WHAT HAPPENED TO GOLDWATER, by Stephen Shaddeg. Helt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1965 200 Pages.
The title of this book asks a tantalizing question. Unfortunately, 272 pages of content are unequal to the query.
Stephen Shaddeg watched the 1964 presidential campaign from a perch on the second rung of the Goldwater hierarcy. (He was a regional director for 11 far western states.) As the man who managed Goldwater's two successful Senatorial races, Shaddeg clearly did not like what he saw.
He describes a political organization ridden with tension and rent by personal feuds. He pictures the Goldwater effort as crippled by disunity and lack of planning. His disgust runs so deep that at one point he observes, in certain exaggeration, "Almost every unfortunate incident of the campaign could have been prevented by adequate advance planning. In the confusion and uncertainty that actually prevailed, it is perhaps miraculous that Goldwater did as well as he did.
Specifically, Shaddeg was irritated by what seemed to be an almost systematic disregard for sound political advice. He accuses Goldwater of abandoning proven political talent. He is particularly bitter about the relegation of Clift White-early genius of the campaign-to a secondary status in the Goldwater camp. He bristles over things like the "naming of four relatively unknown Arizonans as campaign directors." And the why of it all is simple, as Shaddeg sees it.
Running with Losers
"A review of the men he has chosen to be his administrative assistants and political advisors," says Shaddeg of the former Senator, "suggests that Goldwater always sought people personally loyal to him and willing to serve him without question or contradiction." Thus, Dean Burch was selected as GOP national chairman because Goldwater felt Ray Bliss-the man who has since replaced Burch-"could not be trusted."
Emphasizing the internal instability that sabotaged the Goldwater forces, Shaddeg lambastes speechwriters who toyed with ideas and ignored the counsel of experienced politicians. Goldwater did nothing to mend the flaws in his organization. The Republican nominee kept silent, supplying neither the control nor the inspiration that could have soldered together the splitting elements which supported him. Shaddeg leaves the impression that Goldwater would have obediently read anything his speechwriters handed him-indicating that he possessed a powerful general credo but nothing concrete on which to built a winning campaign.
So the real story of Goldwater's landslide burial is that he did not lead his campaign. It is a story that still has not been told well enough. Shaddeg and many others have made the generalization; no one has yet furnished the details and the insight that wold make the generalization useful.
Repeatedly, for example, Shaddeg declares that Goldwater the Presidential Candidate was a different man from Goldwater the Senator. But he never says very much about the difference. Caught between his friendship for Goldwater (to whom the book is dedicated "with affection and admiration") and the fact of the horrendous GOP failure, Shaddeg keeps his criticism, vague and muted.
What results is a partial-and unsatisfactory-sketch of the 1964 debacle. Goldwater did not lead his campaign because he never really felt a deep personal desire to become President. "He agreed to run," Shaddeg lamely states, 'because there was nothing else he could do."
For Lack of Wanting
Although Shaddeg does not adequately explain the Arizonan's reluctance to run, he makes plain the disastrous consequences:
-First, a lack of planning and coordination, all flowing from Goldwater's refusal to take command.
-Second, listless campaigning habits, and a failure to generate confidence and energy in his followers. According to Shaddeg's report, after one speech Goldwater "left the rossrum, paused only briefly to speak to one person at the edge of the crowd, then entered the elevator and went up to his suite on the fiftenth floor. His sudden departure had not been prearranged. In his 1958 campaign...Goldwater had always stayed around and visited with the audience afterwards." The candidate's coldness naturally left the "disappointed Goldwater supporters...angry and bewildered."
-Third, a view of the campaign not as pursuit of the Presidency, but rather as a conservative crusade. It was largely for the sake of the cause that Goldwater decided to run. Thus he continually snubbed those who wanted to see him President-the politicians-and favored those who held the conservative banner foremost.
But the 1964 campaign was not at all that simple. Many of the most effective Republican politicians also regarded the campaign as a crusade. Certainly Shaddeg and White did. Nor can any book claim to tell the full story while shrugging off Kennedy's assassination, the Republican primaries, and the political polish of LBJ, as this one does.
And what about the future of Barry Goldwater? He has already announced that he will seek the Senate in 1968. Did the campaign change him? Equally important, what about the political forces that won Goldwater the nomination? Do they still own some allegiance to their fallen champion?
All these questions Shaddeg leaves unanswered, and unasked.
Yet by describing the If there is a message of more lasting significances in Shaddeg's book, it may be this: to become President, a non-war hero must not only want victory: he must lust after it. Kennedy, Roosevelt, Truman in '48, all drove themselves relentlessly. Johnson, as we all know, was and is a man obsessed. Goldwater was obsessed too, but with his fuzzy Conservatism and his supposed enemies in the GOP, not with the Presidency