The Republican presidential nominee, an Arizona senator, was a maverick, which was part of his charm. He spoke and acted impulsively, which was part of his problem. Voters thought his entertaining dimensions might be incompatible with presidential responsibilities. For example, he selected a running mate most Americans had never heard of and who had negligible experience pertinent to the presidency. This was 1964.
Barry Goldwater, whose seat John McCain occupies, chose to run with Bill Miller, a congressman from Lockport, N.Y., near Buffalo. Miller, Goldwater cheerfully explained, annoyed Lyndon Johnson. After the Goldwater-Miller ticket lost 44 states, Miller retired to Lockport where he practiced law and lived in dignified anonymity until his death in 1983. Although he had served as an assistant prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, and seven terms in Congress, no one suggested he should be considered for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination.