Former California Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr. says establishment Republicans who are bitter over the stunning success of tea party conservatives this primary season "ought to keep their mouth shut and just take a look at what's going on in this country."
In an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview Goldwater, the son of the Republican icon whose presidential campaign in 1964 revitalized the American conservative movement, said the Republican Party is now undergoing a full-fledged realignment.
"No more of this middle of the road, no more of these moderates. The American people, and in the Republican Party, want to be redefined as solid conservative," he said.
Goldwater said tea party activists are actually fighting for many of the same principles his father stood for: smaller government and lower taxes.
"Reminds me a lot of the conservative movement in 1960 and 1964,” Goldwater said. “It is an effort by people who are sick and tired of the country moving to the left."
In that context, Goldwater said Tuesday night's outcome in Delaware, where insurgent conservative Christine O'Donnell soundly defeated longtime GOP moderate Rep. Mike Castle, came as no surprise.
After O'Donnell was declared the winner Tuesday night, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) indicated it might not support her in the general election.
But facing the prospect of a withering barrage of criticism from the grass-roots on Wednesday, NRSC Chairman Sen. John Cornyn announced he would "strongly stand" with O'Donnell and wrote her campaign a check for $42,000.
Former Bush adviser Karl Rove suggested on Fox News that O'Donnell might be unelectable in November, because of her personal financial issues and the Democrats' 17-point voter registration advantage. Rove's remarks drew a blunt response from Goldwater.
"I think he's wrong," he told Newsmax. "There is such energy, such enthusiasm, such motivation in the Republican Party, we will get our voters out. When the Republican Party is energized, we respond by getting our voters out."
After directing some criticism at Republican leaders, Goldwater wholeheartedly blasted Democrats and President Obama.
"I think Obama and the Democrat Congress are symbols of the liberalism that has infected this country over the last hundred years," he said. "Americans today are saying, 'We've had enough.'"
But Goldwater reserved his toughest language for the federal government's push to block the Arizona law designed to defend the state from narco-terrorists and other illegals flooding across the border.
"I think it's pretty sad when the president of the United States gets in bed with the president of Mexico, [Felipe] Calderon, and attacks one of our 50 states," said Goldwater, who lives in Phoenix. "That's not good government.
"What kind of president attacks a state who is trying to defend itself from an invasion of illegal and undocumented workers and gangs of thugs who are bringing drugs into our country?" Goldwater said. "Where is our president? Where's our leadership? It's unfathomable that you'd have a president attacking a state and getting in bed with the president of Mexico. That's not right."
Goldwater told Newsmax he even advised Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to "declare war" on Mexico.
"The federal government is supposed to be taking care of this, and it's not," he said. "I've suggested to governor of Arizona that we ought to declare war on Mexico, and we can under the Constitution.
"If the federal government does not do what it's supposed to do, and that is defend ourselves, and we are in a state of peril, she has a right to mobilize our troops and defend ourselves," he said. "That's what Arizona's doing. It's taking harsh action to try to stop this undocumented invasion of our country."
Goldwater lamented how bipartisan cooperation has waned since he left Washington.
"Today there's a lot of anger and animosity and get-even kind of atmosphere that predominates the Congress," he said. "When I served in the Congress as a minority member, the Democrats allowed me to participate. I could offer motions and amendments and debate, and was not relegated to the sidelines the way the minority is today."
He also spoke fondly of his father, who is often credited with revitalizing the conservative movement in America and paving the way for Ronald Reagan's election in 1980.
"He was a great statesman, but he was a tremendous father," Goldwater said. "And he never raised a hand, but he set by example. And he always set the bar high. And he told me, 'Barry, always be the best that you can. Always work hard, and always treat people with kindness. That's what I remember about my father."
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