WASHINGTON -- A fiery spokesman for the radical right is tangling with a crusty leader of the old right, and it is not surprising that Sen. Barry Goldwater appears to be coming out on top.
His new nemesis, Rep. Robert Dornan, R-Calif., who is running for the Senate against Goldwater's son, charged Tuesday that the senator 'has kicked the conservative cause in the ass one time too often.'
He also charged, and later retracted without an apology, that Rep. Barry Goldwater Jr., R-Calif., frontrunner in the California GOP Senate primary attended a homosexuals' political event last week and that Goldwater Jr. and Rep. Pete McCloskey, R-Calif., another primary opponent, had visited the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
Dornan said publisher Hugh Hefner's house held weekly orgies involving bestiality. He cited 'Deep Throat' star Linda Lovelace as his source, but did not charge either congressman with attending the orgies.
Both said they had attended political or social events once each and did not participate in orgies.
The New Right has been peppering Sen. Goldwater for the past year because of his criticism of Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell and for opposing an anti-abortion constitutional amendment and a measure to strip courts of the right to rule on busing.
Dornan said he would have held his news conference Tuesday even if he were not running against the younger Goldwater. What set him off, he said, was a letter he distributed to the press -- without letterhead, date or signature -- that Sen. Goldwater allegedly signed on behalf of Planned Parenthood.
That organization, according to Dornan is 'a front for abortion-on-demand.'
Goldwater's office said the letter was a fake, possibly an attempt by someone else to use Dornan. When Dornan replied that the letter, while not actually mailed, was prepared for the senator's signature, Goldwater replied: 'That's a damn lie.'
An aide said Sen. Goldwater would not respond further now.
Besides the alleged Planned Parenthood letter, other actions by the senator, Dornan attacked, were appearing on a television salute to America produced by 'radical leftist' Norman Lear, voting against shutting off debate against an anti-busing measure, taking an 'anti-pro-life' stance, declaring that the Supreme Court is superior to Congress, attacking the 'Christian right' and campaigning for liberal Sen. Lowell Weicker, R-Conn.
Without mentioning names, he said he had asked White House aides to attack Sen. Goldwater. When they declined, he did so, 'and they said, 'it's about time.''
Referring to Sen. Goldwater's publicized statement last year that Falwell deserved 'a kick in the ass,' Dornan said, 'Senator Goldwater has kicked the conservative cause in the ass one time too often.'
Dornan, who said he was a precinct captain in the senator's 1964 presidential race -- which brought the conservative movement to prominence -- declared that at that time, 'I was a Barry Goldwater conservative. I still am, and he's not.'
After the news conference, Congressman Goldwater's office said not only was he not at the homosexuals' event, he was at a candidate forum 45 miles away where Dornan appeared at a different time that evening.
Dornan blamed the mixup on an erroneous report in the Los Angeles Times.