The Republican Party’s soul is at stake

Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger deserve our support



August 4, 2022 - 2:51 PM

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), vice-chair of the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois). (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

On July 14, 1964, New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller approached the rostrum of the Cow Palace in San Francisco. With a defiant smile on his face, he warned the assembled delegates of the Republican National Convention “that the Republican Party (was) in real danger of subversion by a radical, well-financed, highly disciplined” ultraconservative minority. In what is now considered one of his finest moments, the governor and future vice president of the United States, whose address was interrupted by boos, taunts and jeers from members of his own party, mounted his “last stand” against Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona.

The next day, Pennsylvania Gov. William “Bill” Scranton refused to remove himself from consideration for the presidential nomination and visibly challenged Goldwater from the convention floor. Scranton, who knew that he had little to no chance of cinching the nomination, sacrificed himself in defense of his principles. As journalist Theodore H. White reported in “The Making of the President 1964,” “The Scranton exercise was either folly — or absolute gallantry.” It was both.

THESE TWO MEN, both of whom were young, popular and well positioned for future political office, knew that a direct challenge to Goldwater or his anti-statist platform at the Republican convention would almost certainly fail. Nevertheless, when the moment came and the eyes of the world were on them, they held their ground to the bitter end. Rockefeller denounced extremism, “whether Communist, Ku Klux Klan or Bircher.” And Scranton lobbied to move as many delegates from Goldwater’s camp to his, only acquiescing when Goldwater surpassed the threshold necessary for nomination.

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