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Buckley and Goldwater in 1966
on October 4, 2012
In 1966 William F. Buckley's show "Firing Line" was just beginning its long run. One of the show's first guests was Barry Goldwater, who had lost the prior presidential election. In this episode the two discuss the future of conservatism after Goldwater's defeat and the passage of the liberal legislation of the mid-Sixties.
Goldwater was prescient on Medicare and on the ultimate ideological homogenization of the two major political parties. Buckley and Goldwater also examined the concentration of power in the presidency, mused on the likelihood of defeating an incumbent president and of a GOP win in 1968, and discussed the possible roles of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon in the Republican Party. The two also discussed foreign policy, touching on Vietnam, China, and Communism.
Some of the topics in this episode of "Firing Line" are dated, but others are timeless, including the discussion of some of the challenges conservatives seemingly face in any era. Modern-day conservatives would enjoy looking back at this conversation between perhaps the two most important figures in American conservatism in the mid-1960s.