Barry and the Tea Party

Would Barry Goldwater agree? George Will thinks so. In a column cheering Cruz’s victory in the Texas Republican runoff for the U.S. Senate nomination, Will writes that it is Goldwater’s “spirit” that “infuses the Tea Party.”

To which Barry, if still around, would predictably respond, “B——–!” How can I be sure? Let me put it this way: I knew Barry Goldwater. I was on Barry Goldwater’s staff. And believe me, Barry Goldwater would have nothing good to say about the Tea Party.

Nor, let me add, would the Tea Party have anything good to say about Barry Goldwater. Who can doubt that a political faction that finds Bob Bennett, Orrin Hatch, and Dick Lugar not conservative enough would be fulminating today over a Republican senator who in his autobiography wrote:

“For years, the New Right preached little or no spirit of compromise—political give and take. … Public business— that’s all politics is — is often making the best of a mixed bargain….Our Constitution seeks to allow freedom for everyone, not merely those professing certain moral or religious views of ultimate right.”

So much for George Will’s notion that it’s the spirit of Goldwater that infuses the our-way-or-no-way Tea Party. But then, we have to consider Will’s perspective: While Barry was running for president in 1964, Will was away from the fray, taking his tea at Oxford.

Gold is a Washington journalist whose most recent book was "Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP." He is also a  former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush.