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Barry Morris Goldwater (January 1, 1909 – May 29, 1998) was a five-term United States Senator from Arizonamarker (1953–1965, 1969–1987) and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. He was also a Major General in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was known as "Mr. Conservative".

Goldwater is the politician most often credited for sparking the resurgence of the American conservative political movement in the 1960s. He also had a substantial impact on the libertarian movement.

Goldwater rejected the legacy of the New Deal and fought inside the conservative coalition to defeat the New Deal coalition. He lost the 1964 presidential election by a large margin to incumbent Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. The Johnson campaign and other critics painted him as a reactionary, while supporters praised his crusades against the federal government, labor unions, and the welfare state. His defeat allowed Lyndon Johnson and the Democrats in Congress to pass the Great Society programs, but the defeat of so many older Republicans in 1964 also cleared the way for a younger generation of American conservatives to mobilize. Goldwater was much less active as a national leader of conservatives after 1964; his supporters mostly rallied behind Ronald Reagan, who became governor of California in 1967 and President of the United States in 1981.

By the 1980s, the increasing influence of the Christian Right on the Republican Party so conflicted with Goldwater's libertarian views that he became a vocal opponent of the religious right on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and the role of religion in public life. Goldwater concentrated on his Senate duties, especially passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986.

Personal life

Goldwater was born in 1909 in Phoenixmarker, in what was then the Arizona Territory, the son of Baron Goldwater and his wife, Hattie Josephine ("JoJo") Williams. His father's family had founded Goldwater's, a department store in Phoenix. The family name had been changed from Goldwasser to Goldwater at least as early as the 1860 census in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. Goldwater's paternal grandparents, Michel and Sarah (Nathan) Goldwasser, were Jewish and had been married in the Great Synagogue of Londonmarker. Goldwater's mother came from an old Yankee family; the co-founder of Rhode Islandmarker, Roger Williams, was an ancestor. Goldwater's father was alienated from the local Jewish community, so he and JoJo were married in an Episcopal church in Phoenix. For his entire life, Goldwater was an Episcopalian, though he sometimes referred to himself as "Jewish." While he did not often attend church, he stated that "If a man acts in a religious way, an ethical way, then he's really a religious man — and it doesn't have a lot to do with how often he gets inside a church".

The family department store made the Goldwaters comfortably wealthy. Goldwater graduated from Staunton Military Academy and attended the University of Arizonamarker for one year, where he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity. Although Barry had never been close to his father, he took over the family business after Baron's death in 1930. He became a Republican (in a heavily Democratic state), promoted innovative business practices, and opposed the New Deal, especially because it fostered labor unions. Goldwater came to know former president Herbert Hoover, whose politics he admired greatly. In 1934, he married Margaret "Peggy" Johnson, wealthy daughter of a prominent Midwestern industrialist. They had four children: Joanne (born January 1, 1936), Barry (born July 15, 1938), Michael (born March 15, 1940), and Peggy (born July 27, 1944). Barry became a widower in 1985, and in 1992 he married Susan Wechsler, a nurse 32 years his junior.

With the American entry into World War II, Goldwater received a reserve commission in the United States Army Air Forces. He became a pilot assigned to the Ferry Command, a newly formed unit that delivered aircraft and supplies to war zones worldwide. He spent most of the war flying between the USA and India, via the Azores and North Africa or South America, Nigeria, and Central Africa. He also flew "the hump" over the Himalayasmarker to deliver supplies to the Republic of Chinamarker. Remaining in the Air Force Reserve after the war, he eventually retired as a Command Pilot with the rank of Major General. By that time, he had flown 165 different types of aircraft. Following World War II, Goldwater was a leading proponent of creating the United States Air Force Academy, and later served on the Academy's Board of Visitors. The Visitor Center at the USAF Academy is now named in his honor.

In 1940, Goldwater became one of the first people to run the Colorado River recreationally through Grand Canyon when he participated as an oarsman on Norman Nevills' second commercial river trip. Goldwater joined the trip in Green River, Utahmarker and rowed his own boat down to Lake Meadmarker.

In 1970, the Arizona Historical Foundation published the day-by-day journal that Goldwater kept on the trip, along with the photographs he took, in a 209 page volume titled "Delightful Journey" by Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater's son, Barry Goldwater, Jr., served as a United States House of Representatives member from Californiamarker from 1969 to 1983.

Political career

Goldwater entered Phoenix politics in 1949 when he was elected to the City Council as part of a nonpartisan group of candidates who focused on "cleaning up" widespread prostitution and gambling. As a Republican he won a seat in the US Senate in 1952, when he upset veteran Democrat and Senate majority leader Ernest McFarland. He defeated McFarland again in 1958, but would step down from the Senate in 1964 for his presidential campaign. Goldwater had a strong showing in his first reelection in 1958, a year in which the Democrats picked up thirteen seats in the Senate.


Senator Barry Goldwater, 1962
Goldwater soon became most associated with labor-union reform and anti-communism; he was an active supporter of the conservative coalition in Congress. However, he rejected the wilder fringes of the anti-communist movement; in 1956 he sponsored the passage through the Senate of the final version of the Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act, despite vociferous opposition from opponents who claimed that the Act was a communist plot to establish concentration camps in Alaskamarker. His work on labor issues led to Congress passing major anti-corruption reforms in 1957, and an all-out campaign by the AFL-CIO to defeat his 1958 reelection bid. He voted against the censure of Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1954, but he was much more prudent than McCarthy and never actually charged any individual with being a communist/Soviet agent. Goldwater emphasized his strong opposition to the worldwide spread of communism in his 1960 book The Conscience of a Conservative. The book became an important reference text in conservative political circles.

Goldwater ran a conservative campaign, part of which emphasized "states' rights." Goldwater's 1964 campaign was a magnet for conservatives. Goldwater broadly opposed strong action by the federal government. Although he had supported all previous federal civil rights legislation, Goldwater made the decision to oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His stance was based on his view that the act was an intrusion of the federal government into the affairs of states and, second, that the Act interfered with the rights of private persons to do business, or not, with whomever they chose.

All this appealed to white Southern Democrats, and Goldwater was the first Republican to win the electoral votes of the Deep South states (Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina) since Reconstruction. However, Goldwater's vote on the Civil Rights Act proved devastating to his campaign everywhere outside the South (besides Dixie, Goldwater won only in Arizona, his home state), contributing to his landslide defeat in 1964. A Lyndon B. Johnson ad called "Confessions of a Republican," which ran in the North, associated Goldwater with the Ku Klux Klan. At the same time, Johnson’s campaign in the Deep South publicized Goldwater’s full history on civil rights. In the end, Johnson swept the election.

While Goldwater had been depicted by his opponents in the Republican primaries as a representative of a conservative philosophy that was extreme and alien, his Congressional voting records show that his positions were in harmony with those of his fellow Republicans in the Congress. What distinguished him from his predecessors was, according to Hans J. Morgenthau, his firmness of principle and determination, which did not allow him to be content with rhetoric.

Goldwater fought in 1971 to stop U.S. funding of the United Nations after the People's Republic of Chinamarker was admitted to the body. He said:


In 1964, he fought and won a bitterly-contested, multi-candidate race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. His main rival was New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, whom he defeated in the California primary. His nomination was opposed by liberal Republicans who thought Goldwater's hardline foreign policy stances would bring about a deadly confrontation with the Soviet Unionmarker. He would eventually lose to President Lyndon Johnson by a large margin. Consequently, the Republican Party suffered a significant setback nationally, losing many seats in both houses of Congress. Goldwater carried only his home state and five (formerly Democratic) Southern states. Many Republicans at the time angrily turned against Goldwater, claiming that his defeat had significantly set back the party's chances of future national success.

He remained popular in Arizona, though, and in the 1968 Senate election he was elected again (this time to the seat of Carl Hayden, who was retiring). He was subsequently reelected in 1974 and 1980. The 1974 election saw Goldwater easily reelected. This occurred in a year in which Republicans lost three Senate seats because of the party's unpopularity over the Watergate scandal.

Two self-published books advanced the Goldwater cause: A Choice, Not An Echo by Phyllis Schlafly and A Texan Looks at Lyndon: A Study in Illegitimate Power by the Texas historian J. Evetts Haley. Both were best-sellers but failed to bolster Goldwater's electoral prospects.


Goldwater seriously considered retirement in 1980 before deciding to run for reelection. Peggy Goldwater reportedly hoped that her husband's Senate term, due to end in January 1981, would be his last. Goldwater decided to run, planning to make the term his last in the Senate. Goldwater faced a surprisingly tough battle for reelection. He was viewed by some as out of touch and vulnerable for several reasons - most importantly, because he had planned to retire in 1981, Goldwater had not visited many areas of Arizona outside of Phoenix and Tucson. He was also challenged by a formidable opponent, Bill Schulz, who was a former Republican turned Democrat and a wealthy real estate developer. Schulz was able to infuse massive amounts of money into the campaign from his own fortune.

Arizona's changing population also hurt Goldwater. The state's population had exploded, and a huge portion of the electorate had not lived in the state when Goldwater was last elected. Because of this, many voters were not familiar with the Senator. Goldwater was on the defensive for much of the campaign. Early returns on election night seemed to indicate that Schulz would win. The counting of votes continued through the night and into the next morning. Around daybreak Goldwater learned that he had been reelected. Goldwater's margin could be traced to his winning a high percentage of absentee votes, which were among the last to be counted. Goldwater's surprisingly close victory in 1980 is interesting given that Ronald Reagan won the Presidency in a large victory over Jimmy Carter, and that the Republicans regained control of the Senate, electing twelve new Senators to the United States Senate who rode Reagan's coattails. Reagan garnered 61% of the Presidential vote in Arizona.

Goldwater retired in 1987, serving as chair of the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committees in his final term. Despite his reputation as a firebrand in the 1960s, by the end of his career he was considered a stabilizing influence in the Senate, one of the most respected members of either major party. Yet Goldwater remained staunchly anti-communist and "hawkish" on military issues. He led the unsuccessful fight against ratification of the Panama Canal Treaty in the 1970s, which would return control of the canal zone to the Republic of Panamamarker. His most important legislative achievement may have been the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which reorganized the U.S. military's senior-command structure.

Political relationships

Goldwater was a supporter of Wisconsin's Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy to the end (one of only 22 Senators who voted against McCarthy's censure). He was also friends with Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts; in fact, Goldwater anticipated that a contest for the presidency between John F. Kennedy and himself would have been an enjoyable experience, with lively debates between them.

Goldwater was grief-stricken by the assassination of Kennedymarker and was greatly disappointed that his opponent in the race would not be JFK, but instead Kennedy's Vice President, the former Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. Goldwater disliked Johnson (who he said "used every dirty trick in the bag"), and Richard M. Nixon of California, whom he later called "the most dishonest individual I have ever met in my life." Goldwater, by then again a Senator, advocated for Nixon to resign at the height of Watergate, warning that fewer than ten senators would vote against conviction after Nixon was impeached by the House of Representatives. The term "Goldwater moment" has been used to describe a moment when influential members of Congress disagree with a President from their own party and take a stand.

His 1984 Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act allowed local governments to require the transmission of public access television, also called PEG (Public, Education, and Government) access channels, barred cable operators from exercising editorial control over content of programs carried on PEG channels, and absolved them from liability for their content.

U.S. presidential campaign, 1964

Republican primaries results
At the time of Goldwater's presidential candidacy, the Republican Party was split between its conservatives (with their base in the West and Midwest) and liberals (strongest in the Northeast). He alarmed even some of his fellow partisans with his brand of staunch fiscal conservatism and militant anti-communism. He was viewed by many traditional Republicans as being too far on the right wing of the Republican spectrum to appeal to the mainstream majority necessary to win a national election. As a result, more liberal Republicans recruited a series of opponents, including New Yorkmarker Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., of Massachusettsmarker and Pennsylvaniamarker Governor William Scranton, to challenge Goldwater. Goldwater would defeat Rockefeller in the winner-take-all California primary and secure the nomination. He also had solid southern Republican backing. A bright young Birminghammarker lawyer, John Grenier, secured commitments from 271 of 279 southern convention delegates to back Goldwater. Grenier went on to serve as executive director of the national GOP during the Goldwater campaign. This was the Number 2 position to party chairman Dean Burch, Goldwater's fellow Arizonan.

Goldwater boldly (and famously) declared in his acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican Convention: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." This paraphrase of Cicero was included at the suggestion of Harry V. Jaffa, though the speech was primarily written by Karl Hess. Due to President Johnson's popularity, however, Goldwater held back from attacking the president directly; he did not even mention Johnson by name in his convention speech.

Past comments came back to haunt Goldwater throughout his campaign. Once he called the Eisenhower administration "a dime-store New Deal," and the former president never fully forgave him. Eisenhower did, however, film a TV commercial with Goldwater. Eisenhower qualified his voting for Goldwater in November by remarking that he had voted not specifically for Goldwater, but for the Republican Party. In December 1961, Goldwater told a news conference that "sometimes I think this country would be better off if we could just saw off the Eastern Seaboard and let it float out to sea". That comment boomeranged on him during the campaign in the form of a Johnson television commercial, as did remarks about making Social Security voluntary, and statements in Tennessee about selling the Tennessee Valley Authority, a large local New Deal employer.

The Goldwater campaign spotlighted Ronald Reagan, who gave a stirring, nationally-televised speech, "A Time for Choosing," in support of Goldwater. The speech prompted Reagan to seek the California Governorship in 1966 and jump-started his political career. Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, later well-known for her fight against the Equal Rights Amendment, first became known for writing a pro-Goldwater book, A Choice, Not an Echo, attacking the liberal Republican establishment. Senator Prescott Bush (1895–1972), a liberal Republican from Connecticut, was a friend of Goldwater's and supported him in the general election campaign. Bush's son, George H.W. Bush (then running for the Senate from Texas against Democrat Ralph Yarborough), was also a strong Goldwater supporter in both the nomination and general election campaigns. Future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and fellow Arizonan William Rehnquist also first came to the attention of national Republicans through his work as a legal adviser to Goldwater's 1964 campaign. Goldwater was painted as a dangerous figure by the Johnson campaign, which countered Goldwater's slogan "In your heart, you know he's right" with the lines "In your guts, you know he's nuts," and "In your heart, you know he might" (that is, might actually use nuclear weapons, as opposed to merely subscribing to deterrence). Johnson himself did not mention Goldwater in his own acceptance speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Goldwater's provocative advocacy of aggressive tactics to prevent the spread of communism in Asia led to effective counterattacks from Lyndon B. Johnson and his supporters, who claimed that Goldwater's militancy would have dire consequences, possibly even nuclear war. Regarding Vietnam, Goldwater charged that Johnson's policy was devoid of "goal, course, or purpose," leaving "only sudden death in the jungles and the slow strangulation of freedom." Goldwater's own rhetoric on nuclear war was viewed by many as quite uncompromising, a view buttressed by off-hand comments such as, "Let's lob one into the men's room at the Kremlinmarker."

Goldwater did his best to counter the Johnson attacks, criticizing the Johnson administration for its perceived ethical lapses, and stating in a commercial that "…we, as a nation, are not far from the kind of moral decay that has brought on the fall of other nations and people…I say it is time to put conscience back in government. And by good example, put it back in all walks of American life." Goldwater campaign commercials included statements of support by actor Raymond Massey and moderate Republican senator Margaret Chase Smith.

Before the 1964 election, the muckraking magazine Fact, published by Ralph Ginzburg, ran a special issue entitled ‘The Unconscious of a Conservative: A Special Issue on the Mind of Barry Goldwater.’ The two main articles contended that Goldwater was mentally unfit to be president. The magazine attempted to support this claim with the results of an unscientific poll of psychiatrists it had conducted. Fact had mailed questionnaires to 12,356 psychiatrists, and published a ‘sampling’ of the comments made by the 2,417 psychiatrists who responded, of which 1,189 said Goldwater was unfit to be president. After the election, Goldwater sued the publisher, the editor and the magazine for libel. "Although the jury awarded Goldwater only $1.00 in compensatory damages against all three defendants, it went on to [396 U.S. 1049, 1050] award him punitive damages of $25,000 against Ginzburg and $50,000 against Fact magazine, Inc." According to Warren Boroson, then-managing editor of Fact and now a financial columnist, the main biography of Goldwater in the magazine was written by David Bar-Illan, the Israeli pianist. He went on to say "Goldwater sued me for $2 million. (He collected 33 cents.)"

A Democratic campaign advertisement known as Daisy showed a young girl counting daisy petals, from one to ten. Immediately following this scene, a voiceover counted down: ten, nine, eight,…three, two, one. The child's face was shown as a still photograph followed by images of nuclear explosions and mushroom clouds. The campaign advertisement ended with a plea to vote for Johnson, implying that Goldwater (whose name was not mentioned) would provoke a nuclear war if elected. The advertisement, which featured only a few spoken words of narrative and relied on imagery for its emotional impact, was one of the most provocative moments in American political campaign history, and many analysts credit it as being the birth of the modern style of "negative political ads" on television. The ad only aired once, and was immediately pulled, but then was shown numerous times by television stations.

Goldwater only won his home state of Arizona and five states in the south, depicted in red.
Capturing 61.1% of the popular vote and 486 electors, Johnson won in a landslide.

In the end, Goldwater received 38.4% of the popular vote, and carried six states: the core states of the Deep South, Alabamamarker, Georgiamarker, Louisianamarker, Mississippimarker, and South Carolinamarker; and his home state of Arizonamarker. In all, Johnson won an overwhelming 486 electoral votes, to Goldwater's 52. Goldwater, with his customary bluntness, remarked: "We would have lost even if Abraham Lincoln had come back and campaigned with us."

Goldwater's poor showing, plus the tendency at the time for most people to vote a "straight ticket" (that is, loyally voting for every candidate from the same party as their Presidential choice), was associated with the defeat of many other long-time Republican officeholders from Congress through local races.

Goldwater maintained later in life that he would have won the election if the country had not been in a state of extended grief (referring to the assassination of John F. Kennedy), and that it was simply not ready for a third President in just fourteen months. It has frequently been argued that Goldwater's strong performance in Southern states previously regarded as Democratic strongholds foreshadowed a larger shift in electoral trends in the coming decades that would make the south a Republican bastion (an end to the "Solid South") — first in presidential politics and eventually at the congressional and state levels, as well.

Goldwater and the revival of American conservatism

Although Goldwater was not as important in the American conservative movement as Ronald Reagan after 1965, he shaped and redefined the movement from the late 1950s to 1964. Arizona Senator John McCain summed up Goldwater's legacy thus: "He transformed the Republican Party from an Eastern elitist organization to the breeding ground for the election of Ronald Reagan." The columnist George Will remarked after the 1980 Presidential election that it took 16 years to count the votes from 1964 and Goldwater won.

The Republican Party recovered from the 1964 election debacle, picking up 47 seats in the House of Representatives in the mid-term election of 1966. Further Republican successes ensued, including Goldwater's return to the Senate in 1968. Throughout the 1970s, as the conservative wing under Reagan gained control of the party, Goldwater concentrated on his Senate duties, especially in military affairs. He played little part in the election or administration of Richard Nixon, but he helped force Nixon's resignation in 1974. In 1976 he helped block Rockefeller's renomination as Vice President. When Reagan challenged Ford for the presidential nomination in 1976, Goldwater endorsed Ford, looking for consensus rather than conservative idealism. As one historian notes, "The Arizonan had lost much of his zest for battle."

In 1979, when President Jimmy Carter normalized relations with Communist Chinamarker, Goldwater and some other senators sued him in the Supreme Courtmarker, arguing that the president could not terminate the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty with Republic of Chinamarker (Taiwanmarker) without the approval of Congress. The case was known as Goldwater v. Carter, which was dismissed by the court as a political question. Presently, there is no official ruling on whether the President has the power to break a treaty without the approval of Congress, and the courts also declined to interfere when President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, six months after giving the required notice of intent.

Later life

Signing autographs at the Fiesta Bowl parade in 1983.
By the 1980s, with Ronald Reagan as president and the growing involvement of the religious right in conservative politics, Goldwater's libertarian views on personal issues were revealed; he believed that they were an integral part of true conservatism. Goldwater viewed abortion as a matter of personal choice, not intended for government intervention.

As a passionate defender of personal liberty, he saw the religious right's views as an encroachment on personal privacy and individual liberties. In his 1980 Senate reelection campaign, Goldwater won support from religious conservatives but in his final term voted consistently to uphold legalized abortion and, in 1981, gave a speech on how he was angry about the bullying of American politicians by religious organizations, and would "fight them every step of the way". Goldwater also disagreed with the Reagan administration on certain aspects of foreign policy (e.g. he opposed the decision to mine Nicaraguan harbors). Notwithstanding his prior differences with Dwight D. Eisenhower, Goldwater in a 1986 interview rated him the best of the seven Presidents with whom he had worked.

On May 12, 1986, Goldwater was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.

After his retirement in 1987, Goldwater described the conservative Arizona Governor Evan Mecham as "hardheaded" and called on him to resign, and two years later stated that the Republican party had been taken over by a "bunch of kooks".In a 1994 interview with the Washington Post the retired senator said,

In response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell's opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, "Every good Christian should be concerned", Goldwater retorted: "Every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass." Goldwater also had harsh words for his one-time political protege, President Reagan, particularly after the Iran-Contra Affair became public in 1986. Journalist Robert MacNeil, a friend of Goldwater's from the 1964 Presidential campaign, recalled interviewing him in his office shortly afterward. "He was sitting in his office with his hands on his cane...and he said to me, 'Well, aren't you going to ask me about the Iranmarker arms sales?' It had just been announced that the Reagan administration had sold arms to Iran. And I said, 'Well, if I asked you, what would you say?' He said, 'I'd say it's the god-damned stupidest foreign policy blunder this country's ever made!'", though aside from the Iran-Contra scandal, Goldwater thought nonetheless that Reagan was a good president. Also, in 1988 during that year's presidential campaign, he pointedly told vice-presidential nominee Dan Quayle at a campaign event in Arizona "I want you to go back and tell George Bush to start talking about the issues."

Some of Goldwater's statements in the 1990s aggravated many social conservatives. He endorsed Democrat Karan English in an Arizona congressional race, urged Republicans to lay off Bill Clinton over the Whitewater scandal, and criticized the military's ban on homosexuals: "Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar." He also said, "You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight." A few years before his death he went so far as to address the right wing, "Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you've hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have."

In 1996, he told Bob Dole, whose own presidential campaign received lukewarm support from conservative Republicans: "We're the new liberals of the Republican party. Can you imagine that?" In that same year, with Senator Dennis DeConcini, Goldwater endorsed an Arizonamarker initiative to legalize medical marijuana against the will of social conservatives.


Goldwater was known in Las Vegas as a “swinger”, or someone who enjoyed the casinos of Las Vegas and the plush suites in clubs such as the Flamingo and the Riviera. He had personal and financial relationships with two racketeers – Willie Bioff and Gus Greenbaum – both of whom were later murdered in gangland executions. Bioff gained control of Hollywood labor unions in the 1930s. In 1941, Bioff was indicted for violating the federal anti-racketeering statutes, and was later convicted of extortion in connection with his management of those unions. Bioff turned state’s witness and assisted in the prosecution of nine Chicago Mafia partners. Greenbaum was a Las Vegas casino operator for various Mafia interests.

When Goldwater began his relationship with Bioff, Bioff was already a convicted labor extortionist. Goldwater said of Bioff at various times that he either did not know of Bioff’s criminal history, or that he was associating with Bioff in order to learn more about labor racketeering. In 1952, Goldwater convinced a local newspaper not to publish a story about Bioff’s criminal history. Goldwater promptly received a $5,000 contribution from Bioff. Goldwater flew Bioff to parties all over the Southwest in his private plane.

On November 17, 1963, Goldwater held a press conference in Pittsburgh in which he denounced news reports of his gangland associations.

Hobbies and interests

Amateur radio

Goldwater was an avid amateur radio operator from the early 1920s onwards, with the call signs 6BPI, K3UIG and K7UGA. The latter is now used by an Arizona club honoring him as a commemorative call. During the Vietnam War, he spent many hours giving servicemen overseas the ability to talk to their families at home over the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS).

Goldwater was also a prominent spokesman for amateur radio and its enthusiasts. Beginning in 1969 up to his death he appeared in numerous educational and promotional films (and later videos) about the hobby that were produced for the American Radio Relay League (the United States national society representing the interests of radio amateurs) by such producers as Dave Bell (W6AQ), ARRL Southwest Director John R. Griggs (W6KW), Alan Kaul (W6RCL), Forrest Oden (N6ENV), Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF) and the late Roy Neal (K6DUE). His first appearance was in Dave Bell's "The World of Amateur Radio" where Goldwater discussed the history of the hobby and demonstrated a live contact with Antarctica. His last on-screen appearance dealing with "ham radio" was in 1994, explaining a then-upcoming, Earth-orbiting ham radio relay satellite.

Electronics were a hobby for Goldwater beyond amateur radio. He enjoyed assembling Heathkits, completing more than 100 and often visiting their maker in Benton Harbor, Michiganmarker to buy more, before the company exited the kit business in 1992.

Kachina dolls

Over half of the kachina dolls at the Heard Museum were donated by Goldwater
In 1916, Goldwater visited the Hopi Reservation with Phoenix architect John Rinker Kibby, and obtained his first kachina doll. Eventually his collection of dolls included 437 items, presented in 1969 to the Heard Museum in Phoenix.


Goldwater was an accomplished amateur photographer and in his estate left some 15,000 of his images to three Arizona institutions. He was very keen on candid photography. He got started in photography after receiving a camera as a gift from his wife on their first Christmas together. He was known to use a 4x5 Graflex, Rolleiflex camera, and Nikon 35 mm.

For decades, he contributed photographs of his home state to Arizona Highways and was best known for his Western landscapes and pictures of native Americans in the United States. Three books with his photographs are People and Places, from 1967; Barry Goldwater and the Southwest, from 1976; and Delightful Journey, first published in 1940 and reprinted in 1970. Ansel Adams wrote a foreword to the 1976 book.

Son Michael Prescott Goldwater formed the Goldwater Family Foundation with the goal of making his father's photography available via the internet. ( Barry Goldwater Photographs) was launched in September 2006 to coincide with the HBO documentary "Mr. Conservative", produced by granddaughter CC Goldwater.


Goldwater was one of the more prominent American politicians to openly show an interest in UFOs.

On March 28, 1975, Goldwater wrote to Shlomo Arnon: "The subject of UFOs has interested me for some long time. About ten or twelve years ago I made an effort to find out what was in the building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Basemarker where the information has been stored that has been collected by the Air Force, and I was understandably denied this request. It is still classified above Top Secret." Goldwater further wrote that there were rumors the evidence would be released, and that he was "just as anxious to see this material as you are, and I hope we will not have to wait much longer."(Also Good, 405)

The April 25, 1988 issue of The New Yorker carried an interview where Goldwater said he repeatedly asked his friend, Gen. Curtis LeMay, if there was any truth to the rumors that UFO evidence was stored in a secret room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Basemarker, and if he (Goldwater) might have access to the room. According to Goldwater, an angry LeMay gave him "holy hell" and said, "Not only can't you get into it but don't you ever mention it to me again."

In a 1988 interview on Larry King's radio show, Goldwater was asked if he thought the U.S. Government was withholding UFO evidence; he replied "Yes, I do." He added:

Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986. Its goal is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

The Scholarship is widely considered the most prestigious award in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences. It is awarded to about 300 students (college sophomores and juniors) nationwide in the amount of $7500 per academic year (for their senior year, or junior and senior years).


Goldwater's public appearances stopped in late 1996 after he suffered a massive stroke; family members then disclosed he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. He died on May 29, 1998, at the age of 89 in Paradise Valley, Arizonamarker, of complications from the stroke. His remains were cremated.

Buildings and monuments

Among the buildings and monuments named after Barry Goldwater are: the Barry M. Goldwater Terminal at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airportmarker, Goldwater Memorial Park in Paradise Valley, AZ, and Barry Goldwater High School in northern Phoenix.


Goldwater's granddaughter, CC Goldwater, has co-produced with long time friend and indie-film producer Tani L. Cohen a documentary on Goldwater's life, "Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater", first shown on HBO on September 18, 2006.

Electoral history

See also



  • Goldwater, Barry. The Conscience of a Conservative (1963) ISBN 0-89526-540-0
  • Goldwater, Barry. Why Not Victory? A fresh look at American policy (1963)
  • Goldwater, Barry. Conscience of a Majority (1971) ISBN 0-671-78096-4
  • Goldwater, Barry. Arizona (1977) ISBN 0-938379-04-6
  • Goldwater, Barry. With No Apologies: The Outspoken Political Memoirs of America's Conservative Conscience (1979) ISBN 0-425-04663-X
  • Goldwater, Barry. Goldwater (1988) ISBN 0-385-23947-5, autobiography

Other primary sources

  • George H. Gallup, ed., The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion, 1935–1971, vol. 3. (1972)
  • Karl Hess, In A Cause That Will Triumph: The Goldwater Campaign and the Future of Conservatism (1967), memoir by Goldwater's speechwriter

Secondary sources

  • Mary C. Brennan, Turning Right in the Sixties: The Conservative Capture of the G.O.P. (University of North Carolina Press, 1995)
  • Edwards, Lee. Goldwater (1995). biography
  • Goldberg, Robert Alan. Barry Goldwater (1995), the standard scholarly biography
  • Godfrey Hodgson, The World Turned Right Side Up: A History of the Conservative Ascendancy in America (1996).
  • Jeffrey J. Matthews. "To Defeat a Maverick: The Goldwater Candidacy Revisited, 1963–1964." Presidential Studies Quarterly. 27#1 1997. pp 662+.
  • Perlstein, Rick. Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus (2001) New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 0-8090-2859-X. On the 1964 campaign.
  • White, Theodore, The Making of the President: 1964 (1965)
  • The New Yorker, April 25, 1988, p 70

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