On Paul Pelosi, Jesse Watters Is the New Barry Goldwater - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
On Paul Pelosi, Jesse Watters Is the New Barry Goldwater
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Jesse Watters discusses Paul Pelosi’s DUI charge, June 23, 2022 (Fox News/YouTube)

So, this time it’s Jesse Watters.

Once upon a time it was Barry Goldwater.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In the aftermath of the decidedly horrific attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul — an attack made by a man whom his neighbors and ex-partner called a homeless drug addict, an illegal immigrant who had an urge to support nudism and was described by his partner as being “mentally ill. He has been mentally ill for a long time” — the rush was on to blame conservatives.

High on the blame list was Fox News’ Jesse Watters, who has had the audacity to do journalism and investigate Paul Pelosi’s DUI arrest and the Pelosi family finances. Predictably out of the gate to blame Jesse for doing real journalism was California’s Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom. Said Newsom of Jesse:

What he’s been saying about Paul Pelosi the last five, six months, mocking [Paul] consistently. Don’t tell me that’s not aiding and abetting all this. Of course it is.

Ahhh. But for those of us old enough to recall another, even more horrific moment in history, the “blame Jesse Watters,” and other Nancy Pelosi critics, nonsense sounds very familiar. Very.

For those who came in later in life, the event in question occurred almost 60 years ago in 1963 — specifically Nov. 22, 1963. President John F. Kennedy was in Dallas, Texas. He was there to mend an internal political rift inside the Texas Democratic Party, the party that was led in part by JFK’s own Texas vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson.

In his open-air limousine, riding through downtown Dallas, the president was shot to death by an assassin perched in the nearby Texas School Book Depository. And, in a blink, the move was on to blame JFK’s conservative political opponents, particularly those who supported the impending presidential run of Arizona’s “Mr. Conservative” — Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater.

As it happens, JFK and Goldwater were friends. They had even discussed flying around the country together to debate the issues in the 1964 presidential campaign were Goldwater to win the GOP nomination, with the Kennedy–Goldwater debates modeled after the long-ago Lincoln–Douglas debates.

But it was not to be. The moment Kennedy was killed, the leftist fingers began to point at both Goldwater and his supporters.

Goldwater biographer Lee Edwards, in his book Goldwater: The Man Who Made a Revolution, tells the tale:

There were many references on network television and radio (even over the Voice of America) to Dallas as the center of the extreme right wing and the heart of “Goldwaterland.” …

In the Washington headquarters of the National Draft Goldwater Committee, polite young women tried to cope with an unceasing stream of angry, emotional telephone calls while people banged on the locked front door and shouted “Murderers!”. When a highly distraught man vowed on the phone that he would blow up the headquarters, office manager James Day, on the advice of the Washington police, closed the office and turned off the lights.

CBS’s anchor Walter Cronkite made a point of saying that Goldwater would not attend the president’s funeral because he was busy giving a political speech in Indiana. When Goldwater heard this, he was livid, personally calling Cronkite to tell him that he was in Indiana not for a political speech but rather to bury his recently deceased mother-in-law. Cronkite did have the embarrassed grace to retract his fairy tale on-air, but Goldwater, genuinely upset over the death of his friend JFK, noted, “Experience has shown that these corrections never undo the damage they cause.”

And then.

Then the assassin was caught. That would be one Lee Harvey Oswald, an activist with the pro-communist “Fair Play for Cuba Committee” who had tried to defect to the Soviet Union. Which is to say that Oswald was a decided leftist. He idolized Cuba and its communist dictator Fidel Castro. He so hated the famous-in-the-day, anti-communist retired Gen. Edwin Walker, a Dallas resident, that he tried to shoot him to death. The shot exploded into Walker’s library and grazed his head, but he survived. Oswald escaped into the night, his role in this almost-murder not coming to light until after the Kennedy assassination. He had used the same rifle in the Walker attack that he used to kill JFK.

JFK, of course, had repeatedly tangled with Castro and Cuba. He had given a green light to a planned 1961 invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles, pulling the plug on U.S. support when the invasion was already underway, causing it to fail, and leaving the Kennedy administration with a very public black eye. In the fall of 1962, it was discovered that the Soviet Union was placing nuclear missiles in Cuba that were capable of targeting the U.S. east coast and parts of Central and South America. JFK and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev went eyeball to eyeball, with JFK demanding that the missiles be removed, setting up a blockade of the island, and threatening a direct hit on Russia if any missile was launched from Cuba. The missiles were removed. Suffice to say, Oswald the Castro enthusiast was no JFK fan.

No matter.

The move was on in the liberal media of the day to blame “the Right” for JFK’s death, with Goldwater and his conservative followers singled out.

All of which is to say that blaming Jesse Watters and conservatives in general for the attack on Paul Pelosi is nothing new. This was the instant reaction of the liberal media almost 60 years ago.

Shameful? Yes.

Massively unfair to Jesse Watters and conservatives at large?

Certainly.

But it can be only said that, tellingly, the more things change with the Left, the more they stay the same.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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