How ‘Government’ Became a Dirty Word : NPR
“Republicans, dating back to the New Deal, had always voiced their opposition to the expansion of government,” says Julian Zelizer, who teaches history and public policy at Princeton. “It was always part of the party the idea that centralization was bad, bureaucracy was dangerous, taxes were bad.”
But before the 1960s, the Republican Party also had a liberal wing, Zelizer tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
“They had New York Republicans, they had a lot of Midwestern progressives, who still said government is good for a lot of things,” he says.
Extremism ‘Is No Vice’
At the 1964 Republican convention, the party showed a shift away from that liberal wing. Then-New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller warned that the GOP was becoming too conservative. He called extremism a “danger” to the party and the nation. He was booed.
Barry Goldwater became the face of Republicanism when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination at that same convention, moving to the right and embracing extremism.
“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” Goldwater said. “And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
Extremism with regard to conservative values became something for Republicans to be proud of, Zelizer says.