A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement

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9780465045730: A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's Presidential Campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement

The 1964 presidential campaign lives on in conservative circles as an origin myth for the modern conservative movement. Even though their preferred (and now revered) candidate lost to Lyndon B. Johnson by a landslide, Barry Goldwater's failed presidential run was a major turning point of the twentieth century. Without Goldwater's philosophy to pave the way--and, just as importantly, without the strategic and political infrastructure created by the "Draft Goldwater" movement that preceded it--there likely would have been no Reagan or Bush administrations, and possibly no Nixon administration either. The policy positions and electoral strategies of the Goldwater campaign became standard tenets of Republican politics. William Middendorf had better than a ringside seat for this pivotal campaign. A key member of the "Draft Goldwater" movement as early as 1962, he was Goldwater's campaign treasurer and, afterwards, a major force within the Republican Party. No one knows the real inside story better, and A Glorious Disaster tells that story in all its rollicking, agonizing, and never-before-published detail.

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About the Author:

J. William Middendorf II served in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations as Secretary of the Navy, Ambassador to The Netherlands, U.S. Representative to the Organization of American States, and U.S. Representative to the European Community. He is a founding member, with William F. Buckley Jr., of the American Conservative Union and a board member of the Heritage Foundation. He lives in Rhode Island.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. There's a certain degree of setting the record straight in this attempt to tell the true (or truer) story of Barry Goldwater's failed 1964 presidential campaign. Middendorf was a central figure in the "draft Goldwater" movement, and although he went on to tremendous success in politics (he was RNC treasurer for Nixon's 1968 victory, Secretary of the Navy, and Ambassador to the Netherlands), he views the '64 campaign as a watershed both personally and for the Republican party. It also serves as an intriguing parallel to the current political moment: even with an unpopular war brewing in Vietnam, urban crime and unrest on the rise, a less-than-ideal president at the helm, and signs that most Americans were ready for a change, the GOP wasn't able to counter the seemingly unstoppable Democratic machine with anything more than a "we're not them" message. Despite the ultimate failure of the Goldwater campaign, Middendorf argues, it succeeded in bringing together the best and the brightest American conservatives, who forged a vision of what the Republican party could be if they were in control-a vision carried out in the sustained success of the Republican party from 1968 to the present. This is an important book for readers of any political stripe, pulling back the curtain of a full-steam-ahead presidential campaign and demonstrating how the strength of a party ultimately rests on its ability to articulate a coherent, meaningful and positive message. If Republicans wish to extend their success-and if Democrats wish to make recent gains last-they would do well to heed the lessons Middendorf presents here.
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Book Description Basic Books, 2006. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Barry Goldwater's campaign in 1964 was a turning point in American politics, laying the groundwork for the modern conservative movement and the election in 1980 of Ronald Reagan. J.William Middendorf was a member of the Draft Goldwater Committee, and Treasurer of the Goldwater for President Committee, and he gives an insider's account of this groundbreaking campaign. xiii+303 pages, Photo Insert, Notes, Select Bibliography, Index. Published @ $26.95. Bookseller Inventory # 15044

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