WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate today unveiled a statue of the late Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona today at a dedication ceremony in National Statuary Hall. Following are House Speaker John Boehner’s remarks prior to the unveiling, as prepared for delivery:
“In this Capitol where hundreds serve, and another hundred or so are immortalized, you can sometimes find yourself asking what it takes to stand apart.
“Whatever it is, Barry Goldwater had it. People didn’t just find truth in what he was saying – they found a cause. And if there were a Mount Rushmore for the modern conservative moment, he would surely be on it.
“The man remains an inspiration, and yet he didn’t set out to inspire anyone. He didn’t even set out to run for office. He had to be talked into it, and even then, he assured his brother, ‘it ain’t for life.’
“But there’s a story I’ve heard that may capture what Goldwater was after. It was first told by the late Stephen Shadegg, who ran Goldwater’s campaigns and helped with his books. Stephen’s son, John, our former colleague, is with us today.
“The story goes that during the 1958 campaign, they were driving through some remote town on their way to a meeting with hundreds of people. Goldwater decides unannounced to turn off the main road and pulls up to a small house. He goes in and sits down with a constituent. Now all these people are waiting, and no matter how furrowed Shadegg’s brow gets, Goldwater is just asking this woman every question under the sun.
“Well as it turns out, the woman was dying, and Goldwater said, ‘I could not be in this town without letting her know that I hadn’t forgotten.’
“That’s who Barry Goldwater was – as a person and a leader. When others zigged, he zagged – and kept right on going. The beaten path and the same old BS: none of that was for him. But first principles and serving your neighbor one day, one deed, at a time? That’s where he started and ended.
“We can wonder how Goldwater did it all, but there’s no need to wonder about this statue. It is an assurance that if you just do what you believe is right – if you put your faith in the people – you will always stand tall. So it is now my happy privilege to formally accept this statue and unveil it here on behalf of the American people.”