserves the support of every American over the blueprint for socialism presented by the Democrats.

Over the years, however, it is clear what the historic position of both the great parties has been. There has been a real difference over-all in the two great parties.

I might suggest to you that during the past thirty years it is true beyond any doubt that those with more radical views have felt more at home in the Democratic party, while those with strong historic beliefs have felt more at home in the Republican party.

The same condition prevails today. Yet if each segment, each section of our great party, were to insist on the complete and unqualified acceptance of its views, if each viewpoint were to be enforced by a Russian-type veto, the Republican party would not long survive.

There are tides of sentiment, tides of belief, that rise and fall inside the party. And under these changes in emphasis the basic core convictions of the party endure from generation to generation.
Now radical Democrats who rightfully fear that the American people will reject their extreme program in November are watching this convention with eager hopes that some split may occur in our party.

I am telling them now that no such split will take place.

This very morning the press carried a story that the nominee for the Vice-Presidency on the Democratic ticket was speaking hopefully of a split in the Republican party. Let him know that the conservatives of the Republican party do not intend by any act of theirs to turn this country over by default to a party which has lost its belief in the dignity of man, a party which has come to believe that the United States is a second-rate power.

I am proud to call myself a Republican as well as conservative. And let me tell you something and let me remind the members of the press who might think otherwise:
I've been campaigning across this country for six years for Richard Nixon. And I see no reason to change my mind tonight.

Now you conservatives and all Republicans, I'd like you to listen to this. While Dick and I may disagree on some points, they're not many. I would not want any negative action of mine to enhance the possibility of a victory going to those who by their very words have lost faith in America.
I know that conservatives here and in November will show the strong sense of responsibility which is a central characteristic of the conservative temper.

We must remember that Republicans have not been losing elections because of more Democrat votes—now get this—we have been losing elections because conservatives too often fail to vote.

Why is this? And you conservatives think this over—we don't gain anything when you get mad at a candidate because you don't agree with his every philosophy. We don't gain anything when you disagree with the platform and then do not go out and work and vote for your party.

I know what you say. You say, "I'll get even with that fellow. I'll show this party something!" But what are you doing when you stay at home? You are helping the opposition party elect candidates dedicated to the destruction of this country!

We have lost election after election in this country in the last several years because conservative Republicans get mad and stay home. Now I implore you. Forget it! We've had our chance, and I think the conservatives have made a splendid showing at this convention!

We've had our chance: we've fought our battle. Now let's put our shoulders to the wheels of Dick Nixon and push him across the line. Let's not stand back. This country is too important for anyone's feelings: this country in its majesty is too great for any man, be he conservative or liberal, to stay home and not work just because he doesn't agree. Let's grow up, conservatives.

Let's, if we want to take this party back—and I think we can someday—let's get to work.
I'm a conservative and I'm going to devote all my time from now until November to electing Republicans from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ticket, and I call upon my fellow conservatives to do the same. Just let us remember that we are facing Democrat candidates and a Democrat platform that signify a new type of New Deal, far more menacing than anything we have seen in the past.

Just remember this: The Democratic party is no longer the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Woodrow Wilson; it is now the party of Bowles, Galbraith, and Walter Reuther.

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