Nixon: Sympathy for the Devil
Richard Nixon is one of the most hated people in American politics; and much of the hatred against him comes across to me as misplaced. The people who hated Nixon should have hated Reagan with much greater intensity; yet Reagan consistently gets high ratings in surveys about presidents, whereas Nixon gets the bottom of the barrel. Nixon was basically a moderate, whereas Reagan was an aggressive right-winger. Why then do we see American people hating Nixon but loving Reagan?
There are a number of policies that came from Nixon that should make American Left very happy. One of these was opening the door to China; another was replacing the conscript military with a professional military. Both of these policies have been huge winners. China has gone from bottom of the world to the world's second largest economy. And the professional military has made it possible for the military to be filled with people who are there willingly, who are cut out for military service, and who as such make much better warriors than the people who had been there because of the draft.
My family has had personal contact with famous Soviet dissident Lyudmila Alexeyeva. One of her family members had a cat named Nixon and a cat named Kissinger. The Russians had a lot of respect for Nixon, in the same way as the Europeans had for Bill Clinton. There is a reason for this respect. The man had a clue.
There is a lot of similarity between Nixon and Clinton, however different they are from each other in their styles and their personalities. They were both moderates in their parties who presided over America when America was going very far in the opposite direction. For this both of them were hated by the people involved in these directions - Nixon, by the New Left; and Clinton, by the right-wingers. And the service that both Nixon and Clinton provided for America was keeping it intact and on a constitutional path throughout these times. And just as Nixon implemented policies from the Left that only a Republican would have been able to implement, so did Clinton implement policies from the Right that only a Democrat would have been able to implement: Welfare reform, international trade, a government overhaul and fiscal sanity. The hatred that came the way of both presidents appears to be a result of them not being a part of the political waves that were sweeping America at the time of their administrations. However from the historical standpoint both should be commended for keeping the country intact at the time when it was losing its head in either direction.
If American Left wants someone to hate, there are plenty of people currently in American politics who deserve their hatred. Karl Rove, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ralph Reed, and others along the same line, deserve every bit of hatred that they can get. As for Richard Nixon, let the bygones be bygones. He belongs to another era. And not everything that he did was nearly as bad as what the American Right is trying to pull on America today.