While the ructions over the split in their particular faction of the Peoples’ Front of Judea show no sign of ending just yet – a topic on which Zelo Street may have more later – the humourless Robin Shepherd, still soldiering on with the increasingly zombie-like Commentator, and his former partner in crime Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam continue their mission to spew right-wing nonsense.
But here a problem enters: we know that “Ray”, like all those other clever people who talk loudly in restaurants, loves to show off how frightfully clever he is. But what exactly does he stand for? Does he have any principles, or is he just in it for Bigger And More Loving Audiences For Himself Personally Now? The presence otherwise known as Old Holborn decided to ask The Great Man.
“Serious question. Do you consider yourself a Libertarian or a NeoCon?” he asked of Kassam. And “Ray” had a suitably clever reply for OH: “Neither, honestly. I consider myself a Goldwater conservative” he told. Many out there who are not of A Certain Age may be puzzled by that reference, so let me provide some background on the former five-term Senator from Arizona.
Barry Goldwater has two memorable achievements to his name: the more recent was in 1974, when he was the leading Republican Party figure urging Richard Nixon to resign for the sake of the office of President, and his party, in the face of certain impeachment over the Watergate affair. Had Goldwater not acted, and demonstrated leadership, it would have been yet worse for the GOP.
But Goldwater’s most memorable achievement was securing the Republican nomination to contest the 1964 Presidential Election, in which he was humiliated by Lyndon Johnson and won only five states – including his own – and a total of 52 electoral college votes to LBJ’s 486. Those other four states were part of the South, registering their opposition to the Civil Rights Act.
Many of Goldwater’s previous comments, and his suggestion that he really would consider pressing the nuclear button if elected, returned to haunt him. Private Eye magazine was on the mark with the cover of Issue 67, showing what could be construed as someone holding a microphone to Goldwater’s backside, with the word balloon “Speak up, Senator, we can’t quite hear you”.
Yes, for Eye aficionados, Barry Goldwater is fondly remembered as the losing candidate who was caught talking out of his arse. And “Ray” Kassam considers himself “a Goldwater conservative”. So those who already thought he talked out of his arse can consider themselves suitably prescient. Here on Zelo Street there is no surprise at the news: I’ve always considered “Ray” to be full of crap.
But now, of his own volition, he’s owned up to it. What a star.
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