BARRY GOLDWATER believes Jimmy Carter is a Manachurian Candidate, a political double-agent. Carter's record, write Sen. Goldwater, "is so incredibly bad I am compelled to suggest it all appears to have been planned."
Planned by whom? On the surface, by "David Rockefeller's newest international cabal, the Trilateral Commission," but behind the TC is the shadowy guiding hand of the Council on Foreign Relations, and back of the CFR looms those even more indistinct but omnipresent international bankers and other multinational kingpins. Their objective, we are told, is to eliminate national boundaries and to suppress patriotism and racial pride. "Their rationale rests exclusively on materialism."
To carry out their will this time around, our would-be global masters picked Carter. "It was no accident," writes Goldwater. "Brzezinski and Rockefeller invited Carter to be a member of the Trilateral Commission in 1973. They immediately commenced grooming him for the presidency." But being unsure that he would pan out, they "weren't ready to bet all their chips" on him, so they had Sen. Walter Mondale (D-Minn.) and Elliot Richardson as backup potential nominees. Goldwater's proof that Carter is a puppet of the international cabal: "Five of his twelve Cabinet members and all nineteen of his top advisers are Trilateral members." That count was made before the recent cabinet housecleaning.
The Trilateral Conspiracy -cum-Carter is a theory that has been thoroughly reported in The Washington Post and promoted in such magazines as Penthouse . It is not something new. I mention it here, as the high point of these disappointing memoirs, only because it is the stuff of Goldwater's appeal. He sometimes speaks for the wild populist that is in so many Americans. Over beers, we talk about how the big bankers and the multinational fat cats are ganging up in some mysterious way to screw us. Goldwater is not afraid to voice our suspicions publicly, put them in print, sign his name to them, even if it makes him vulnerable to the sneers of the Eastern elite. He doesn't care if they call him a kook. He suggests that the northeastern headquarters for the banking cabal be sawed off from the rest of the nation and be allowed to drift out to sea. We hayseeds love that kind of talk. It stirs our Sockless Jerry juices.
Unfortunately, as the rest of these memoirs show with pitiful clarity, Goldwater is usually not the bold, blunt, straightforward honest chap he wants us to think he is. More often than not, he is just another politician. He weasels, he fudges, and sometimes he is downright sneaky.
Nowhere in his discussion of the career of his protege, former Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, does he mention that Kleindienst lied to a Senate committee about his intervention in an ITT antitrust case. Instead, Goldwater aims his rocks at the senate committee itself, which he calls "a kangaroo court." Of the monstrous roundup of peace demonstrators in May 1971, Goldwater, who claims to hate oppressive government, writes only that they "were taken to the RFK stadium, photographed, finger-printed and released on $10 bail," saying nothing about how many -- more than 13,000 -- were arrested or that many were held under unconstitutional conditions, as a court later agreed. Goldwater claims Robert Mardian ran the school integration program in such a "very firm" fashion that he "deeply disturbed" Southern politicians. In fact, every reporter covering HEW was aware that Mardian was trying, as J. Anthony Lukas wrote, "to scuttle school-desegregation guidelines" and that he was a "fierce advocate of Attorney General John Mitchell's Southern Strategy." Goldwater's treatment of Joe McCarthy is so lightweight as to be laughable. Grudgingly he will go only this far: "It is probably true that McCarthy drank too much, overstated his case and refused to compromise, but he wasn't alone in his beliefs." He mentions that McCarthy was "undergoing treatment" at Bethseda Hospital but neglects to mention that it was for a brain that by that time was 90 proof.
To read Goldwater's account of Nixon's abdication, you would think it was imbued with the spirit of the Mount of Olives ("In his final hour of agony he was putting the welfare of the nation ahead of every other consideration"). And you would think Goldwater's own advisory rold reeked of calm statesmanship. You would never guess from this book that in the final weeks of "agony" Nixon (as the tapes show) was comforting himself with the reminder, "Goldwater put it in context. He said, "Well, for Christ's sake, everybody bugs everybody else. We know that.'" Nor will you learn that toward the end Goldwater had so lost his cool that he was shouting at the Senate Republican Policy Committee, "Nixon should get his ass out of the White House -- today!"
In these trivial memories of an important career, Goldwater doesn't use that kind of language. His mouth is full of mush and butter, especially when remembering the old gang. He assures you, for instance, that Everett Dirksen, probably one of the most venal and pretentious persons to serve in the modern Senate, "was always humble . . . and more concerned with the future prosperity of the nation than he was with [his] personal fortunes."
In fact, about the only person Goldwater seems to hate in this book is former senator Wayne Morse. He says Morse's switching from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in 1955 was a "sordid, seamy, self-centered" thing to do, and he cites Morse's 22-hour filibuster in 1953 as just another example of "his insatiable search for personal publicity."
Goldwater does not mention that his pal Strom Thurmond was also a party-switcher in the other direction, or that in 1957 Strom beat Morse's filibuster record by nearly two hours with the help of Goldwater, who, by interrupting twice with some remarks about military pay, allowed Thurmond to duck into the men's room for relief and into the cloakroom to chomp some ground meat.
Goldwater is curiously silent about his friends in Las Vegas -- which is not the sort of silence one would expect from the grandson of Mike Goldwasser, who ran a saloon in a California brothel. As one final measure of just how shallow and incomplete this book is, let me tell you that Goldwater says not one word about the little guy who accompanied him to disaster, except in a picture cutline: "With William Miller, my 1964 running mate."