News & Politics

YAF Goes Wild for Barry Goldwater


Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.

March 15, 1962, Vol. VII, No. 21

Garden Packed for Goldwater

By Mary Perot Nichols

“I would like to see a liberal journalist come to the Garden tonight and say that we don’t exist,” said the young Yale man with crew-cut and horn-rim glasses. He was Robert M. Schuchman, national chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, the conservative youth group. Schuchman was in the act of presiding  with considerable satisfaction over the sell-out rally for “World Liberation from Communism” at Madison Square Garden on March 7.

Almost the first person to greet this reporter upon entering the Garden was a Democratic captain from Carmine DeSapio’s Tamawa Club in the Village. He pressed on newspapermen advance copies of a speech by South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. Thurmond was one of the 11 heroes of conservatism to receive citations from YAF during the long evening. But not all received equal treatment. While such minor luminaries as former President Herbert Hoover (in absentia), economist Ludwig von Mises, author John Dos Passos, and Katanga President Moise Tshombe (in absentia) received showers of confetti, the rally reserved its balloons and demonstrations for the political live wires: Senator John Tower (Texas Republican) and Barry Goldwater (Arizona Republican). In the hierarchy of YAF values, Goldwater was allotted 14 minutes of demonstration while Tower’s share was only 3 minutes.

The evening might better have been entitled “Conservative Rally for World Liberation from Liberalism.” The speakers’ sharpest barbs were hurled at what was termed “the liberal establishment.” In the warm-up award-presenting session the crowd went wild with derision over gibes at the Americans for Democratic Action and the Kennedy Administration; it stomped, cheered, and threw confetti for the “free-enterprise system” and “moral values.” A sign in the balcony, “Stamp Out ADA,” was waved wildly during the demonstrations next to a sign which read: “The U.S. Over All” (an English translation of “Deutschland Uber Alles”).

Hollywood actor George Murphy did a little soft-shoe dance as he accepted an award for John Wayne. Wayne was billed as a man “tall in the saddle,” who, unlike Bobby Kennedy, “will not forget the Alamo!” Other names were added — not quite a Hollywood 10 — of actors who would not forget the Alamo either: Roy Rogers, Pat O’Brien, Jimmy

And then, just as the audience was beginning to get bored with the award bit, came Greenwich Village’s contribution to conservatism, Mrs. Rosemary McGrath, chairman of the local YAF chapter. Schuchman introduced her as having been acknowledged even by the New York Post (boos for the Post) “as one of the three best-known citizens of
Greenwich Village.”

As Mrs. McGrath made her way to the podium gorgeously garbed in a low-cut black satin dress, her long black hair slung bewitchingly over one eye in the style of Veronica Lake, the cheers began to be interspersed with long whistles of appreciation. Mrs. McGrath’s mission was to present an award to former Villager Charles Edison, son of the inventor and onetime Governor of New Jersey. Edison is, she declared, “a true Democrat unlike the alleged reformers of today — those toy-pistol New Frontiersman of New York City.”

…The climax of the evening came, of course, with Goldwater, who kept reiterating throughout his speech his desire to hear an explanation from the “junior ADA” about why it picketed outside the Garden alongside the American Nazi Party. “As a half-Jew,” Goldwater said, “I resent it.” He also wanted to know from the liberals “why their rally has flopped so miserably tonight?” The Arizonan had his answer ready: “Because conservatism is the wave of the future.” He continued: “It is going forward, it is virulent, it is alive — which is a lot more than can be said for liberalism.”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]


Archive Highlights