At this important crossroads in modern political history, we submit that the late Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona was an extraordinary and important voice that resonates today. He was a devoted public official whose candor and role on the national stage holds particular importance today for Americans across the political spectrum. His character and style of courtly conservatism represented all that is good in American politics, and his approach is worthy of both understanding and emulation.
Recently, we discovered that throughout his adult life - before, during and after his thirty years in the U.S. Senate - Goldwater paused from time to time to gather his thoughts and put them down in written form, albeit on an irregular basis yet with sufficient frequency to create a meaningful collection. This unpublished private journal is the basis of our book Pure Goldwater, an extraordinary work that combines the Senator's own writings with our analysis, which was published yesterday by Palgrave Macmillan. This unique material is timely in this election year because it reveals like no other the life, times, and thinking of a political figure whose devotion to politics and public service were iconic. At the same time, it serves as a reminder of what conservative ideals really are, and how they have been distorted by those who now claim the label.
The material was not written for publication (although he left it behind knowing others might be interested in it), and it is far more intimate and revealing that his co-written and previously published autobiographical works. It is a scrapbook of historical material, much of it information that he never discussed during his life, like the fact that when Gerald Ford became president he offered the vice presidency to Goldwater who turned down the job. There are details about his relationships with presidents since Eisenhower, and his soured relationship with his hand-picked successor John McCain. Simply stated, this is a collection of material that reveals the heart and soul of a political figure who remains important to this day.
A basic reason why Barry Goldwater still matters, aside from his being a historical figure and fascinating personality, is found in the way he viewed others and his work. He rejected contemporary devise tactics and approaches to campaigning for elective office and governing, all of which emerged while he was on the national stage. Goldwater would have found more in common with the brutal honesty of a Ron Paul than the flip-floppers, spinners and poll-tested position takers. His beliefs are all built on the importance of individual freedom and, even more importantly for an elected official, on an overriding need for honesty in public service. Without complete candor, he did not believe that one could effectively promote and protect American freedom.
Goldwater has been described as "an American original." He could be described as a role model as well. No, he was not close to perfect, but as the words which he left behind show, this man of the twentieth century--who sought to move forward by relying on the proven wisdom and principles of public service developed in the nineteenth century--provided us with a legacy of a common sense conservatism that drew on the best behavior of the past to address the problems of the present and future.
We have assembled and published this book because we believe his way of thought, his outlook and manner, and his reliance on timeless wisdom and eternal truths should not be forgotten in the 2008 election, not to mention the rest of the twenty-first century.