Goldwater takes issue with New Right politics

Sen. Barry Goldwater, often referred to as "Mr. Conservative," is becoming impatient with the so-called New Right, or, at least, with some elements of it. The Arizona Republican is particularly upset with groups that, he says "use religion as a basis for being for or against a political issue." He cites the Moral Majority, headed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, as an organization that he objects to for this reason.

Senator Goldwater says there is a "danger in becoming oriented around a religious concept and then backing a political objective."

Goldwater also made a point -- talking to reporters over breakfast on Sept. 15 -- of separating himself from Republican senators like Jesse A. Helms and John P. East of North Carolina and Jeremiah Denton of Alabama, whom he described as "representing the New Right and not new conservatism."

Asked if he could pinpoint his differences with these senators, he said:

"Well, I don't get all jazzed up about busing. And I don't get too excited about abortion. Nor do I get too exercised over ERA."

Instead, he said, there were "more important things" that should be given primary consideration -- "like inflation, high interest rates, and the need to build up the military.

"I don't like the New Right and what it is doing," he said. He said the existence of some NEw Right groups raises questions as to the separation of church and state.

On other subjects the senator had this to say:

* Of President Reagan and his administration: "I think he has done a good job. He has done what the people expect him to do. He has been a little bit slow on making appointments. None of Reagan's people are completely knowledgeable about politics [in Washington]."

* On the President's proposal to make $13 billion in military cutbacks: "It is too much of a cut." He said that such a reduction would impede a necessary military buildup. However, he said he thought that it would be possible -- although difficult -- to trim $2 billion from the military budget in 1982.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.