Friday, May 24, 2013

In Defense of Richard Nixon

All of the invidious comparisons between Obama's scandals and those of Richard Nixon have stuck in many craws. Bill Kristol, for one, has had enough:

I protest. Will no one stand up for Richard Nixon? Richard Nixon was a combat veteran, a staunch and brave anti-Communist, a man who took on the liberal establishment and at times his own party's as well, a leader who often thought for himself and had the courage of his convictions, a president who assembled a first-rate Cabinet and one who—while flawed both in character and in policy judgment—usually tried to confront the real problems and deal with challenges of his times. Richard Nixon led neither the country nor his own administration from behind.
Hear! Hear! Nixon may have had plenty of faults, but at his best he was a true statesman who worked at an elevated level for virtually his whole adult life. He was arguably the last president we've had who would have lost the all-important "who would you rather have a beer with?" primary. His administration not only saw the moon landing, and the opening of China. It also saw the taming and defeat of the revolutionary forces set in motion by the Great Society. Whether with the Hiss case, or ending the Viet Nam War on honorable terms, Nixon faced down those who would destroy America. For all his faults, he was a great man who did great things, something you can't say about the president to whom he is presently being compared. 

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