I'm still plugging away on the Goldwater book. I think, finally, I have 'turned the corner' and I can now 'see the light at the end of the tunnel.' (Vietnam is actually playing a very small role in the book.)
The biggest thing I'm noticing right now (I'm past the conventions and into the general election campaign) is how inept the Goldwater campaign was. Part of that we can credit to Goldwater who insisted that he would not compromise his principles to pander to a wider base. But we can also blame his staff for greatly overestimating the candidate's potential. They mistook rabid enthusiasm from the hard core base for wide-spread appeal. There was also a strong distrust of 'political insiders' so the campaign was run by novices.
Add to all of that Goldwater's apparent tone-deafness to his audiences and to the shifting perceptions of the various issues. He consistently displayed impeccably poor timing with his campaign speeches. For example railing against the Evil of the TVA and announcing his plan to 'privatize' it. In eastern Tennessee. Went over like a lead balloon. Which illustrates the inherent problem with 'conservative' politics: people love it in theory (some people) but when it comes down to it they want their Social Security, Medicare, etc.
I'll give a final report in about a week. I hope. I'm ready for something new. ; )