Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chamberlain, J. (1966, August 11). GOP conservatism rides rising tide. The Evening Independent, p. 12-A.

Chamberlain, J. (1966, August 11). GOP conservatism rides rising tide. TheEvening Independent, p. 12-A.

In a quote that sounds as if it could be pulled from the headlines in 2012, John Chamberlain noted in 1966 that:
The self-styled moderate Republicans who as often as not are characterized by the immoderation with which they denounce their opponents, keep on contending that their supporters constitute the mainstream of Republicanism.  But what they can’t explain is why the mainstream isn’t flowing through the voting booths in their direction in the primaries.

The article goes on to cite the primary defeats of incumbent Idaho governor Robert Smylie, as well as alleged shenanigans on the part of a Smylie protégé, Hope Kadling, with regards to the conservative Young Republicans.  

Chamberlain goes on to note:
The Republican tide, in virtually all states west of the Alleghenies and south of the Potomac, continues to flow in a conservative direction.

Chamberlain perceived Ronald Reagan’s impressive showing in the CA Republican primary as, “part of a general groundswell.”

In contrast to our current tendency to envision a bicameral Republican Party (i.e., conservatives and moderates/liberals, or Tea Party types and “establishment Republicans”), in his day Chamberlain saw an authentic middle between the factions represented by Reagan and Goldwater, and that led by Smylie, Scott, et al.  Chamberlain considered the middle ground to be occupied by the likes of Richard Nixon and George Romney.

In an excellent illustration of history’s cyclical nature, Chamberlain closed with comments that could be applied (with some minor tweaks) to our current presidential election:
Will all the little disaffections (strikes, the high cost of living, the failure of antipoverty programs, violence in the slums, the disappearance of investment capital, the collapse of the housing industry, and the uncertainties of the Vietnamese war) combining to plague the Democrats, 1966 could be a Republican year. 
Ya think?

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