A Story Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and William F. Buckley Jr.

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Senator Barry Goldwater during an interview in 1974 (Library of Congress)

My Impromptus column today is headed “‘Macho, macho man,’ &c.” For some people — millions — Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro represent great manliness. They certainly embody what I call “coronavirus machismo.”

Early in the pandemic, Bolsonaro said, “The Brazilian needs to be studied. He doesn’t catch anything. You see a guy jumping into sewage, diving in, right? Nothing happens to him.”

Brazil has been brutally hit by the coronavirus.

Last week, Bolsonaro said, “I am sorry about the deaths,” but “we are all going to die someday” — and “we have to stop being a country of maricas.” (That last word is a derogatory term for homosexuals.)

What is manliness? What is manhood? The question has been thought about, and written about, for ages, including in 2006, when Professor Harvey Mansfield published his book Manliness. Fascinating, valuable study.

My column today also touches on President Trump’s post-election claims, the California senator-to-be, and the Masters tournament.

Here on the Corner, I’d like to relate a Buckley story — a Goldwater-Buckley story. It is prompted by a post that KDW had: “Waiting for Goldwater.” Kevin pointed out that Goldwater led a Republican delegation to see Nixon, as Watergate crested. It’s over, said Goldwater. Leave or be impeached and evicted.

Nixon left.

WFB told a story about Goldwater and Nixon, wording it in different ways, though the outline was always the same. It went something like this:

He (WFB) and Goldwater were sitting in an airport together. The Saturday Night Massacre had just been carried out. Reporters spotted Goldwater, asking, “Do you have confidence in President Nixon?” “Complete confidence,” answered Goldwater.

When the reporters left, Goldwater turned to Bill and said, “You know, if I had fallen into a coma some years ago and woken up to this mess, I’d think, ‘By God, Dick Nixon’s gone and gotten himself elected president.’”





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