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A Remarkable 37th President


AA - Nixon 37BY ALAN CARUBA

Forty years ago, on August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned the office of President; the first and only President to do so.

I was just into my thirties in 1968, the year Richard Nixon was elected the 37th President of the United States. What I recall most of that year was the way the Chicago police, after enduring an onslaught of name-calling and insults from anti-war protesters aggressively drove them away from their effort to disrupt the Democratic Party convention that would nominate Hubert Humphrey.

His opponent would be Nixon. George Wallace, a segregationist, ran as an independent that year as well. I wasn’t particularly interested in politics at the time. My focus was on my career where I had transitioned from having been a journalist to positions with the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Looking back, I now know I should have been paying more attention because, in the end, whoever is President affects the lives of not just Americans, but others throughout the world.

Like millions of Americans I had turned against the Vietnam War and, in a seminal way, it would influence my movement toward conservatism. For many people Nixon was instrumental, not just in rejuvenating the Republican Party, but for giving a voice to the “silent majority” who didn’t like the war in general and Lyndon Baines Johnson in particular. In 1968, LBJ announced he would not seek reelection.

Cover - Greatest ComebackIn the years since the Watergate scandal whose cover-up forced Nixon to resign in 1974, subsequent generations know him only for that historic event. Patrick J. Buchanan has done us all a favor by writing “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority.” ($34.00, Crown Publishing) and it is a special treat for anyone who loves history in general and politics in particular.

As much as today’s media may have loved Obama when he was nominated the Democratic Party’s candidate, in Nixon’s day he was loathed by them for his strong anti-communist stance when he served in the House of Representatives and Senate, and thereafter throughout the Cold War. After having been Eisenhower’s Vice President for two terms, Nixon would lose to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and in a race to become the Governor of California in 1962. Few would have ever imagined that he would be elected President in 1968. In 1972 he was reelected in a landslide.

Labeled by his political enemies “Tricky Dick”, Nixon was a politician of prodigious talent, but mostly he was a man who, through sheer determination overcame defeat, revived the Republican Party, and, while devoted to conservative principles, was also pragmatic enough to be open to new ideas and events. His circle of advisors shared his principles, but diverged among each other as to tactics and issues. Nixon wanted that. He would choose what advice he thought best.

Buchanan was a member of Nixon’s inner circle, a writer of superb talent and one with a keen eye for the political times in which he lived and which Nixon would shape. As he notes in his book, “The years that followed that 1969 inaugural would be a time of extraordinary accomplishment. By the spring of 1973, all U.S. troops were out of Vietnam, the POWs were home, every provincial capital was in Saigon’s (South Vietnam) hands.”

“Nixon had negotiated SALT I and the ABM treaty, the greatest arms-limitation treaties since the Washington Naval Agreement” in 1922. Significantly, “he had ended decades of hostility between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, dating to Mao’s revolution and the Korean War. He had put an end to the draft, signed into law the eighteen-year-old vote, put four justices on the Supreme Court including Chief Justice Warren Burger and future chief justice William Rehnquist.”

Those of us who lament Big Government must acknowledge that Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and on the plus side the National Cancer Institute. He would “rescue Israel from defeat in the Yom Kippur War (and) end Soviet domination of Egypt.”

What I recall about the 1960s was how volatile and violent that decade was. There were riots in many of our largest cities which engendered Nixon’s “law and order” message that was widely embraced. There were anti-war protests and there were assassinations that took the lives of JFK, his brother Robert, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The greatest contrast between now and then is a general feeling of apathy that does not manifest itself in marches on Washington, D.C. anymore and a very distinct breakdown in social mores that includes the embrace of same-sex marriage and the push to legalize marijuana in some states.

The al Qaeda attack on 9/11 generated a massive intelligence program and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. It made Americans angry enough at first to endorse the invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq.

Later Americans would watch the chaos the “Arab Spring” and these days the threat of the Islamic State, a self-declared caliphate that intends to control the whole of the Middle East and then destroy Israel and the U.S. The greatest threat of our times is Iran’s intention to build its own nuclear weapons.

Nixon brought about change on the basis of his vast knowledge of history, foreign affairs, and his judgment regarding the American people. By contrast, President Obama does not seem to like the American people or America.


Alan Caruba 2013 150 x 150The Moral Lib­eral Fea­tured Writer, Alan Caruba, writes a daily post at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com.An author, busi­ness and sci­ence writer, he is the founder of The National Anx­i­ety Center. Copyright 2014 © Alan Caruba

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Real freedom took real courage


 

By Chris Stirewalt

 

Political courage these days is generally defined as a politician doing something that might make it harder to get re-elected.

 

Real civic leadership has always been about convincing people to do what’s right and hard rather than what’s popular and easy. Courage is part of that. People are less likely to follow a leader who asks them to sacrifice and struggle when he or she will not.

 

But now, that sacrifice generally refers to a politician having to spend more of other peoples’ money on a primary election contest or, in rare cases, moving to a lucrative career in punditry or influence peddling sooner than expected.

 

The courage of defying voters to give lobbyists and press hounds what they want in exchange for a lobbying job or to join the press pack is not exactly shivering with the troops at Valley Forge. In fact it’s not really courage at all.

 

On Independence Day, Americans do not celebrate actual independence from Britain, which didn’t formally come until the signing of the Treaty of Paris on Sept. 3, 1783. Nor do we celebrate the start of the revolution that would make us free, which began in Massachusetts on April 19, 1775 and lasted for eight years.

 

What we celebrate is the act of declaring our independence; the ratification and signing of a document that was meaningless without the might of arms to make it so. What we celebrate are the ideas in the Declaration of Independence, that most remarkable piece of political writing in history, and the courage of the politicians who engaged in what was seen by the duly established authorities as treason.

 

King George III claimed to derive his authority from God and had dominion over the official religion of the land. These rebels were said to defy even Heaven in what they said and wrote in Philadelphia that sweltering summer.

 

A cottage industry has sprung up around diminishing the sacrifices and nobility of the Founding Fathers. And to be sure, they were flawed men. For those who seek to find the flaws in the American experiment, it is perhaps irresistible to see its founders in a negative light. Perhaps it would just seem impossibly square to extoll their virtues. Cynicism sounds savvier, especially for those who struggle to see the arc of history.

 

But as you celebrate today, remember the story of Richard Stockton. He was born to a wealthy New Jersey family that helped found what we now know as Princeton University. Stockton had even been given the chance to travel to London to appear before George III to make a presentation to the king from the college’s trustees.

 

Stockton had struggled to find a way that the 13 colonies could be self-governing but still subject to the crown, the kind of compromise that would later come to Canada and other British possessions. He argued for such a deal and even counseled with leaders including Edmund Burke on crafting such a plan.

 

Back at home, Stockton was elected to the Second Continental Congress. By 1775, the burden of taxes and punitive laws imposed by the crown convinced him that George III had no intention of granting autonomy. When discussion turned to declaring independence, he was prepared to sign. With his pen strokes, he, a celebrated and elite British subject, became an outlaw and a rebel.

 

Before the year was out, Stockton would be captured by loyalists, have his estate looted and burned and be turned over to the British army in chains. His family fled and Stockton was thrown in a prison in New York where he was badly mistreated and left in failing health.

 

Stockton endured his captivity and was eventually released after George Washington protested the abuse. But Stockton’s health never recovered and he would die at home in 1781 without living to see the country he helped found victorious and independent.

 

So the next time somebody tells you that politicians today lack courage because they refuse to defy the will of their constituents to please lobbyists and pundits, remember Richard Stockton and what real political courage looked like. It wasn’t about K Street expense-account dinners and celebrity status. It was about sacrificing everything for the sake of an idea.

 

A very happy Independence Day to you and yours from the Fox News First team and the whole family here at the Fox News Washington Bureau.

 

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NOAH’S WISDOM


Noah Webster understood what it means to claim Christ as Lord of his life. He understood the term “Lord” meant ruler of his life. Not just while in the house of God but applying Godly principles to every aspect of our life. No decision should ever be made without going to the Lord about that decision. When Christ is “truly” Lord of our life, our every decision is dependant upon His doctrine, and His principles. Few want to live such a dedicated life. Our Nation is in a terrible condition, economically, spiritually and morally because we have chosen to elect men that are spiritually and morally bankrupt and therefore they are bankrupting our nation and states. We have done this for personal gain but have been led to the place we did not really want to go. We must draw closer to the Lord and incorporate Him into every aspect of our life and elect men that have these same principles.

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