Everywhere there was heat--from the parching sun to the coals blackening barbecued chicken to the blistering Cold War rhetoric of Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, preaching to the Republican faithful gathered today for Sen. John Warner's seventh annual Atoka Farm supper.
Goldwater told reporters that the recent downing of a Korean airliner by a Soviet fighter plane "point s out what a bunch of bastards we're dealing with."
But unlike some right-wing leaders who have criticized President Reagan's response to the incident, Goldwater, 75, said he thought the president has done exactly the right thing.
"I think some of the conservatives are just crazy as hell. What do they want to do--go to war?" Goldwater asked. "If you get right down to it, it was a plane from another country."
Goldwater also applauded actions by Secretary of State George P. Shultz. Before Reagan, he said, " Eisenhower was the last president with a secretary of state who knew what strength was."
Goldwater said that if the country had been strong enough and reacted quickly enough, "there would have been no World War II. . .no Red China. . .and Vietnam would be a great big swamp."
Warner also endorsed the president's actions in response to the destruction of the plane and the deaths of 269 persons on board.
Goldwater told the 3,000 people in the crowd that they should work to reelect Warner to the Senate next year, lest the country "succumb to the desires of the Soviet state" through a return to Democratic control.
Wearing a blue shirt and tie in the 98-degree heat, Goldwater was besieged by well-wishers as he strolled on the Fauquier County estate with Warner, who was dressed more for the weather in canary yellow pants and open khaki shirt.
Goldwater was the top draw for this year's $30-a-person supper, an event expected to gross about $80,000 for Warner, the Virginia Federation of Republican Women and Republicans in the 7th, 8th and 10th congressional districts.
Other stars in other years have been then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan in 1980--the last year Warner's former wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, also attended. Rumors that she would show up this year were just that.
Mixing in the crowd was a gaggle of state and local Republican officeholders and candidates who trooped over the drought-dry grass, shaking hands, smiling and sizing up the crowd.
There was Marshall Coleman, the party's unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in 1981 who's keeping his options open for '85, just like Rep. Stan Parris and Wyatt Durrette, who lost a 1981 bid for attorney general.
The most talk was about a Republican who wasn't there--former Gov. John N. Dalton, who recently underwent lung surgery for cancer. The GOP nomination "is his for the asking," said Durrette , who along with Parris has said he would not run against Dalton.
Dalton, 52, recuperating in Richmond, called in a reporter this week to say he's recovering nicely and "wants to be a factor" in 1985.
Presidential Press Secretary Jim Brady and his wife Sara helped give the occasion a bit of national prestige, too.
The politicians competed for attention with a giant hot air balloon and bountiful plates of chicken, baked beans, biscuits and even ears of corn trucked in from Pennsylvania because the drought has ruined the corn from the caterer's Virginia farm.
Strollers gulped cold drinks and sought out shade to escape the heat.