Well before the conservative Arizona senator captured the nomination in July 1964, he made a habit of uttering reckless and ill-considered comments that gradually cemented an image of Goldwater as an impulsive cowboy, at best; and a dangerous radical, at worst.
That is the same danger facing Perry (and, to a lesser degree, Bachmann) today…
Campaign lore has it that the Daisy Girl spot and Johnson’s other nuclear-themed spots destroyed Goldwater. The polling data, however, suggest [data is plural, right?] that Goldwater had already done most of that work himself. Johnson’s campaign spots merely served as a kiln that baked the radical cowboy image into something hard and durable.
Besides the polling numbers — which barely changed all 1964 – there is one bit of compelling evidence about the overwhelming baggage that Goldwater had brought to the fall campaign. The Daisy Girl spot — which many contend was a hard-hitting negative attack – never mentioned Goldwater’s name nor showed his image.
It didn’t need to.