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The Nixon Enigma

The Last Liberal

37the president
The 37th President : Richard M. Nixon

Pat Buchanan writes:

Neither Nixon nor Reagan ever supported segregation. Neither Nixon nor Reagan ever supported Jim Crow. As vice president, Nixon was a stronger backer of civil rights than Senators John F. Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson. His role in winning passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was lauded in a personal letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, who hailed Vice President Nixon's "assiduous labor and dauntless courage in seeking to make Civil Rights a reality."

No one has figured out Richard Nixon
Though many have tried, and continue to try

The great ideologue had turned out to be a quintessential pragmatist, both in foreign policy and on domestic issues. The great anti-communist predicted, but did not oversee, the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism. The son of Quaker pacifists, Richard Nixon became the great modern champion of America's realpolitik the chief tenet of which seems to be si vis pacem, para bellum -- and in some sense yet emerged as a genuine bridge-builder and conciliator. Nixon was a keen admirer of Benjamin Disraeli, the brilliant Prime Minister behind Queen Victoria's imperial success, and imbibed much from his study of that man. Yet his very bravura (or human limitation) made him his own worst enemy. He seemed to find personal enemies where there may have been none. He was (rightfully) suspicious of J. Edgar Hoover, then (wrongfully) copied his methods of internal security at its worst. He envied the Kennedy reputation for hard-ball (and sometimes underhanded) politics, when necessary, and again wound up imitating the worst -- most ruthless -- aspects.

Yet through it all, Richard Nixon had a deep love of America, of our history, and interestingly, an intimate devotion to his pious Quaker mother, whose influence on him seems to have been profound. As president, the Quaker poetess Jessamyn West appealed to her cousin Richard on behalf of a family she sought to help in Ireland. Since it involved the use of presidential power, Miss West worried about the scruples of ethics involved, yet Richard found a way to intervene, merely in a mediatory way.

In some respects, there is an irony regarding the irrational rage with which many liberals reacted to Richard Nixon. Economist Charles Morris notes that: Nixon's social conservatism, his conspicuous anti-communism and harsh law-and-order traditionalism, obscures the fact that "by contemporary definitions he was among the most liberal of presidents."
As president, Nixon must be credited with:

"In February 1974, Republican President Richard Nixon proposed, in essence, today's Affordable Care Act. Under Nixon's plan all but the smallest employers would provide insurance to their workers or pay a penalty, an expanded Medicaid-type program would insure the poor, and subsidies would be provided to low-income individuals and small employers."

In fact, Nixon's Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan, which included universal coverage for the working poor and the unemployed (replacing Medicaid) was killed by organized labor, which was hoping for a better deal after the next election. It never got it. [from Arena Stage magazine] Noam Chomsky looked back on the actual record of Nixon and observed that he was "in many respects the last liberal president."

And Nixon's forward-looking idealism did not wait till his presidency; it began much earlier. "As vice president, Nixon was a stronger backer of civil rights than Senators John F. Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson. His role in winning passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was lauded in a personal letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, who hailed Vice President Nixon's 'assiduous labor and dauntless courage in seeking to make Civil Rights a reality' " [Pat Buchanan See Donnie McClurkin].

Nixon's 'pro-Indian' policies

Vine Deloria says that up until the whole incident at Wounded Knee, the record of the Nixon administration (toward the Indians) had been very good. Until the occupation (Wounded Knee), the administration had been characterized as one of the most progressive in American history. It had seen that sacred lands were returned to the people of Taos Pueblo and Yakima, had restored other tribal lands, and had pushed through Congress a bill to resolve the land claims of the Alaska natives. Indians had come to expect a more enlightened and less emotional response by the administration. [But then came Wounded Knee, and whether it was J. Edgar Hoover, or other influences, a reactionary approach set in.]

Who were the real savages?

As a politician, Nixon was a genius in theory, but in pulling it off, he bogged down. The centrism that Eisenhower fell in to (almost by accident), Nixon astutely planned and deliberately calculated. By disposition both Eisenhower and Nixon were moderates, but Nixon knew he had to have the conservatives as a base. His plan was to hold the conservatives with rhetoric, and then chart a pragmatically moderate course by his policies. He believed, rightfully, that whoever holds the middle (of the American electorate) holds the key to political success. So he deliberately sought to join a "southern strategy" of moderate conservatism with a liberal policy course that was essentially New Deal without the name. He became in effect an FDR Republican at the very time when he blasted the Democratic and Labor heirs of Roosevelt's New Deal as "soft on communism" or closet Marxists. His rhetoric was at odds with his charted course.

Paul Krugman points out the sharp contrast between Nixon's actual policies as opposed to his political tactics. (Rhetoric too.) The hard right Republicans didn't really like his actual course in action. Krugman writes, "In domestic affairs he governed as a moderate, even a liberal, raising taxes, expanding environmental regulation, even seeking to introduce national health insurance. In foreign affairs he showed equal pragmatism, opening a dialogue with Communist China while simultaneously continuing to fight the Communist China-allied North Vietnamese. Nixon, it became clear, hated many things, but he did not share the [hard right] conservative movement's hatred for government intervention and the welfare state." (from Conscience of a Liberal, p 123)

Nixon might be said to have cleverly sought to apply the ancient Irish (and Welsh) saying that to be a leader you must build bridges. In terms of his actual policies, Nixon was either two generations ahead of his time, or else liberals of today are simply wrong about everything. Because if you look at his actions, as president, Nixon was a better "liberal" than the liberals of the Obama years.

On the other hand, today's Republican party have forgot that wisdom of Nixon's Irish forbears. In demanding ideological purity and rejecting bridge-building, they mock the Big Tent Republicanism that came to Eisenhower (and Reagan) instinctively, and they wind up with a smaller tent or umbrella --- small enough to lose elections. The Democrats under Obama have co-opted the vital center (that Republican right wingers have abandoned).

The men who wrote the federal constitution gave us
A GOVERNMENT : "strong enough but not too strong"

We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another -
until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.

Richard Nixon

The Jon Huntsman statement - (Summer 2012) Bob Shepherd writes We conscientious Republicans have been silent far too long in the face of the noise from our own party. The hard right has taken over and has disparaged Bush, belittled Bush, demeaned Bush.

I was a young voter when Reagan first ran for governor here. Reagan proposed an 11th commandment for Republicans. Thou shalt not speak evil of another Republican. I guess he felt he could win on the basis of the positive, not the negative. (He did win). And I voted for him both in California (governor) and twice for President.

I am a lifelong Republican (because I have values. My ancestors were Quakers, abolitionists). That's one reason I support OBAMA. He has values. He doesnt have to rely on the negative. He doesnt belittle Bush, the way Limbaugh (et al) do. He honors Bush.

Now the "RINO" Jon Huntsman is following in Bush and Colin Powell's footsteps ....

Huntsman declared

"I will not be attending this year's convention, nor any Republican convention in the future, until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States -- a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness, and a willingness to address the trust deficit, which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits," Huntsman said.
Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell

The Contradiction of Richard Nixon

The Social Liberal of His Time - "Hero" of today's American Left (Salon) - More Liberal than Obama?

The Last Great Liberal (FOX) - Our Greatest Liberal (Wonkette) - Nixon too liberal even for today's Dems

As Noam Chomsky says
On the social and domestic front
In his practical policies and enactments, as president
Nixon is well called THE LAST LIBERAL

Books authored by Richard Nixon

President Bill Clinton in his eulogy to Richard Nixon, credited his personal mentorship (which Clinton had sought) with guiding him on foreign policy, especially regarding the East-West arena. Clinton also observed that of Nixon's ten books, nine of them were written after leaving office. A weighty accomplishment for anyone.

Elliott Abrams notes: "Aside from Theodore Roosevelt, no other former President in this century has written regularly on the major events of the day after leaving office. Most -- including Eisenhower, Truman, and Johnson -- have maintained something close to silence on public-policy issues, emerging only to bless their party's candidates. Jimmy Carter has been active but not reflective. And unlike even Teddy Roosevelt, who after completing his autobiography confined himself to newspaper articles, Nixon has written book after book that takes the longer view."

RN : The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1978)

Jonathan Emerson writes : "Having read this book, I can finally say that I am historically informed as to the time in question. I myself was born long after the events told here. A major portion of the book's interest is based upon hearing an exhaustive detailed report on the day to day functions of the Presidency. The fact that Nixon actually wrote his book, unlike Kennedy, whose Pulitzer Prize winner was ghost-written, makes it all the more enjoyable. Nixon's side of the story is finally told in a skillful manner that cannot be interrupted by the harrangue of some foolishly inept liberal intent on forcing their own opinion of a complicated era. Finally, Nixon's mistakes do not qualify him as the greatest criminal of the twentieth century, as one reviewer so eloquently wrote. If Nixon did in fact have knowledge of the Watergate break-in, (and it is hard to believe he did not) then he is still no worse than Truman, LBJ, or even the greatly beloved John F. Kennedy. It is a singular characteristic of liberal thinking to declare that a "third rate burglary," is worthy above mass murder etc, for the title of worst crime and the person by whom the burglary was ostensibly commited the worst criminal. Nixon's greatest asset to the common man was that he did not shrink from the political arena that was from the beginning tilted against him. The elitist minority of this country remains, sadly, under the delusion that the disappearance of Nixon from the national scene put to death the existence of the great silent majority. America still more closely resembles the rough edges and imperfection of Nixon that it does to the unrealistic and contrived memory of Kennedy as a lust and corruption tainted savior."

Real War (1979)

Ronald Steel writes: "His administration, so shameful in so many respects, was brilliantly successful in certain key areas of foreign policy. The restoration of ties with the communist rulers of China, the SALT I treaty on nuclear weapons, and the first real movements toward détente with the Soviet Union -- all of these were Nixon's accomplishments, however much help he got from Kissinger. Only Nixon had the political skill -- and, it should be stressed, the anticommunist credentials -- to pull them off."

Review by fourthperson.wordpress : "In some respects, this book is exactly what one expects of a vehement anti-communist desperate to prop up his own discredited record in the face of disgrace. Nixon blows the trumpet for massive nuclear rearmament, a belligerently firm line with the USSR and tells America to hunker down for generations of struggle against an implacable and inhumanly evil enemy. The surprising thing is, even to a skeptic this book and Nixon's vitriolic yammering holds some weight. His analysis of the US policy in Vietnam is honest and grave, and astonishingly relevant in the light of thirty years of history. His questionable philosophy of seeing apartheid as a lesser evil (and even an acceptable evil) as compared to communism (his logic runs that in the first some are free, whereas in the second none are free) strikes instantly as cynical and cruel, but certainly gives poignant insight into the policies of the US government through the 1960s and 1970s -- and on through the present. Nixon is unapologetic in his repeated calls for stronger and harsher lines in international policy, and oddly prophetic in many of his suggestions. His startling predictions clash noisily in his failed guesses (such as the manner in which Communism would fail in Eastern Europe) -- and yet even in his mistakes he shows a cunning understanding of the political balance of the world and the way governments work. This book is an arrogant monument to Nixon's massive ego, but it is also an invaluable resource, and its politics (cynical as they are) make a frightening amount of sense even thirty years later."

Comment by Bob Shepherd: Nixon's logic in Real War was first of all a realist's indictment, though not really spelled out, of the naivite he saw in Jimmy Carter's worldview vis-a-vis the Soviets, most of all. In retrospect we see how thoroughly Reagan seems to have bought into the Nixon logic, and how completely Reagan followed Nixon's advice. Fortunately for world peace, the Nixon-Reagan peace-through-strength idea seems to have worked well enough, indeed, perhaps contributing in part to the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991.

From The Real War

"World War III began before World War II ended. Even as allied armies battled Nazi forces to the death in Europe, Stalin had his eye clearly fixed on his postwar objectives. In April 1945, as American and Russian soldiers were embracing at the Elbe River in Germany, Stalin was spelling out his blueprint for a divided postwar world. "This war is not as in the past," he said, "whoever occupies a territory also imposes on it his own social system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise." (p.19)

"World War III has proceeded from the Soviet seizure of Eastern Europe, through the communist conquest of China, the wars in Korea and IndoChina, and the establishment of Soviet power in Cuba, to the present thrusts by the Soviet Union and its allies into Africa, the Islamic crescent, and Central America. The expansionism has been accompanied by a prodigious military buildup that has brought the Soviet Union to the verge of decisive supremacy over the West.....

"World War III is the first truly global war. No corner of the earth is beyond its reach. The United States and the Soviet Union have both become global powers, and whatever affects the balance between us anywhere affects the balance everywhere. The Soviets understand this. We too must understand it, and learn to think in global terms." (p. 21)

'Leaders' (1982)

"Not only masters the understanding of leadership, but also writing in general. The book treats several leaders of the 20th century, Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenaur, Shigeru Yoshida, Charles de Gaulle, Nikita Khruschev and many more with grandeur. "

[Also from Kirkus Review] Two of the lesser lights in Nixon's pantheon -- Japan's Yoshida, Italy's de Gasperi -- resisted radicalism; two -- Australia's Menzies, Singapore's Lee -- were champions of free enterprise who made their countries rich. ("The pursuit of affluence is much ridiculed by those who have never known the absence of it.") And then he delves into others. "If David Ben-Gurion was an elemental force of history, Golda Meir was an elemental force of nature." And "Like Ghana's Nkrumah, Indonesia's Sukarno proved a disaster once independence was secured. Both could destroy; neither could build."

Furthermore: Chou was charming, Mao earthy; Chiang orderly, Mao slovenly. And Mao, "like most revolutionary leaders, could destroy but could not build." Of de Gaulle's reputed arrogance Nixon finds quite the otherwise, "I found him to be a very kind man . . . I would say he was almost gentle"; "in spite of [Adenauer's] outward austerity . . . he was a warm, good-humored, gentle man." Perhaps what makes Nixon such a keen and discerning seer of leaders is the fact that he knows their suffering from personal experience too. He understands ambition, he understands wholesome ambition and he understands hubris too. Even his own obsessive fixation on winning (balanced by the angst of loss) makes him a perceptive observer of fellow Leaders he has known.

'Real Peace' (1984)

NIXON "our foremost practitioner of Realpolitik" in RP -- could be seen as making a prediction of cessation of cold war.

Zach Vaughn: Although written for a bipolar world, Richard Nixon's Real Peace provides some lessons in the principles of realism as we head into an increasingly multipolar world. Written in 1983, Nixon's primary concern was the Soviet Union and how to coexist with the communist empire without either side resorting to nuclear war in the face of conflicts. However, the problems of arms control, terrorism, and dangerous ideologies are still an issue in the 21st century as they were in 20th, and thus Nixon provides us with a launching point as we maneuver our way through the new century

Nixon also addresses the issue of how we deal with the developing world: [Zach Vaugn quotes Nixon, RP] "The critics - both hawks and doves - fail to recognize a fundamental truth about nations in the developing world: they cannot have progress without security, and they cannot have security without progress." We have to give developing nations economic and military aid so they can stand on their own two feet. By improving the situation of the peoples in these developing nations, we help our own interests as well by creating a trading partner who has the wealth to purchase American goods, but it also helps to prevent the spread of Islamism and other dangerous ideologies, which foster terrorism and totalitarian regimes, because these ideologies prey on the poor and hopeless (inciting revolutions which leave the people in possibly worse conditions than before).

In conjunction with trade, we must spread our message to the people of the developing - and developed - world. Nixon makes the argument that we must strengthen public diplomacy programs like Radio Liberty which broadcast our message across the globe. Our ideological enemies will not stop their propaganda, even in times of peace, so we must step up to counter their message. Ours is a message of hope and liberty, which Nixon says "proclaim[s] the promise of freedom," that resonates with hearts and minds.

There are several other sound principles in this work, but I'll leave off with this one: [Quoting Nixon] "They fail to recognize the profound truth of British historian Paul Johnson's dictum: 'It is the essence of geopolitics to be able to distinguish between different degrees of evil.'"

'No More Vietnams' (1985)

" urges Americans to contest aggression wherever it rears its head.."

Ron Stutesman : This should be on the mandatory reading list at our colleges.

During the height of the Vietnam war, I was a junior high/senior high school student and never really understood what was the purpose of the war. I have read many books since and have a fairly good understanding of the how's and why's of the war. However, reading Nixon's book was a real eye opener. He lucidates very well how the US got involved in Vietnam; the major mistakes the Kennedy and Johnson administrations made in running the war; the smear campaigns by the media against the Presidents and their policies; why Nixon bombed Vietnam in 1972 and mined Haiphong harbor; how the peace protestors played into Uncle Ho's hands. I was stunned to learn this information. Nixon was, by far, an exceptional and gifted statesman and writer. He even stated that the next threat to world peace and to the US will come from terrorism (this was written in 1985!). Nixon states that the "civilized world must develop a unified policy for dealing with terrorism" and that terrorists "may be deterred once they realize that by using terror they will spark the wrath of all nations that do not want to exist in a world riven by a tiny minority who have resorted to violence...."

'1999 : Victory Without War' (1988)

"Mr. Nixon has set himself the task of reaching a broad mass audience, and if he succeeds in bringing home to that audience the logic of the imperatives imposed by a world of nuclear weapons and turbulent international politics, he will have made an important contribution to the maturation of American foreign policy."

~Nineteen Ninety Nine~

Elena Brunet writes: "Richard Nixon, the President who opened Communist China to the West and signed a loser's peace in Vietnam, writes in this volume a prescription for securing real peace in the remaining years of the 20th Century.

He proposes to take "a hard-headed look" at Gorbachev's policies of glasnost and perestroika, which have "generated so much hope and excitement in the West."

"That Gorbachev seeks to take a new approach to Soviet problems (means) . . . he wants the system to be more efficient, not less communist," Nixon writes. Gorbachev's changes have not moved "the Soviet Union toward more freedom at home or a less aggressive policy abroad," Nixon warns. "He sincerely does not want war. But he just as sincerely wants victory."

"Nixon has provided . . . a highly intelligent, though sometimes overstated breviary (of) . . . 'how great powers must behave in the real world,' " Josef Joffe wrote in these pages. "The book ought to be required reading for . . . every new American President."

[Comment by Bob Shepherd :Nixon was certainly correct that Soviet communism collapsed without war, and he certainly was correct that it's collapse was in large part related to economic factors." As ever, he upholds the view that power is the core of international politics, or the Nixon realpolitik, as they used to say. Still he has a kind of irrepressible confidsence, you might say. Nixon shows no sympathy for those who see America in decline. "We hold the future in our hands" are the book's closing words.]

Real Peace versus Perfect Peace - Real peace is the sort of pragmatic all-too-human peace that men (not being angels) must settle for. Perfect peace is the utopian, spiritual peace that must wait for other-worldly intervention. Thoughtful and in some ways philosophical, I believe -- the comparison shows the weighty thinking Nixon was capable of. It also delves into a dilemma touched on by people such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr -- and others. Nixon the Quaker-raised president argues for a necessary realism and hard-headedness in the realm of national defense.

'In the Arena' (1990)

Wilson Trevino :

The title In the Arena comes from a quote from Theodore Roosevelt. The quote states:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
As time passes Richard Nixon wisdom and judgment seems timeless. This book is a deeply personal book, because it exposes his faults and failures. After he had disgraced himself by resigning the presidency, Nixon was asked what he would do with the rest of his life. If he might stage one last comeback. His answer before the Oxford Union in 1978 became is mantra. He stated, "So long as I have breath in my body, I am going to talk about the great issues that affect the world. I am not going to keep my mouth shut. I am going to speak out for peace and freedom."

Arnold Toynbee in his book Study of History describes what he calls the phenomenon of withdrawal and return as a "disengagement and temporary withdrawal of the creative personality from his social milieu and his subsequent return to the same milieu transfigured in a newer capacity with new powers." Examples are Mohammed, Confucius, Peter the Great, and you can include Richard Nixon in the mix.

Nixon's life was one of always being underestimated and working harder than anyone else. Yes he made mistakes, but he also had great successes. This book allows you to gain insight into one of the most complex political figures of our nation's history. His intellect and curiosity of ideas and solutions about some of our worlds biggest challenges is admirable.

In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat and Renewal by Richard Nixon humanizes this man behind the growling smile and waving peace signs of victory that have become an iconic caricature of this former president.

Armand Vaquer : "I highly recommend Nixon's book IN THE ARENA. It is inspiring as it tells how he overcame adversity and career ruin. My grade: A+"

'Seize the Moment: America's Challenge in a One-Superpower World.' (1992)

"[Nixon] argues forcefully for an American internationalism that is anything but radically new. Indeed, what is most striking about Mr. Nixon's charge to seize the moment, nearly all of which is sensible and sound, is the continuity of his counsel."

Nixon writes: "Because the Persian Gulf possesses 65 percent of the world's proven oil reserves -- and because it's projected to be the only source of significant exportable oil in the world for the next twenty five years we have no choice but to remain engaged in the area." William G. Hyland calls Seize the Moment "Nixon's best book." He writes: While heavily criticizing woolly-headed isolationism, he wisely adds a last chapter prescribing some domestic remedies and, Nixon being Nixon, he finally comes down to the question: "Do we have the will to play a leading role?"

Elliot Abrams review

'Beyond Peace' (1994)

Published posthumously

"There is lots to find fault with in Richard Nixon's 10th and final book . . . Still, for all its irritations, 'Beyond Peace' is Mr. Nixon's best book."

"Beyond Peace is a manifesto for a new America, written with visionary insight and a realistic idealism by the thirty-seventh President of the United State. Richard Nixon offers a new agenda for the United States as it defines its role in the complex post-Cold War era." (jacket?)

Nixon's Last Will and Testament : BEYOND PEACE

May 08, 1994 review by Robert Dallek

No politician in American history had a longer and more controversial career than Richard Nixon. His actions during his 48 years as a congressman, senator, vice president, gubernatorial candidate, president, writer and world statesman provoked uncommonly strong expressions of support and opposition.

Celebrated by some as a great peacemaker who delivered America from a nuclear war, Nixon has been excoriated by others as the most corrupt President ever to sit in the White House. Eulogized by admirers as a model of courageous determination, an exemplar of the self-made American who overcame much adversity, critics remember him as a self-pitying opportunist who permanently damaged the presidency and deepened the country's political cynicism.

When commentators divide so sharply over a public figure, they take refuge in the observation that "history will judge," meaning, "in time, my side of the argument will be vindicated." But good, fair-minded history is less devoted to judging than trying to understand and explain. There is, of course, no objective, antiseptic history, no bias-free rendering of the past; score-settling can be as common among historians as among political advocates. But future generations, safely removed from the issues that stirred old passions, will be better able to take on the historian's task and produce something closer to a balanced, dispassionate assessment of Richard Nixon than anything biographers might write now.

But it will not be easy. Scholars will have a deuce of a time making sense of Nixon's contradictions. They will wonder about the meteoric rise to the vice presidency of someone whose campaigns against Jerry Voorhis and Helen Gahagan Douglas and response to the Alger Hiss case made him a mean-spirited political figure with an affinity for dirty tricks. They will struggle to explain the rise to the presidency of a man whose stiff, standoffish personality was ill-suited to a television age--a time when charm and charisma counted for more than the power of someone's intellect and ideas, Nixon's long suits. They will be hard pressed to understand how the man some dubbed "the great American loser" achieved his 1972 landslide, one of the greatest in American presidential history.

On matters of foreign policy as well, students of Nixon's career will have some difficult questions to answer. How will they make sense of the gap between the early anti-Communist ideologue and the pragmatic proponent of detente with Soviet Russia and Communist China? How will they square Nixon's four-year extension of the war in Indochina with American defeat in its longest conflict? How will they balance the impulse to reach accommodations with Communist governments in Europe and Asia against the policy of overturning Salvador Allende's constitutionally elected, left-leaning government in Chile?

As for domestic affairs during Nixon's presidency, it will only add to the confusion. The mixture of conservative, anti-government rhetoric and actions with the embrace of liberal policies, like wage and price controls, environmental protection, school desegregation in the South and welfare and health care reforms, cry out for explanation. Nixon's unsuccessful nominations of two conservative Southerners for the Supreme Court, followed by the appointment of Harry Blackmun, one of the most liberal justices of the last 30 years, further complicates the story.

And what of the criminality of a presidential Administration supposedly so devoted to law and order? Why, moreover, didn't Nixon, who worked so hard to cover up the Watergate scandal, destroy the secret tapes that compelled him to give up his office? And finally, there is the puzzle of the return to respectability of the country's most disgraced chief executive. Was it largely Nixon's doing? Or was it principally the changing times?

In A First-Rate Madness, Dr Nassir Ghaemi writes : "The best crisis leaders are either mentally ill or mentally abnormal; the worst crisis leaders are mentally healthy . . . What made Churchill see the truth where Chamberlain saw only illusion?" he asks rhetorically. "A key difference was that Chamberlain was mentally healthy, while Churchill was clearly not."

"When our world is in tumult, mentally ill leaders function best." Or : "In the storm of crisis, complete sanity can steer us astray, while some insanity brings us to port."

Let me give you a definition of the word 'liberal.' ... Franklin D. Roosevelt once said ... It is a wonderful definition, and I agree with him. 'A liberal is a man who wants to build bridges over the chasms that separate humanity from a better life.' -- Richard Nixon

Our youngest president, Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican), said: "We demand that big business give the people a square deal; in return we must insist that when anyone engaged in big business honestly endeavors to do right he shall himself be given a square deal."

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