Does it Matter Hillary Was A Goldwater Girl?

It might. Consider this; then you tell me…

Feb 23, 2016 · 5 min read
Hillary Clinton, who likes to complain how Bernie Sanders “Wasn’t Even A Democrat!!!” a few months ago, supported Republican Presidential Candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964. Goldwater was AGAINST the Civil Rights movement.

The Clintons, bless their confused hearts, they just don’t get it. They don’t get what it means to be a Democrat to those of us who grew up in traditional democratic families. If your parents voted for John F. Kennedy and your grandparents voted for Franklin Roosevelt, they would be ALARMED at the far-right push the party has been given by the Clintons.

Bernie Sanders, at age 21, was arrested at a Chicago Civil Rights protest. He marched with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a young man; in 1988 he endorsed Jesse Jackson for president and consistently fights for income reform and better living conditions for ALL Americans. He is endorsed by Spike Lee, Danny Glover, Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator, and numerous prominent African Americans and Latino Americans. As Americans get to know Bernie, they love him.

Most people who support Hillary Clinton for president poo poo the fact that she was a Goldwater Girl in the middle 1960s. For them, it’s just another example of how everybody’s always picking on poor Hillary Clinton.

Back then presidential candidate Barry Goldwater voted against the 1964 Civil Rights act and called it “A Dire Threat to the Liberties of African Americans.” In Goldwater’s manifesto Conscience of a Conservative he criticizes Labor Unions, welfare and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal which is widely credited among traditional Democrats (and Bernie Sanders) with restoring the United States to prosperity in the years following The Great Depression.

I don’t like to pick on Hillary about being a Goldwater Girl because she did change. In 1968 after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed she burst into her Wellesley college dorm room crying and said “I can’t take it any more.” Some see that as the moment when she had an epiphany and became a Democrat. Before then she had been class president of the Wellseley Young Republicans.

Indeed, Hillary Clinton began supporting Democratic candidates and spoke out against racial injustice. But when I look at the overall impact of Bill and Hillary Clinton on American politics, I do wonder how much she ever changed from her early days as a poster-girl conservative. Her stint as a “Goldwater Girl” wasn’t just a young girl’s desire to be with an “in” crowd and have the cutest outfits. Even as a teenager, Hillary, who adopted her father’s conservatism, was highly intelligent and politically aware. Today she is clinging to progressive ideas and wrapping herself around President Barack Obama (who she ran against and called a dreamer in 2008). Why? Because Bernie Sanders is striking a chord with liberal Democrats who are hungry for progressive change. She knows she has to take a sharp left turn or she’ll never win. But Democrats, let’s not forget how the Clintons, as pair, have done so much throughout their political history to move the Democratic party to the right.

Former President Bill Clinton might have looked like a “liberal” when he went on the Arsenio Hall Show and played his saxophone in 1992. In fact, Bill Clinton’s presidency pushed the party drastically to the right. Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement against the protest of Labor Unions (and Bernie Sanders, who staunchly opposed it). In the twenty years that followed NAFTA, 50,000 American factories disappeared and the income inequality between the rich and the poor grew by leaps and bounds. Bill Clinton also repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 which Roosevelt had put in place to protect Americans from the greed and corruption of Big Banks after the 1929 Wall Street Crash which caused The Great Depression.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has been banging that old conservative drum pretty hard herself even as she has continued to capture the hearts of Democrats. She voted in favor of the War in Iraq, which Bernie Sanders, opposed. She has since said she regrets that vote. But where was her conviction as a progressive back then? Anybody can have occasional ideas that are “progressive.” But coming down on the right side of history here and there does not a progressive make — especially when a person, like Hillary Clinton, is frequently late to the party (i.e. tardiness in supporting gay marriage and criticizing the Trans Pacific Partnership).

What makes me more convinced than anything that underneath it all, Hillary Clinton is still a Goldwateresque conservative deep down in her bones? At the last two presidential debates she BRAGGED about being friends with Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon’s pal, who progressives think should be convicted as a war criminal for his illegal and brutal carpet bombing of Cambodia. Writing a flattering blurb for Henry Kissinger’s latest book is one thing. Seeking his advice on foreign policy is yet another. But coming out on National TV in two Democratic debates and bragging about your friendship with Henry Kissinger? That unequivocally proves Hillary Clinton not only isn’t a progressive or a liberal; she doesn’t even know what it means to be a liberal or a progressive.

The Clintons, bless their confused hearts, they just don’t get it. They don’t get what it means to be a Democrat to those of us who grew up in traditional democratic families. If your parents voted for John F. Kennedy and if your grandparents voted for Franklin Roosevelt, they would be ALARMED at the far-right push the party has been given by the Clintons.

Bill and Hillary Clinton are the REASON why people who were raised in democratic families often nowadays identify as “Green party” or “Independent” or “Democratic Socialist.” Many cradle Democrats have sought out new labels to define their political values because they don’t want to be lumped in with the Factory-killing, Union-busting, corporate-donation seeking, hawkish Clintons and their ilk.

If you want to vote for Team Clinton just be aware that you are voting for the most conservative Democratic family in Democratic political history, one with a corporate fundraising machine that surpasses that of the Bush family.

The Clintons personally enriched themselves and earned millions of dollars ($150 million since Bill left office) during the same period of time that American factories were closing, American jobs were moving overseas, and average American workers were getting the lifeblood sucked out of them by corrupt and unregulated Wall Street. The Washington Post reported that Bernie Sanders was right on target when he said during the PBS Debate that the U.S. African American Community lost HALF its wealth as a result of the Wall Street Collapse.


During the same time period the Clintons made millions and millions and millions on speeches to Wall Street and corporations.

Now you tell me:

Does it matter that Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater Girl?

Patty Jane

Written by

Former newspaper journalist living in Ypsilanti Michigan, started writing about the 2016 primary, now sharing musings about feminism, progressivism or whatever.

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