Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rearview Mirror: Reagan has relit conservative fire. (June 28, 1965)

McGrory, M. (1965, June 28). Reagan has relit conservative fire. The Evening Independent, p. 10-A.

This article begins with McGrory’s bold (and one thinks grossly oversimplistic) claim that two factors explained the excitement about a potential Reagan gubernatorial bid:  Barry Goldwater and Sen. George Murphy. 

Reagan represented hope to the dejected fans of Goldwater that newer, friendlier packaging might help them win. 

George Murphy was a former actor who’d won election to the U.S. Senate.  Therefore, Reagan’s bid had some recent historical precedent for success.  Murphy’s victory over Pierre Salinger—which McGrory attributed in part to the “face time” Murphy got via his movies playing in re-run—might be repeated in a Reagan campaign since, as she noted, “Brother Rat, The Voice of the Turtle and Knute Rockne are still around for the wakeful viewer.”

McGrory paints a picture of an extremely relaxed Reagan, unworried at all about the possibility that his campaign might fall victim to the same sort of internecine warfare that had become so common between conservative and moderate-liberal Republicans. According to McGrory, Reagan felt no particular need to repudiate the John Birch Society, nor did he in any sense fear a primary challenge by California’s liberal Republican Senator Thomas Kuchel.  She quotes Reagan, “I would be a sort of healer in the party.  I campaigned for Goldwater, but I worked just as hard for Nixon in 1960 and 1962.  I’m not a label Republican.” 

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