Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

California Republican Advances Goldwater Conservatism

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

California Republican Advances Goldwater Conservatism

Article excerpt

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco, the Republican National Convention gave its presidential nomination to Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who knew he would lose: Americans were not going to have a third president in 14 months. Besides, his don't-fence-me-in libertarian conservatism was ahead of its time. His agenda, however, was to change his party's national brand.

Today, in this state where one in eight Americans live, and where Democratic presidential candidates can reap 55 electoral votes without spending a dime or a day campaigning, the Republicans' gubernatorial candidate has an agenda and spirit similar to Goldwater's.

Neel Kashkari is not, as some commentary suggests, an anti- Goldwater, diluting the state party's conservatism. He is Goldwater 2.0, defining conservatism half a century on.

He relishes "turning upside down" the parties' stereotypes. The Democratic candidate, 76-year-old Gov. Jerry Brown, is "the old white guy." Kashkari, the 40-year-old son of Indian immigrants, was born in 1973, the year before Brown was first elected governor. Brown is a child of the establishment -- his father Pat, California's 32nd governor, was defeated in 1966 by Ronald Reagan. Jerry Brown, California's 34th and 39th governor, is a government lifer, having been secretary of state, attorney general and Oakland's mayor when not unsuccessfully seeking a U.S. Senate seat and the presidency.

Born in Ohio, Kashkari studied mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois, came to California to work in the aerospace industry, then earned an MBA from Wharton, joined Goldman Sachs and landed a Washington job with a Goldman Sachs alumnus, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. As a treasury official during one of the most dangerous periods in America's economic history, from July 2006 to May 2009, Kashkari says: "I saw the best in our political system."

He remembers that, with a liquidity-deprived financial system pushing the nation to the precipice of a depression, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell simply said, "Of course we'll find a way to get this done. …

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