Monday, August 8, 2016

Chimps, Chumps, Nukes and Drumpf: the Goldwater rule

It's back!
In the 1964 election, GOP candidate Barry Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson.  LBJ won by a landslide, with Goldwater winning only the state of Arizona and the deep southern former confederacy states.  Current GOP candidate has been striving apparently to repeat or exceed / 'trump' that bad performance in the general election in November 2016.

One of the fears about Goldwater who, like Trump, opposed civil rights legislation, was that he was also too dangerous in temperament to entrust with nukes, a concern which is again in the public square as regards Donald Trump.  And in response the APA has reiterated the Goldwater rule.

The Goldwater supporters espoused the slogan, "in your heart you know he is right", while opponents responded with "in your guts you know he's nuts".  The issue of mental health was a real one, in spite of the use of a casual slang term used to stigmatize real mental illness.  It appears to be a serious concern again.

It is worth noting, that Trump is now appearing to lose in both Arizona and the deep south, per the current polls.  The last democrat to win in Arizona and in some southern states was Bill Clinton.

At the time, the American  Psychiatric Association felt that it was necessary to issue what became known as the Goldwater rule, a rule in response to psychiatrists expressing negative opinions on the mental state of presidential nominee Goldwater in a magazine of the day.  Goldwater sued and wona law suit regarding the article.

The rule reads:
On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individual who is in the light of public attention or who has disclosed information about himself/herself through public media. In such circumstances, a psychiatrist may share with the public his or her expertise about psychiatric issues in general. However, it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.
The television ad below, which did not run very widely at all, aired on September 7th, 1964, underlining that concern about temperament.  The timing is not all that different from the rising concerns about Trump's erratic temperament problems.

A local conservative blogger and propaganda pusher, Mitch Berg, some years ago wrote in a rant that even a chimp who was consistent with conservative thinking and policies would be more successful and more acceptable to conservatives than any liberal. It appears he got the essence of his wish in the candidacy of Trump, supported by the dumbed down extreme right that is all that really remains of the old GOP after they drove out the moderate and more liberal members, and embraced the crazy evangelical right and the more militant racists and other extremists, like the militias and sovereign citizens.  Instead of an actual chimp, the chumps, aka Trumpanzees, on the right have primaried Donald Trump into the position of nominee, along with a young earth and creationist promoting unpopular governor, Mike Pence as Veep. 

Even Goldwater rejected the crazy evangelicals, as he demonstrated with this quote:

“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.”

Bonus points if any of you can remember who Goldwater's VP was, or are familiar with his liberal media figure daughter.

It is unlikely that either Trump or Pence can carry their home states of New York or Indiana in the general election, much less Goldwater's home state of Arizona apparently.  The duo of dumb appear to be losing steadily, but it is still early days, giving them even more time to make unforced errors that will appeal to the chump base.  Extremism about nukes, about minorities, anti-immigrants, theocracy, etc. seems to be a cyclical problem for the right which cannot be stopped or corrected until they themselves self-destruct.

With Trump, and his supporters, the countdown has begun. Again.

No comments:

Post a Comment