...We don't have to guess about what Goldwater would do. During the 1964 presidential campaign, he faced almost precisely the same issue. In October, the Goldwater campaign learned that Walter Jenkins, LBJ's closest aide, had been arrested on a 'morals charge' in the YMCA bathroom. According to J. William Middendorf's account of that campaign, A Glorious Disaster, Goldwater's aides wanted to use the scandal against Johnson, who was well ahead in the polls. Jenkins was not only a security risk—open to blackmail— but long before he was arrested, there were allegations he'd used his influence with then-Vice President Johnson to get an Air Force general who had been busted on a morals charge reinstated. The Goldwater aides even tried out slogans: 'Either way with LBJ.'
Goldwater insisted that they make no use of it. The story never came up during the campaign. This may say more about Goldwater's personal decency than it does about his governing philosophy. Jenkins had served in Goldwater's Air Force Reserve Unit, and as Goldwater later wrote, 'It was a sad time for Jenkins' wife and children, and I was not about to add to their private sorrow. Winning isn't everything. Some things, like loyalty to friends or lasting principle, are more important.' Mitt, you're no Barry Goldwater.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Slate Magazine: By John Dickerson