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Moyers: Still Lyin’ about Goldwater after all these years

While I have long been a fan of Barry Goldwater’s outspoken nature and commitment to conservative principles, my regard for the man increased when nearly twenty years ago, in the summer of 1989, I learned how he handled the arrest, at the height of the 1964 presidential campaign, of Walter Jenkins, the closest aide to his rival for the White House, then-President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  Jenkins had been arrested for having sex with a man in the men’s room at Washington, D.C. YMCA.

The then-GOP standard bearer refused to make political hay of the matter at a time when one could make political hay out of such things.  That refusal defined the decency of the then-Arizona Senator and future conservative icon.  He was a principled politician a gay man could admire.

In responding to Jack Shafer’s pieces in Slate, The Intolerable Smugness of Bill Moyers and More on Moyers, the longtime Johnson aide defines an attitude toward conservatives as identical to that of his ideological allies who believe their “ideological enemies” treat gays with scorn, “Sen. Goldwater and his allies in the press seized on Walter’s arrest as a sign of Washington’s ‘moral degeneration.’“  Wrong, Mr. Moyers, at least about Goldwater.  The historical record confirms what Goldwater wrote in his memoir:

Meantime, the White House anxiously awaited what we were going to say about the matter. It drove them crazy when I refused comment. Here was the cowboy who shot from the hip, the Scrooge who would put the penniless on the street, with no Social Security, the maniac who would blow our little children into the next kingdom in a nuclear Armageddon. If he would kill a million men and women, wouldn’t he destroy one individual? Why was the extremist pursuing moderation?

When the media clamor over the case had climbed to a fever pitch, I said the only matter which concerned the campaign was the national security aspect. We never spoke of it except to repeat the security factor in response to questions and pressure from the media. Our reply was always the same: The FBI was the competent agency to answer such questions.

(Emphasis added.)

I guess Bill Moyers was right, “his memory is unclear after so many years.”  Funny how that memory keeps a Republican in a bad light.  I guess he’s conditioned it to fit his imagination.

In his response to Moyers’ e-mail, Shafer wonders about the issues the Democrat did not address and corrects the historical record about the Republican he seeks to slime:

I’m glad that Moyers’ letter brings up Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., a politician more sinned against than sinning, in my opinion. That Johnson kept a dossier on Goldwater is reported in Michael Beschloss’ book Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson’s Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965. After the Jenkins arrest, Johnson worried that Hoover might get his hands on the contents of a safe in Jenkins’ office that contained “potentially embarrassing FBI and other information on the private lives of LBJ, … administration appointees, Goldwater, [vice-presidential nominee William E.] Miller, and other political friends and enemies. …”

As part of the national security investigation of Jenkins, two FBI agents called on Goldwater at 6:30 in the morning at his Chicago hotel “to ask about his own relationship with Jenkins’ and Jenkins’s ‘personal habit,’ ” Beschloss writes. Goldwater, who commanded Jenkins in the Air Force Reserve, was furious. Beschloss continues, “Goldwater complained that in the Jenkins investigation, Johnson was abusing the FBI ‘for political purposes.’ “

It looks like Bill Moyer is still at what he was busy doing in 1964, lying about Barry Goldwater. Or maybe he’s not lying, he’s just remembering the world not as it was, but as he wants it to have been so it can better fit his narrative.



  1. What?! Nobody is talking about Bobby Jindal? Or “What are you, crazy?” Michael Steele? Or Sen. Richard Shelby? Or even Sen. Jim Bunning? You folks really need to take your party back instead of harping on the same old “liberal” villains. Doesn’t seem terribly constructive.

    Comment by Inlookout — February 25, 2009 @ 9:33 pm - February 25, 2009

  2. When Goldwater was asked if he approves of gays in the army, his reply was (if I remember correctly), “I don’t care as long as he can shoot straight.”

    Comment by John W — February 25, 2009 @ 10:07 pm - February 25, 2009

  3. #1 Are the liberals talking about the Israel basher and China apologist as head of the National Intelligence Council? Are they talking about the fact that Chairman Obama still wouldn’t be caught dead appearing with gay people?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 26, 2009 @ 12:10 am - February 26, 2009

  4. Wouldn’t be caught dead with gay people? Wow. That’s illuminating. I had no earthly idea. What’s the evidence for that assertion? Any first hand knowledge? Please. As for Freeman, no I don’t agree with all his views. But then I am also tired of always backing Israel to the Nth degree. And I am ready to have someone in there with a different perspective, as the perspective of the last 8 years certainly hasn’t gotten us anywhere. Someone not afraid to call out Israel when deserved, and not always be their b!tch. Here we go, now I’m sure to be labeled anti-Semitic?

    Comment by Inlookout — February 26, 2009 @ 12:41 am - February 26, 2009

  5. Here we go, now I’m sure to be labeled anti-Semitic?

    That label really should be saved for people like Obama who actually are, not for people like you who are merely repeating what their party tells them to say.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 26, 2009 @ 1:11 am - February 26, 2009

  6. Inlookout, please address the substance of the post, thanks.

    How would you react if it were discovered that when a sermonizing Republican with a television show once used the FBI to spy on political opponents and professional colleagues when he worked in the White House?

    So, wait, you want me to believe I’m not being very constructive when you’re asking me to attack Republicans you don’t like. So, by your very statement, you’re admitting not to being very constructive because you don’t take Charles Rangel, Chris Dodd, Roland Burris, Kent Conrad and other Democrats with ethical lapses to task.

    Can you defend Bill Moyers, the subject of this post? Did I get any facts wrong? Please let me know. If not, I’m curious why you chose to post your rant here, trying to deflect the topic from Moyers?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — February 26, 2009 @ 1:40 am - February 26, 2009

  7. Filtered post.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 26, 2009 @ 5:55 am - February 26, 2009

  8. “I’m tired of having someone who supports democracy in the Middle East. bring on the people who will talk with those who want us dead!”

    There fixed it for you.

    Welcome to Who’s Administration is it anyway? Where the taxes go up, and the spending doesn’t matter. Yes, just like human rights to President Obama, the spending just doesn’t matter.

    Comment by The Livewire — February 26, 2009 @ 7:52 am - February 26, 2009

  9. #4 – “Wouldn’t be caught dead with gay people? Wow. That’s illuminating. I had no earthly idea. What’s the evidence for that assertion?”

    When Obama said he would support Prop 8 in CA and talked about marriage being between “one man and one woman” during his 2008 campaign.

    Try again.

    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — February 26, 2009 @ 11:20 am - February 26, 2009

  10. #4, Brief search on this blog alone, as firewall hampers research at work:
    “President-Elect Obama didn’t appoint even one openly gay person to his senior staff. 21 senior staff positions in the White House. Not one LGBT person.”

    “If President-elect Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to give his inaugural invocation is intended to send a message to America that he will be an inclusive leader, then he has clearly made a decision that the exclusion of the LGBT community is acceptable.”
    “As of today, Obama has told us by his actions, gays will not stand in the way of his political agenda–no matter how valid the argument.”

    But don’t worry. I’m sure he’ll take his message of human rights to the world.

    Oh, wait

    Clinton had sought to focus on economic and environmental issues in Beijing, saying Washington’s concerns about the human rights situation in China should not be a distraction from those vital matters.

    Never mind.

    Comment by The Livewire — February 26, 2009 @ 2:05 pm - February 26, 2009

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