George F. Will's Political Analysis

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Among the many analyses about the 2004 Republican National Convention, one offered by the eminent conservative columnist George F. Will caught my eye. "Barry is back," he wrote, referring to Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who won the Republican presidential nomination forty years ago but was then crushed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the general election, receiving only 38.5 percent of the popular vote and carrying just six states. Notwithstanding his resounding defeat in the fall of 1964, wrote Will, Goldwater's nomination sealed "the ascendancy of conservatism in the [Republican] party." Goldwater's brand of conservatism, Will explained, included a "muscular foreign policy," economic policies of low taxation and light regulation, and a "libertarian inclination" regarding cultural questions. While not "fully ascendant" in the GOP, suggested Will, Goldwaterism made a comeback at the 2004 convention, as evidenced in the "rapturous reception" of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, known for their unyielding opposition to terrorism and their tolerant views regarding abortion and gay rights. The reemergence of conservatism with a socially libertarian (but economically conservative) cast, Will wrote, could make the Grand Old Party more appealing to the many young suburban voters among whom the Democrats have made substantial gains.…show more content…
I was particularly struck by his opening words "Barry is back" because I had already decided to write the 2004 Presi-dent's Essay about the Arizona senator and his remarkable book, The Conscience of a Conservative, that had a profound impact on me and many other young conservatives of the
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