He said, "Just call me Barry." And so we did.
At the RightOnline Summit in Austin last weekend, the son of Mr. Conservative himself proved to be a wonderful ally on limited government issues, a humble patriot and man of the people, and a fantastic friend with a wicked sense of humor. Barry Goldwater Jr. was endearing and polite, but not afraid to crack a few jokes. My favorite was one he pulled on me as we walked through the lobby together after his speech. Goldwater: "It's such a fine night, and I packed my swimsuit. I think I might go for a dip in the pool!" Me: "That does sound nice. I brought mine too, but I find that every time I pack my swimsuit I never end up using it." He instantly responded with, "Oh you NAUGHTY girl!"
And so it began, my love affair with Barry. He will always be my hero. He does not hesitate to call it like it is, even when his opinion might be unpopular. Men with spines that strong are rare these days. Here are some quotes from him at dinner:
"Some of you remember when we had a conscience of a conservative. Let me remind you that a conservative is one who seeks to expand individual liberty and resists accumulation of power by those who claim they know best."
"A conservative Republican Party took over Congress in the 90s with their Contract with America, promising change, limited government, and reform. It was dubbed a 'revolution' because it ended 40 years of continuous Democrat domination. Within a decade, the Republicans (with the help of our President) became everything that they had campaigned against, and were soundly booted out of Congress. Today, burdened by internal divisions and a discredited President, who I question whether he knows what a conservative is, the Republicans are in retreat. There’s a somewhat listless attitude, a defeated morale, a lack of confidence. Facing an uncertain future, conservatives are looking back to their iconic leaders: William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater for direction, and perhaps inspiration."
“Early in our nation’s history, people like my great-grandfather didn’t expect the government to wipe their nose or raise their children. They did not ask the government for anything except to leave them alone to build their own empire as they envisioned it. They valued hard work, which was rewarded with satisfaction and pride. Instead of feeling entitled to free stuff, they felt thankful to be free.”
Regarding his dad's sense of humor: “He once said, ‘Hubert Humphrey talked so fast it was like trying to read Playboy magazine with your wife turning the pages.’ And ‘It’s a great country where everybody can grow up to be President, except me.”
"We have an interesting time in this election, where we watch our two major candidates try to move themselves to the center. Obama’s coming to the center. McCain is coming to the center. Obama has become Bill Cosby on responsibility, George Bush on Iraq, and I think next week he’ll join Israel in attacking Iran, and opting for shooting caribou and drilling in Anwar.”
"Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater were cut from somewhat the same cloth. They were the most influential politicians advancing this conservative-libertarian philosophy in the 20th Century. There were very few conservatives prior to 1964. A fundamental key to their success of moving conservatism to the mainstream of America was their moral leadership. The Reagan Revolution was more than just tax reform and ending the Cold War. He provided leadership when it was needed. That is why we are together today, to find a common purpose, to bring all of our organizations and groups together to create a goal and a purpose, to redefine conservatism, offer positive solutions for today’s social programs, and find a leader in the mold of Reagan and Goldwater. And as Churchill once advised us, 'Never, never give up.'"
Thanks, Barry, for stopping in Austin to inspire a whole new generation of conservatives. (We can always skinny dip next time.)