DR. STRANGEWATER

Barry Goldwater, the Republican challenger to President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, once expressed a desire to lob an atomic bomb into the men’s room of the Kremlin. This militant attitude toward the Soviet Union allowed Democrats to attack him as a dangerous radical eager to get his finger on the nuclear button. They parodied the Republican slogan “In your heart you know he’s right” with “In your heart you know he might” (explode an atomic bomb) and “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.” They also nicknamed him Dr. Strangewater, an allusion to the 1964 movie “Dr. Strangelove,” a satire about a crazed air force general who orders a nuclear attack against the Soviets. The tactic worked. Goldwater suffered one of the most lopsided losses in American history, earning 52 electoral votes to Johnson’s 486.

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