tv Bombs Away LBJ Goldwater and the 1964 Campaign That Changed It All PBS January 18, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PST
>> funding for "bombs away" was providedy... additional support was provided by the following... [ buzzing ] >> man: this particular phone only rings in a serious crisis. keep it in the hands of a man who's proven himself responsible. >> man: only rarely do you have an election that redefines one or both parties and sets the tone for decades to come. that's 1964. >> woman: daddy, he knew that there were things that needed to be done in this country. as he said, "now i have the opportunity, and i'm going to
make the most of it." >> man: barry goldwater was a jut-jawed, handsome arizona senator, and a conservative who spoke with clarity and decisiveness. a deeply principled man who would stand up to the eastern liberal establishment, and especially who would take a tough line in the cold war. >> goldwater: but appease an aggressor, and eventually you'll have to go to war with him. >> man: the thing about goldwater's rhetoric that scared people was that goldwater would kick off a nuclear war. you didn't want goldwater's finger next to that button. >> we have the guts to make our intentions clear -- so clear they don't need translation or interpretaon. >> man: senator goldwater was not the "extremist" that he was painted. some of the people behind him were, but he wasn't. >> sabato: in 1964, it was the grassroots in the republican party that changed the g.o.p. forever. almost the entire republican establishment either publicly
or privately abhorred goldwater, didn't want him to be the nominee and then didn't really support him when he became the nominee. >> man: it awoke a sleeping giant. people who were tired of government telling them what to do, and living their lives, and all of a sudden, goldwater brought 'em out. >> you and i have a rendezvous with destiny. >> johnson personally felt the government had to be active in people's lives in order for you to get what you needed. private industry, private sector, wasn't going to do all of it -- couldn't do all of it. >> man: if you look at the raft of laws that he passed in the subsequent year or two, it's enormous. it's most of the fabric now of our social policy. >> when johnson went with the civil rights act, remember, winning in the biggest landslide in the history of the country, he lost five southern states. >> man: certainly all the polarization we're talking about now has a lot to do with that realignment of the country, with the south becoming republican. that '64 election really changed the country.
>> man: it was a momentous election in a lot of ways. it transformed the way that politicians talked to their electorate through their advertising. >> woman: our children should have lots of vitamin "a" and calcium. but they shouldn't have any strontium-90 or cesium-137. >> the daisy commercial was born. they kicked up the notch of dirty politics. >> lyndon johnson: we must either love each other ore must die. a classic of how to define youre opponent. >> woman: johnson had said, "goldwater's already tying the rope around his neck. so let him keep doing it with all of his statements and what he's saying out there on the field, and all we have to do is give it a little tug." so the little tug were the ads that these characters concocted. >> sabato: you look back at all the election maps and you see what really caused a realignment? what caused people to think
differently about their partisan identification? and, boy, it was 1964. the ads before 1964 weren't just primitive -- they were dull. >> man: eisenhower answers america. >> the democrats have made mistakes, but aren't their intentions good? >> well, if the driver of your school bus runs into a truck, hits a lamppost, drives it into a ditch, you don't say, "his intentions are good" -- you get a new bus driver. >> what is the most important issue confronting the american people in this election campaign? >> the 1960s presents our country with great opportunities and great challenges. >> mann: they were dreadful. i think there was no room for
an emotional appeal in a political ad -- that they had to be fact-based, rational presentations. >> probably the most exciting ones involved a jingle, because it was the jingle era on television. >> ♪ ike for president ♪ ike for president ♪ ike for president ♪ ike for president ♪ you like ike, i like ike ♪ everybody likes ike for president ♪ ♪ hang out the banners, beat the drums ♪ ♪ we'll take ike to washington ♪ >> sabato: virtually every product was sold with a jingle. so "i like ike" with prancing elephants became the symbol for eisenhower in 1956. >> ♪ ♪ kennedy, kennedy, kennedy ♪ kennedy, kennedy, kennedy ♪ ken-nedy for me ♪ kennedy, kennedy, kennedy ♪ kennedy >> sabato: and john f. kennedy had the "kennedy, kennedy, kennedy, kennedy" ad that would literally drive you insane if you listen to it too many times. >> ♪ try something new >> sabato: well, in 1964, we began the era of professional television advertising that really did have an impact. >> ♪
>> mann: doyle dane bernbach was an up-and-coming advertising firm on madison avenue that was making a name for themselves with advertisements for up-and-coming firms and products that included volkswagen. john f. kennedy saw the spots and told his brother-in-law steve smith, "go find me that firm. i want to talk to them about maybe doing my advertising for my reelection in 1964." and that's how ddb came into the orbit of lyndon johnson and the dnc in 1964. johnson and the people around him, his aides and his advertising firm, wanted to portray goldwater as a dangerous man who, if he got control of the nuclear arsenal, might threaten the peace of the world.
>> goldwater, jr.: the mood of the country at the time was one of worry about the soviet union in particular. peace was a big issue. >> man: bombs away. >> d. goodwin: that fear of nuclear holocaust had been part of all of us who grew up in the '50s and '60s. and by that time, we were used to it, after hiding under our desks for so many years.
[ sawing noise ] >> man: in a saturday evening post article dated august 31, 1963, barry goldwater said, "sometimes i think this country would be better off if we could just saw off the eastern seaboard and let it float out to sea." can a man who makes statements like this be expected to serve all the people justly and fairly? vote for president johnson on november 3rd. the stak tooes areigh for you to stay home. >> califano: we had a -- i guess i would call it a rift between the so-called rockefeller republicans and the conservative republicans, rockefeller representing the liberal wing of the republican party, which, by and large, supported the great society programs, and by and large supported the civil rights legislation.
>> buchanan: the rift between goldwater and rockefeller, it goes back, basically, to the battle between taft and dewey, and between taft and eisenhower, the conservative wing of the republican party... against the eastern liberal establishment, the moneyed class, wall street. >> goldwater, jr.: the rockefellers, george romney, scranton -- they were kind of the titular heads of the party on the east coast, and the east coast pretty well ran the party. >> wasn't east and west. it was east and midwest. it was the heartland republicans. eisenhower administration was over, by the '50s, the midwestern heartland republicans were looking to take the party back.
>> goldwater, jr.: there were a lot of people that wanted him to run, and there was really nobody else that he could pass that off to. and the reason he ran was because he didn't want to let these people down, knowing he probably wasn't going to win. >> gold: it was goldwater who first said and knew he was not going to win the election because he said, the country will not take three presidents in over a period of two years. it was too much of a shock.
>> man: don't look now, young man, but somebody has his hand in your pocket. it's the hand of big government. it's taking away about four months' pay from what your daddy earns every year. $1 out of every $3 in his paycheck, and it's taking the security out of your grandmother's social security. >> you know, that's the great trouble with big inflationary government. it takes more and more of your earnings. it slowly but surely destroys individual initiative and responsibility. government must draw its strength from the people. and as it drains away their strength, it must inevitably undermine the foundations of se-governmen i ask you to join me in helping restore the individual freedoms and initiatives this nation once knew, to make government more the servant and not the master of us all. in this free nation, we do not choose to be ruled, we elect to be governed.
>> the big campaign was california. we had to take california. by that time, rockefeller was in the race. it was in that campaign that rockefeller used all the nasty stuff that was later used. rockefeller's campaign ran a tv ad that said, "senator goldwater cannot start a world war -- president goldwater could." >> sabato: rockefeller ruined his chances with a very messy divorce and a remarriage to happy murphy. they had also clearly been having an affair. happy had rockefeller's son just days before the california primary. and this was at an age when publicly known adultery was not tolerated in politicians.
>> newscaster: senator barry goldwater needs a thousand hands to receive congratulations after his victory in the california presidential primary. >> buchanan: and i've never been so excited as when barry goldwater won the california primary. i can't recall any election, including the election of richard nixon, of which i was more excited at that particular time, because i knew that meant he had the nomination. >> newscaster: however, governor rockefeller has promised a fight to the finish. now, most of the sound and fury will fade until the republicans convene in san francisco's cow palace. >> buchanan: did i think he could beat lyndon johnson at that point? basically, no. when they got to the convention at the cow palace in san francisco, the moderate liberal republicans -- scranton, rockefeller, romney -- were not reconciled to goldwater's nomination. >> goldwater, jr.: you had that eastern establishment out there who were all jockeying for
enough delegates. the goldwater contingent outmaneuvered everybody. we were so well organized. everyone had walkie-talkies, and they were in communication with a headquarters in a trailer outside the cow palace. they had every delegate identified and pinpointed, knew where he was, what his vote was going to be. they had people walking through the cow palace making sure that nobody was out of line. it was well orchestrated and very well done, and we smothered 'em and took over. [ applause ] >> i would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. [ cheers and applause ] [ horn blowing ] thank you. thank you.
thank you. and let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. [ cheers and applause ] >> gold: and when he said that, and people were stunned by the thing, one of the reporters turned around and said, "my god, he's going to run as goldwater." >> barry goldwater got up and tore that convention apart again, by that line that, "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." and i remember i was at stone harbor watching it with my father, and he wanted to see what kind of candidate goldwater was. got up and said, "he's finished." and he was. >> r. goodwin: he was way to the right of where the country was. people didn't want to hear about extremism from him,
or from any presidential candidate. >> nelson rockefeller, after the convention that nominated barry goldwater, got up to give a speech, and usually you expect a warm embrace of the candidate that did not prevail, and to unify going to the election. >> rockefeller: it is essential this convention repudiates here and now any doctrine... [ crowd jeering ] >> chafee: and he would get up to the microphone to talk, and the boos would shake the rafters. >> ...any doctrinaire, militant minority, whether communist, ku klux klan, or birchers. >> chafee: and he'd have to step back from the microphone and they'd subside, and then he'd get up and he'd start to open his mouth, and they'd start again. and he couldn't talk. it went on for over 15 minutes. >> ...wholly alien to the sound and honest republican liberalism that has kept this party abreast of --
[ audience booing ] human need. >> buchanan: the forces that could nominate goldwater from the south and west were tearing the republican party away from the republican eastern establishment forever, and they could sense that. >> let me get to the mic. >> you give it to 'em. it's your job! >> now, look! the governor hasn't had a chance to talk. he's been up here 10 minutes, and he hasn't a chance to talk but about four minutes. >> buchanan: and i think they believed that when goldwater goes down, then that fever will pass, and we will get our party back. and they never got it back. >> man: back in july in san francisco, the republicans held a convention. remember him? he was there. governor rockefeller. before the convention, he said, barry goldwater's positions can, and i quote,
"spell disaster for the party and for the country." or him? governor scranton. the day before the convention, he called goldwaterism a "crazy-quilt collection of absurd and dangerous positions." or this man? governor romney. in june, he said, goldwater's nomination would lead to "suicidal destruction of the republican party." so even if you're a republican with serious doubts about barry goldwater, you're in good company. >> buchanan: lyndon johnson was a washington insider, a wheeler-dealer, a riverboat gambler, a guy who cuts deals for programs --
the antithesis of barry goldwater, who would take a clear-cut stand on principle. but no one doubted that he was an extremely effective politician, johnson, especially as a congressional politician and a leader on the hill. >> sabato: understanding that he had gotten the presidency in the worst possible way, he knew that the only way out was to establish himself with a victory so large that no one could say he was simply filling the office of what would've been jack kennedy's second term. >> i think that he wanted a landslide because then he knew he'd get his legislation passed. roosevelt was his hero, and i think that johnson said to himself that, "i'm going to be as good as roosevelt -- maybe even better." if he came in as a powerhouse, and with strength like that, it was going to be tough for the congress to turn him down on the difficult things he wanted to get passed.
[ cheers and applause ] >> sabato: we are used to conventions today that are completely scripted and utterly boring. >> my fellow americans, i accept your nomination. [ cheers and applause ] >> sabato: what i think was significant about the democratic convention -- it also began the tradition of heavily scripted conventions. they carefully thought about what should happen each evening, what people at home would see. new jersey was picked, in part, because at the time, it voted republican quite often, and it was part of that northeast republican philosophy. >> and let none of us stop to rest until we have written into the law of the land all the suggestions that made up the john fitzgerald kennedy program, and then let us
continue to supplement that program with the kind of laws that he would have us write. [ cheers and applause ] >> sabato: and the theme of the convention was, "let us continue." and that said, about as clearly as possible, that johnson was john f. kennedy's successor, and that his election would permit people to continue the policies they now overwhelmingly back. >> most americans want an education for every child to the limit of his ability, and so do i. >> mann: doyle dane bernbach, they had a surprising amount of control. they treated the convention hall as a television studio. >> most americans want victory in our war against poverty, and so do i. [ cheers and applause ] >> mann: they decorated the hall. from the banners to just about everything that happened during the convention bore some of ddb's fingerprints. they treated the convention
like an advertising event. so, in many ways, they staged the convention, which was a new innovation, as well, to turn a convention over to an advertising firm. it still took another 20 or 30 years for the parties to really learn that they had to turn this into a four-day television commercial. >> these are the goals of this great, rich nation. these are the goals toward which i will lead if the american people choose to follow. [ cheers and applause ] >> senator, the news from south vietnam and, indeed, from all of southeast asia, gets worse and worse with each passing day. now, a lot of the supply lines seem to run on the laotian border, in any case through
jungles and long trails. how could you interdict those? >> there have been several suggestions made. i don't think that we would use any of them. but defoliation of the forest by low-yield atomic weapons could well be done. when you remove the foliage, you remove the cover. >> man: on october 24, 1963, barry goldwater said of the "merely another weapon." merely another weapon? >> sabato: johnson's strategy against goldwater can be summarized in one word -- "extremism." that was how he wanted to define goldwater, and goldwater played a role himself at every turn. >> [ speaking russian ] >> "and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible... >> [ speaking russian ]
>> with liberty and justice for all. >> i want american kids to grow up as americans. and they will if we have the guts to make our intentions clear. so clear, they don't need translation or interpretation -- just respect for a country prepared as no country in all history ever was. >> sabato: goldwater's slogan -- "in your heart, you know he's right." his advisors tried to talk him out of that, because they realized the use of the word "right" reemphasized his conservative platform. goldwater insisted upon it. and it took democrats approximately five minutes to come up with their parody -- "in your guts, you know he's nuts." >> so lyndon johnson and the democratic party painted goldwater as some guy that would be reckless. and i think that was a big part of it. and so the "whose hand do you want on the trigger?" was a commonplace thing in the
campaign. >> that set up what johnson wanted to do, which was portray himself as a peacemaker. but the irony of this is sort of like woodrow wilson in 1916 campaigning for peace, and we months later. lyndon johnson, the sa thing >> atomic weapons are not simply bigger and more powerful than other weapons. from the american revolution until now, about 526,000 americans have died in battle. they say an atomic bomb can kill more than that in a few minutes. >> r. goodwin: he portrayed himself as a man of the middle, and who was going to carry on the program of the democratic party. >> our great nuclear power must not be placed in the hands of those who might use it impulsively or carelessly. peace cannot be left to those who will not guard atomic weapons as a special responsibility. >> goldwater was, you know,
like a giant apple on top of somebody's head. i mean, he was the perfect target. and he was so big, it was hard to miss the bull's-eye. >> ♪ we are not afraid ♪ we are not afraid ♪ we are not afraid >> mann: johnson was a politician, and he clearly understood that there was something to be gained by passing the civil rights bill. but i think that's too simple of an explanation. johnson, i think, believed in civil rights. >> what he wanted to do is get it on the books. he wanted to open that door. he wanted to show people how important it was. make them understand that this would make their own lives so much better. >> ♪ oh, deep in my heart
>> califano: he grew up in abject poverty with abject poverty all around him, and he was very, very sensitive to that. the two things he was -- was driving him, were in his dna, were discrimination and civil rights on the one hand, and dealing with poverty. [ cheers and applause ] >> woman: i remember my parents talking, and other people talking in the community, you know, the distrust they had of goldwater. that he didn't like african-americans and it was evident in everything he did. i also remember the basic distrust of johnson. he was a southerner. and as a child, i just didn't know any -- any good white people that had drawls and twangs, so... >> davis: goldwater had to realize that he could not win at all if he didn't have the south, and then therefore
that vote on civil rights was very important. he was not a racist. he never was a segregationist. he never would've gone for the jim crow type of government. that's not -- that was not goldwater. >> my fellow americans, i am about to sign into law the civil rights act of 1964. >> gold: goldwater voted against the civil rights act of 1964. he had voted for both the civil rights acts in the '50s. he was told at that time, by people like everett dirksen, "barry, if you vote for this bill, it will kill any presidential chance." >> thank you. thanks a lot. thank you. >> r. goodwin: if goldwater really wanted to antagonize all black americans, he picked a good way to do it. johnson saw it as a political opportunity, which indeed it was. >> also maybe scary, though.
because he knew he was losing a large part of the democratic south, and that goldwater would appeal to the very base that would have been his base. so it was both a moment of opportunity and a moment of peril. >> man: "we represent the majority of the people in alabama who hate niggerism, catholicism, judaism, and all the isms of the whole world," so said robert creel of the alabama ku klux klan. he also said, "i like barry goldwater. he needs our help." >> the biggest adverse problem that lyndon johnson had was the racial issue, 'cause there was nothing like it. remember, he sent lady bird down on the lady bird special to go through the south in the hopes of salvaging some of the south. there was concern about her safety. there was a lot of abuse when she'd stop and speak, and people would talk, you know, "nigger-lover," and all that kind of stuff. >> woman: i recall specifically her saying at one stop,
"now, just a second. you've had your turn to make your point. let me have mine. i'm so glad to be back here in the south that i love so dearly. so even if you don't like what i have to say, at least you understand the way i say it." and... [ laughs ] and, of course, that brought some humor and a little bit of levity, which frankly, we needed in that very tense time. >> the overall sense in the black community to me, and this is my opinion, is that, who do we trust to make sure that these things just don't go away? and what happens if johnson's not elected again? we could have it for this period of time, and then they take it away.
6... 8... 9... 9 -- >> man: 10...9... 8...7... 6...5... 4...3... 2...1... 0! >> lyndon johnson: these are the stakes -- to make a world in which all of god's children can live, or to go into the dark. we must either love each other or we must die. >> the stakes are too high for you to stay home. >> it was a very effective ad. [ laughs ] i think it only ran once or a couple of times, and then they took it off the air. but they showed it again and again and again.
>> all three television networks had run it in its entirety within their newscasts by peopln more about what he might have done. it's a lesson for us in every campaign. make the candidates discuss the issues that really matter, as we see them, rather than allowing them to put certain subjects off limits because it suits their political needs. >> the legacy of the '64 convention and the barry goldwater nomination run, that was the moment when the conservative movement to which i belong went down to an historic defeat. but out of that defeat, we captured the republican party and basically conservatives have been the dominant force in the republican party ever since. they haven't won every battle, but everybody has to now deal with that conservative movement. and it represented, i think, the death knell of liberal republicanism. you don't hear people call
themselves liberal republicans anymore. >> [ chanting "can you hear us now!" ] >> buchanan: one of the driving issues of conservatism was the size and power and growth of government, and that is certainly the big issue today. tea party folks, they would've been with us in the cow palace. >> [ chanting ] >> gold: the business of goldwater being the godfather of the tea party and the republican party now, i'll just say it flat-out, as a goldwater republican -- they're political nihilists. >> [ chanting ] >> gold: goldwater didn't say we shouldn't have any government. goldwater didn't say every part of government should be rejected. goldwater believed in states' rights with a little "s" and a little "r." he wasn't talking this talk you hear now of practically john c. calhoun secessionist talk.
>> califano: i think the legacy on the democratic side really started before the election with the civil rights act of 1964. what lyndon johnson did was say, "that's the first flag we're planting. there are a lot of more flags coming. and we are going to be the party that will end, end discrimination, whether it's in the voting booth, in public accommodations, in the workplace, in housing. and we're going to be the party that uses government to help the most vulnerable people in our society, and tries to use it to give them a hand up, not just a hand-out." >> four great bills in civil rights, 60 bills in education, medicare and medicaid... arts and the humanities, public broadcasting. so much was done. >> d. goodwin: he one time said, "some people want power just to march around
to 'hail to the chief' and strut through the stage -- i want to do things." and so he used the power that he gained in that mandate as fully as he could. and had it not been for the war in vietnam, he would be still remembered as one of the most extraordinary presidents. and his due is now coming as the 50th anniversary, we now realize domestically what he did. >> califano: you look at what happened to goldwater before he died. he was an entirely different human being. i mean, he was for gay rights, gays in the military. i think he was a very honest politician, and i don't think there's anybody who can say any different. >> sabato: he's the one who went to the oval office and told richard nixon, "it's all over. you're going to lose in the senate." only somebody like goldwater could march in there and look at the president of the united states and say, "time to go." >> i think he demonstrated that you can argue and disagree but don't have to be disagreeable. at the end of the day, you can
put your politics down and go and have a drink and enjoy the company of the opponents. he was a decent man, and he was respected because of that. >> i don't know just why they wanted to call this a confession. i -- i certainly don't feel guilty about being a republican. i've always been a republican. but when we come to senator goldwater, now it seems to me we're up against a very different kind of a man. this man scares me. i wish i could believe that he has the imagination to be able to just shut his eyes and picture what this country would look like after a nuclear war. i tell you, those people who got control of that
convention -- who are they? i mean, when the head of the ku klux klan, when all these weird groups, come out in favor of the candidate of my party, either they're not republicans or i'm not. i think my party made a bad mistake in san francisco. and i'm going to have to vote against that mistake on the 3rd of november. >> the stakes are too high for you to stay home. >> funding for "bombs away" was provided by... additional support was provided by the following...
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