Over a dirty-tricks television ad of a girl picking daisies over a countdown to an atomic bomb that goes off in the background, Johnson supporters turned Goldwater’s campaign slogan — “In your heart you know he’s right” — against him: “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”
Ginny stepped up her work for the campaign. Heinlein stepped up his work, too, but he was still conflicted — and at another meeting at Bob Laura’s house on August 1, he finally had more than he could take. Laura was temporizing over an offer of help Ginny had taken by telephone from a woman who identified herself as a Negro. He would take the matter up with his State Central Committee contact, Laura said, but his own reaction was: “Oh, they are free to go ahead and form their own committee.” Heinlein lost his temper for the first time in many years. He told Laura,
They offered to stick their necks out; we should have shown instant gratitude and warmest welcome … I can’t see anything in this behavior but Jim-Crowism … you were suggesting a Jim-Crow section in the Goldwater organization.
Mr. Goldwater would not like that. His record proves it.
Negroes are citizens, Bob … It is particularly offensive, this year and this campaign, to suggest that Negro Goldwater supporters form their own committee…
He then ticked down a list of Laura’s administrative foul-ups, concluding:
— these faults can easily lose the county … [sic] and with it the state […] and, conceivably, if the race is close, the Presidency itself.
… So I’ll try to refrain hereafter from offering you advice. But I think it’s time for you either to behave like a manager, or resign.
Laura apologized for his part in the altercation.
Ginny went into field work full time, and Heinlein agreed to handle an expansion of the county office now that the nominating convention was over and the campaign was ramping up in earnest. As Laura temporized on the Jim-Crow question, he gave Heinlein a personal criticism, not the first time he had heard it: “I know you don’t believe that anyone could consider you a “yes” man. I wonder, however, if you can conceive of another’s opinion, differing though it may be, possessing any merit.”
On this issue, no: The opinion that a Negro volunteer should be treated differently from a white volunteer possessed no merit whatsoever — and if that was “intolerant” in Bob Laura’s book, so be it. “I’m one of the most intolerant men I’ve ever met,” Heinlein noted to himself. “I had thought that, simply because I had uncustomary responses as to what I liked and what I hated that I was ‘tolerant.’ I’m not. I’m not even mildly tolerant of what I despise.”
There were things more important than party unity in the Republican Party of Colorado.
William H. Patterson Jr., Robert A. Heinlein, In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better, 2014).