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Comment of the Day: In Praise of Barry Goldwater

Posted on September 1 2009 1:00 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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Yesterday’s open thread was an image of conservative icon Barry Goldwater.

NewsReal blogger Mark Koenig (see Mark’s posts here, here, here, and here) had this thoughtful reflection:

I’ve long admired Barry Goldwater, who is often credited with reviving the modern conservative movement. He always struck me as more of a libertarian than a traditional Republican, which coincides to this day with my own views. Later in life he continued to impress me with his passionate criticism of some prominent Christian Right figures, most notably Pat Robertson.

But it was Goldwater’s discovery of his grandson’s homosexuality, and subsequent staunch public support of him and his gay partner that finally cemented my respect and admiration. Ty Ross, Goldwater’s grandson, once brought a male friend who was on active duty in the Air Force over to meet his grandfather, by then past 80. When this friend confided to Goldwater that not only was he gay, but he would shortly be discharged from the military for this reason, Goldwater replied, “That’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever heard!” Shortly thereafter Goldwater faced a firestorm of criticism from conservative Republicans when he famously wrote “You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.” in a 1993 Washington Post op-ed piece. Not a bad little aphorism, eh?

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