The loss of President John F. Kennedy to an assassin’s bullet stunned America. Lyndon Johnson was called to serve in that horrible time and when the presidential election campaign of 1964 began I believe there was a lot of sentimental feeling that citizens needed to stand behind Johnson. His opponent, Barry Goldwater, was painted as a hawkish extremist at a time when Americans sought healing.
Goldwater did not flinch from the charges aimed at him from both Democrats and establishment Republicans. He said there was nothing wrong with being zealous for liberty. Now with that campaign over 50 years in the past, one can wonder, as William Murchison does, if perhaps Lyndon Johnson was a bit more extreme than Barry Goldwater — with more extreme effects, in the eyes of conservatives, on the liberties of Americans.