December 12, 2009

Chapter 53: The Conservative Dream Ticket

Pawley, “one of the most respected of Florida Republicans,” is considered “presumptive head” of the Florida delegation for Goldwater. In April 1964, Pawley and other Republican Party leaders tell a GOP forum that there are missiles hidden in Cuban waters. They criticize President Johnson for carrying over the Kennedy administration’s restrictions on raids against Cuba. Among the forum leaders is Dr. Fernando Penabaz, a Cuban exile and newspaper columnist who had been with the JMWAVE psychological warfare section. Penabaz also was an associate of General Edwin Walker, head of the Dallas John Birch Society. The allegation that Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to shoot General Walker helps convince the Warren Commission of Lee Harvey Oswald’s guilt. While Penabaz leaves JMWAVE to become a GOP spokesman, CIA memos circulate at the same time noting that Pawley, the Florida GOP leader, was once again approved for covert utilization “by the Western Hemisphere Division/ Special Activities.” Goldwater loses the election to President Johnson.