It’s hard to pinpoint an exact date on which a nation lost its soul, but if forced to do so I would select November 3, 1964. This was the ill-fated day of the 1964 presidential election, when Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater, thus killing small-government conservatism forever. Never had Americans had such a choice and such an opportunity, and never have they thrown it away with such vigor. Oh sure, there are glimpses now and then, but nothing like the deathblow dealt fifty years ago today.
I realize the blog is becoming something like what-anniversary-can-we-celebrate-today trivia, but this, like the others is of great importance. In fact, the entire month of October 1964 is something to examine, and I’m ashamed I didn’t do so until today. It was done quite well 20 years ago by David Halberstam in a book cleverly titled October 1964, and I recommend that one highly. Focusing on both baseball and politics, Halberstam examines the changing tides imminent in that month, and in 2014 they are even more clear. And I still think no election was more important.
Goldwater spent the rest of his career pushing small-government initiatives, the kind of thing one can do as a minority-party senator. Does this describe the so-called Tea Party of today? Well, after tomorrow they might not be in the minority.