Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

June 12, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

John Dean/Barry Goldwater Jr. book


  • Watergate figure John Dean and Barry Goldwater Jr. have written a book about Barry Goldwater Senior. The two talk about their book and the late Senator Goldwater.
Guests:
  • Howard Fischer - Arizona Capital Media Services
  • Tom Boone - Republican State Representative, House majority leader
  • Phil Lopes - Democratic State Representative, House minority leader


View Transcript
>>>Larry Lemmons:
There's arguably no more iconic figure in Arizona history than Barry Goldwater. The late senator defined American conservatism for a generation and for more than 50 years he kept a journal. That's the source for a new book by his son, former Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr. And Watergate figure John Dean. "Pure Goldwater" reveals the senator's private thoughts on Richard Nixon and the Republican Party among other things. Ted Simons talked to Dean and Goldwater recently about their collaboration.

>>Ted Simons:
Good to have you both on the program. Thanks so much for joining us. Barry, before we get started on the book, you two guys have known each other quite a while, haven't you?

>>Barry Goldwater Jr:
We go back to high school in Virginia. We were roommates. We swam on the all American record breaking swimming team and we've been friends ever since. We served together in Washington, D.C., John was in the White House, and I was in Congress. And then John's now in California and I'm in Arizona but we stay in touch and we wrote this book, "Pure Goldwater," together.

>>Ted Simons:
Indeed. Let's get to the book. Based greatly on journals and private records from your father, where were these found? How long have you been aware that they existed?

>>John Dean:
I guess I'm the best source on that since I found them so to speak. The senator and I when Barry would call from time to time I'd say how's your dad doing now that he's out of the Senate. He'd say well he's bored at hell, why don't you call him and talk to him. He just enjoys talking to you and it would be good for him. So he and I were doing that and the senator had become very distressed in the early '90s, what happened to conservatism and the conservative movement he felt so responsible for. He said you know, John, I'd like to do a book to explain what's happening, explain my unhappiness with what's happening, because he could tell from my conversations I was equally as unhappy. So we started on a book based on our conversations which would be titled "Conservatives Without Conscience," a great play on his classic conscience of the conservative.

>>Barry Goldwater Jr.
Which you published later.

>>John Dean:
Which I did. His health got bad and I could tell it was going to be a burden to do the book at that time, so I said listen, senator, let's put this on the shelf and do it later when you're feeling better, and he didn't. But I picked up the book and in the course of our conversations the senator said, listen, there are a lot of papers that nobody seems to have looked at where I kept records of things and low and behold, when I went back to do the book I found this private journal he'd kept literally from the time Barry was born, his first son, until shortly before his death. Initially started on a portable typewriter, out in the hills of Arizona making records and notes and things and reactions, and then later when electronic dictation equipment came and he was a passenger in an airplane, occasionally when he's flying the airplane, he dictates his thoughts about Washington policy, politics, what have you. So while it's not consistent, it's not daily, much to his own chagrin, as he repeatedly says to himself, he does keep a diary that is a significant body of work. So I got the Arizona Historical Foundation to see if they couldn't sift it out because it was not well filed and they began finding these entries and when I found them I called Barry, I said listen, this stuff's pure gold. In fact it's pure Goldwater because it's not staff, not speech writers, not ghosts. This is your father's voice. And my wife, for example, Maureen, who had known the senator, when she first read the manuscript she said, you know, I really hear his voice. So that's why it's been a delight to do and we're getting the same feedback from others who have read the book now.

>>Ted Simons:
Barry, this is your father and these are things that were not released and I'm assuming that they were initially private. But I'm assuming that he knew that eventually this stuff would get out. But again, talking private diaries and journals, were you uncomfortable seeing the stuff get out?

>>Barry Goldwater Jr:
No, not at all. I think the world needs to hear from Senator Goldwater. They probably don't get enough of him, as to what America's about. He helped define the Republican Party back in the '60s and '70s, was one of its leaders, he defined it in terms of what a conservative is all about. And this is why later on when evangelicals began to redefine conservatism he got upset. But I think he would want people -- he was a public person, and he spoke and he wrote and he would have no problem.

>>Ted Simons:
Was there anything in the journals in the diaries, anything there that surprised you?

>>Barry Goldwater Jr:
Just, well, I was surprised that he even kept them. I had heard about it but I was surprised.

>>John Dean:
Your reactions to me, if I might, were when I told him that did you know your father had been offered the vice-presidency by Gerald Ford, something nobody ever recorded in history, and Barry said no, he never told the family lift probably told my mother Peggy but never told the family Ford -- the first person ford offer the vice-presidency to is Goldwater, he turns it down because he thinks he'll be more effective in the Senate. He thinks the party needs to be rebuilt. He thinks while he could be a good vice president, he tells Ford, you know, I think I could be more important to the party and the country as really staying where I am in the Senate.

>>Barry Goldwater Jr:
There's a lot of gems in this book "Pure Goldwater" that John and I have put together. He served under seven presidents, coming in with Eisenhower, when he became friendly with Richard Nixon, and started a lifelong friendship that resulted in total destruction because the president Nixon lied to him and disappointed him greatly, but he served under Eisenhower, he thought was a good president, but not very good at politics. He also felt Eisenhower was too much influenced by the eastern liberal establishment. John Kennedy and he were personal friends and there's a lot of their relationship in "Pure Goldwater."

>>John Dean:
He's not shy about saying even to his -- about his close friends because he would say the same to them that he was putting in his journal.

>>Ted Simons: Regarding J.F.K. was there not a point at which they both agreed that in '64 obviously never happened but that they would barnstorm together? Did I get that correct?

>>John Dean: That was the plan the he talks about it and in fact the Kennedy family later would talk about how the fact that the two of them planned to run against each other, lease an airplane, not go into the studios with makeup and television cameras, but rather get out and literally on the stumps at airports, draw the crowds out and just have a Lincoln-Douglas style debate which as you know is not staged, moderated questions, but an ongoing exchange where the two debating people take the debate where they want to go and into the subjects they think are important. And just think how that might have changed modern politics had they done that and because it would have been very, you know, very dramatic even then, and they, you know this is I think when Kennedy was assassinated is when Goldwater really didn't want to be president anymore.

>>Ted Simons:
His thoughts, Goldwater's thoughts by way of these diaries on Richard Nixon.

>>John Dean:
This was the big surprise to me is how much material was in there on Nixon and Watergate. This is probably the most voluminous at least of the material that has been preserved and maintained and we put a good bit in the book because his relationship with Nixon goes from '53 until long after Nixon's out of office and down in San Clemente and has after resign's, but his thinking on Watergate evolves, he asks me at one point over at Barry's house, after not long after the break-in and arrest, he says Nixon White House involved in this? I said to the best of my knowledge, no. That would be the same answer I would give him today. But he never pressed me and interesting thing did happen, before I testified I called Barry one time, I said listen, Barry, and I really need to talk to your dad. I'm not going to involve him in any way in this because I'm not going to compromise him but I need to talk to him because then he was the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I said I'm going to blow the president out of the water, right out of the oval office with my testimony if it ultimately is corroborated and I said I don't want to do something that will cause a national security problem, and so I need to know, so I talked to the senator about it and he said, john, he said, he said you go in there and tell the truth, just the way you know it, and blow the son of a bitch out of the office.

>>Ted Simons:
What is a Goldwater conservative?

>>Barry Goldwater Jr.
Well, these are core values that span history and it's based on the recognition of the individual, that this country was founded on freedom, freedom of the individual to express his own feelings, to climb his own ladder, to take care of himself, and a conservative believes that we as a nation function better if we allow this individual to be as free as possible, so if we recognize that we need government for certain things, but we want to limit that government and limit the regulations and the taxation on the creative genius of the individual, on the foreign policy side, a conservative believes that the constitution mandates that we keep a strong national defense, being prepared to defend our liberties. It's that simple.

>>John Dean:
You know, I actually learned more about his philosophy working on conservatives without conscience, where if you want to boil it down to a sound bite. He said a conservative is somebody who draws from the wisdom of the past and applies it to the present and the future.

>>Ted Simons:
You have written many becomes especially of late critical of folks who consider themselves conservatives now. Are they not Goldwater conservatives?

>>John Dean:
They certainly are not.

>>Ted Simons:
How come?

>>John Dean:
First, the leading example Barry alluded to is when the religious right became active in the Republican Party, initially it was Jimmy Carter who attracted the evangelical movement into politics. They decided they didn't like his politics but they wanted to stay and play, they helped elect Reagan and this time Goldwater begins having trouble with them, for example when Sandra Day O'Connor, his Arizona neighbor, friend, former legislator, good judge at that point, selected by -- I don't know exactly all the back room talk between Reagan and Goldwater on her selection process, but clearly she was his candidate. And when Falwell, Jerry Falwell of the religious right came out and said I think all good Christians should have reservations about voting for or approving Sandra Day O'Connor he famously said I think all good Christians should kick Jerry Falwell in the ass. As I clarified based on a later conversation, he actually didn't refer to that part of the anatomy. It was a little more to the front. But the press translated it. But so the press did sometimes modify and clean up some of his language.

>>Ted Simons:
Last question, we're running out of time, would Barry Goldwater today, your father, would he be a libertarian?

>>Barry Goldwater Jr:
I would think so.

>>Ted Simons:
What do you think John?

>>John Dean:
I think so too. You know, I found it repeatedly when we were digging through the papers and it comes up also on C.C. Goldwater's documentary of her grandfather, he calls himself a liberal. He said when history looks back at me they're going to call me a liberal and he's talking about classic liberalism.

>>Ted Simons:
We'll stop it right there. Fascinating stuff. Thank you both for joining us, we appreciate it.

>>John Dean:
Thank you.

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