Every once in awhile there comes a politician who is unapologetic in his/her views, isn't afraid to call a spade a spade, doesn't mince words, and doesn't follow the party line just to gain more support. These are the ones who see the shades of gray. Their views aren't black and white (or should I say red and blue?)/ Often times these politicians get abandoned by those in their party who insist on following the party line at all costs.
The last Republican who did so was the late Barry Goldwater. While he was defeated by LBJ in a landslide loss back in 1964, it was to the United States detriment that he never served in our highest office.
Below are some of my favorite quotes of Goldwater over the years:
"The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government."
"You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight."
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have."
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
"If everybody in this town connected with politics had to leave town because of chasing women and drinking, you would have no government."
"To insist on strength is not war-mongering. It is peace-mongering."
"We cannot allow the American flag to be shot at anywhere on earth if we are to retain our respect and prestige."
“It's wonderful that we have so many religious people in our party, ... They need to leave their theologies in their churches.” (can I hear an "AMEN!" to this one?)
"I don't have any respect for the Religious Right. There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics. That goes for Falwell, Robertson and all the rest of these political preachers. They are a detriment to the country."
"However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C," and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
“The rights that we have under the Constitution covers anything we want to do, as long as its not harmful. I can't see any way in the world that being a gay can cause damage to somebody else,”
“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ``needed'' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents "interests,'' I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”
“Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes- and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?”
"By maintaining the separation of church and state, the United States has avoided the intolerance which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars...Can any of us refute the wisdom of Madison and the other framers? Can anyone look at the carnage in Iran, the bloodshed in Northem Ireland, or the bombs bursting in Lebanon and yet question the dangers of injecting religious issues into the affairs of state?" (from 1981, but probably just as true today as then!)