The Liberal Republican: Jacob Javits – 1967 – Past Daily Reference Room
Jacob Koppel Javits (May 18, 1904 – March 7, 1986) was an American politician who represented New York in both houses of Congress. He was a liberal Republican allied with Governor Nelson Rockefeller and fellow Senators Irving Ives and Kenneth Keating.
In 1967 there still was such a thing as the Liberal wing of the GOP. We might be tempted to call them Clinton Democrats today, but in 1967 they represented the last gasp in an attempt to keep the GOP all-inclusive. The writing had been scribbled on the wall as early as 1954, with McCarthyism and the Red Scare spreading throughout the country. Groups like The John Birch Society were making inroads to the party, stoking fears of a Communist takeover of the country and that even Eisenhower appeared to be left-leaning.
The momentum of the movement became more visible during the 1962 mid-term elections, when a slate of hard right candidates ran for office. It was largely unsuccessful. But it reared its radical head in 1964 when Barry Goldwater and his faction of hard-right supporters got Goldwater the nomination for President. Many felt it was the death-knell for the Liberal wing. And even though Goldwater was resoundingly defeated in his bid for the Presidency, it set into motion the makings of a platform that was hawkish in its Foreign Policy and staunchly anti-government in its economic outlook. 1968 would prove to be a watershed year for the Republican Party and Richard Nixon would be its standard bearer.
But that was 1968, a whole year away from this broadcast of Face The Nation and a sit-down Q&A with New York Senator Jacob Javits, from February 19, 1967. 1967 would prove to be a turning point in Politics – with the Vietnam War creating a precipitous drop in LBJ’s approval rating, the urban riots ripping cities apart and a general loss in faith of which direction our country was going. It would be ripe for a change, and Javits speculated on what the GOP could bring to the table, although Nixon wasn’t in consideration at the time, he felt the natural choice for the GOP would be George Romney (father of Mitt Romney).
1968 was a long time away – an eternity by most standards.
So to give you an idea of what positions were, and just who this Liberal Wing of GOP was, here is that Face The Nation episode from 1967 with Jacob Javits.