1964 and the campaign for the Presidency. In this episode of NBC’s Meet The Press – campaign manager for Barry Goldwater, Denison Kitchel is interviewed by the panel. The big question was regarding this new wave of Conservatism sweeping the Republican party. Was Goldwater the right man at the right time, or was this a power play within the ranks of the party for control? Many voiced doubts that Goldwater would be good for the country, particularly in 1964, when the Civil Rights Movement was ramping up to fever-pitch and that violence against the movement was stepping up as well. Fears were expressed that, since Goldwater (who was still in the Senate at the time) was vocal in his opposition to the bill and vowed to vote against it, it would became something of a rallying cry for a number of extremist groups to throw their support in his direction namely; The Ku Klux Klan and several of the States Rights groups and Dixiecrats who had broken away from the Democratic Party, favoring Goldwater’s stand on racial issues, not to mention his active dislike for Communism.
But Goldwater could not win if his support consisted solely of the extremist wing of the party – he needed to broaden his appeal. The conservative base of the party was small, but growing – he still needed moderates, and in some cases the liberal wing of the Republican party, in order to shore up any lingering doubts as to Barry Goldwater’s electability on a broad base of appeal, come November.
So this program is devoted to that, particularly since the Convention was already underway and the behind-the-scenes brokering and negotiation was going on in earnest. As of this June 14th, it was still not a done-deal and anything could have happened to upset Goldwater’s potential victory by the time delegate voting came around.
But to get a picture of the political climate during this soon-to-be-considered pivotal moment in the life of a of the Republican Party, here is that interview with Goldwater Campaign manager Dension Kitchel, as it was heard over NBC Radio on June 14, 1964.