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Forget LBJ’s ‘Daisy’ Ad. Watch Goldwater’s Campaign Film Choice

Go-go dancers! Harlem riots! Church bells! John Wayne! Would Barry Goldwater have won in 1964 if this film had aired more than twice?

Kathy Shaidle


January 29, 2014 - 4:00 pm
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choice 2
I haven’t seen the new documentary MITT and I’m not sure I can bring myself to do so.

Living in the real-life aftermath of Romney’s failed presidential campaign is depressing enough without sitting through a cinematic autopsy, too.

Some say that if this documentary or something like it had been screened before election day, Romney’s chances would’ve improved.

Obviously we can’t know that for certain.

I feel more confident declaring that had an infamous but little seen Barry Goldwater campaign film called Choice aired in 1964, he still wouldn’t have won.

That’s because Goldwater had no chance of winning anyhow.

Americans weren’t going to dishonor their recently assassinated Democratic president by failing to vote for his successor. Period.

It didn’t help that the elites had successfully painted Goldwater as a racist, warmongering loony.

(Here’s an exhaustive history of the Democrats’ legendary “Daisy” commercial that made such a libelous liberal case against the Republican opponent — for one thing, it was Democrat JFK who brought America closest to nuclear war.)

That aside, the fact is:

Millions of Americans who educated themselves about Goldwater still found his real views too radical.

So had he allowed the wide release of Choice, the election would’ve turned out the same way.

The real question is:

If this long-form commercial had aired more than twice, how would it have colored public perceptions of the Republican Party into the future?

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All Comments   (7)
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I checked the link to "If footmen tire you", and according to the description, the movie predicted a Communist takeover of the US no later than 1973.

Of course, we know they were wrong. The Watergate Congress wasn't until 1974.

The fact is that the "slippery slope" argument turned out to be true. If George Washington had known of the social libertarianism of today, he would have grabbed two men and a white flag, marched into General Howe's camp, placed his sword at his feet, and kneeling before him begged Howe to hang him alone and spare his men.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thumb through the book "Toward a Soviet America" by William Z. Foster and compare it to what has actually occurred and I think you will see how successful they have been. Published in 1933 I find it illuminating. Is everybody who put this into practice a Communist? No but the useful idiot label applies where appropriate. Foster was President of CPUSA and is buried in the Kremlin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good one Kathy:

Choice might work for a Republican candidate in 2016, but it would of course have to have a much more compact running time and updated themes: comparing the "Julia & pajama boy" attitude to the rugged individualist, the Occupy Wall Street types to the those who are willing to work types, the twerkers to the more civilized, the knockout game and flash mob types to the more law abiding, the government "taxpayer" financed contraceptive types, etc, etc.
It would be fun for the Republicans to try to use a Choice type of ad, but I doubt that most of them have the guts to do it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
***That’s because Goldwater had no chance of winning anyhow.

Americans weren’t going to dishonor their recently assassinated Democratic president by failing to vote for his successor. Period. ****

I remember those days! I was 17 years old.

Bunkum. Goldwater lost because he said we might have to send troops to SE Asia.

Johnson replied...(It's been 50 years, but I think this is it)..."I will not send American boys to South East Asia, to fight a war that Vietnamese boys should be fighting!"

From an old article I read back around 1970, Goldwater approached Johnson and said..."You know we will have to send troops to Vietnam."

Johnson's reply was..."I know, but I'm trying to win an election!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They told me that if I voted for Barry Goldwater blacks would riot in the streets of America's cities, our boys would die in pointless foreign wars, and bombs would rain down on Hanoi.

I did and it happened.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wow! That was a blast from the past. My dad actually bought Barry Goldwater's suicide door Lincoln not long after his failed presidential run. I can attest to the fact that I still have all 10 fingers and my conservative ideals are intact - amazing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
28 minutes of difficult to watch footage. Of course, by current standards the production value was awful. But the more important point is that it is extremely difficult to present complex ideas in this format.

Today we have accepted the sexual mores that were being criticized in this footage, so that certainly seems out of date. And the corruption of politicians has gone through phases far worse than the early days of Bobby Baker and LBJ -- both in the 19th Century and today.

How can one explain or even demonstrate the cultural decline of America? It is indeed extremely challenging. Long books are written on the subject and even they only scratch the surface. We can talk about individualism versus collectivism, or liberty versus equality and its tension arc, or the differences and similarities between compassion and enabling, or the ways the welfare state nearly always leads to a socialist version of serfdom.

The left gradually pursued a "debunking" strategy of finding fault with our founders, then emphasizing our errors over our triumphs, eating away like termites at American pride and self-confidence. This process began a long time ago, and some argue it was the Progressives at the turn of the 20th century that started it in earnest. Others point to the 1930's while others emphasize the 1960's. My point is that it has taken two or three generations to erode American self-respect and confidence. The process is accelerating at ever more rapid pace in this decade. And not all of it can be reversed. And even if some of it could be reversed, it would take decades and might come too late to make enough of a difference.

So my bottom line takeaway is that it is nearly impossible for a single 28 minute campaign commercial to make the point. And the attention span of the average citizen is shorter today; with the average voter's shorter still. Hard to be optimistic at this time.

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1 year ago
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