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Republican Redux

I was going through some old notes and found the following. It seemed relevant to all that is going on in Washington these days.

Context: Sen. Barry Goldwater (R) wrote to Gov. George Romney (R-MI) on December 8, 1964, complaining about the fact that Romney never endorsed Goldwater for president (Goldwater lost badly to Johnson in the 1964 election). The following come from Romney’s response to Goldwater on December 21, 1964:

You have requested “an explanation” from me with respect to certain matters raised in your letter. I will try to cover them as frankly and as fully as I can.

First, as to your remarks in Jamaica concerning the possible realignment of the Republican and Democratic parties into “conservative” and “liberal” parties. Whatever the circumstances of the statement, you have indicated that you believe this might be “a happy thing.” I disagree. We need only look at the experience of some ideologically oriented parties in Europe to realize that chaos can result. Dogmatic ideological parties tend to splinter the political and social fabric of a nation, lead to governmental crises and deadlocks, and stymie the compromises so often necessary to preserve freedom and achieve progress. A broad based two-party structure produces a degree of political stability and viability not otherwise attainable. I believe, therefore, that we should exert every effort to broaden and strengthen our Republican party, as a means of preserving a strong two-party system, which is an essential element of a free country. …

I do not believe that we can prevent unsound solutions to current problems by sheer opposition. My experience convinces me that we must present sound solutions based on applying our proven principles to current problems in the development of specific, positive programs. Only in this way can we stop the adoption of unsound national programs to fill personal, private, local, state and national vacuums. …

The ideological fights we are watching today are not new. We’ve been through similar convulsions–and worse–in our political history. What is new is the means by which the fights are taking place. Never before has one party been so willing to use the budget process and the full faith and credit of the country to try to extract so much from its political opposition.

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