Skip to comments.Nixon vs Reagan ( tickle the uvula alert)
Posted on 06/26/2008 9:32:41 PM PDT by gusopol3
The near simultaneous publication of historian Sean Wilentz book Age of Reagan and the publication of activist / reporter Rick Pearlsteins Nixonland, previously praised on these pages, has caused a dust-up over who most personified and ultimately transformed the modern conservative age which played out on the New Republic website.
Although I am neither historian nor an unbiased reporter, I was a participant in the Nixon realignment which ultimately begat the Reagan revolution. .....
The change in Richard Nixon comes with Goldwaters sweeping nomination and what Nixon then understands can be salvaged, even nurtured,in the ashes of Barrys defeat. You cant win without the right, and you cant win with just the right, Nixon told me over a martini in his Saddle River, New Jersey home.....
Reagan was a staunch defender and bitter ender when Nixon got embroiled in the Watergate scandal and was forced to resign.
In the White House years, President Reagan was in constant touch with President Nixon almost always having Nancy Reagan on the bedroom extension so they all could talk and she could listen to the conversations.
(Excerpt) Read more at stonezone.com ...
Thank you for the post. I just love FREEPERS because of the information learned. Do you know that I went to a Catholic School and still mentioned impeachment (even though that was the extent of the history lesson on Nixon).
I learn something new everyday on this website full of FRiends!!!
Interesting piece and I’m sure some of Stone’s points are very good, but Reagan was unique and his instincts were completely “Un-Nixon-like”.
And I’m sure Stone was very close to both men and all their insiders, so I would have expected him not to misspell Mike Deaver as “Mike Beaver”.
I agree there . Wilenz on Reagan is like Rove on Kerry, only less fair.
One of the biggest points made, and one I had forgotten over the years was that Reagan , unlike Goldwater,was a strong supprorter of Nixon at the depths of Watergate. If past associations and continued relationships are revealing of proclivities and values, ala Obama-Wright, Obama-Ayers, then you have to look at Reagan -Nixon and ask, what did he see in him?
you know, I’m finding spelling slips through the years (I’m not as good a speller as I once was and I know I have a harder time looking at words and deciding “that’s right” or “that’s wrong”)
Off the top of my head in the middle of the night. I surprised myself at how well Clinton came out - perhaps because he didn’t accomplish much.
I give him a lot of points for ending World War II in a way that minimized US casualties. He also inherited a bad hand in Europe, but stepped up to the plate to hold the line with the Reds where he could. (Most notably the Berlin airlift, also Greece.) And don't forget his quick action to recognize Israel. Again, making the best of a mess created by others.
Domestically, most bad policies were carryovers, not new.
That is also what I have always thought about Nixon. I bellieve - after the Watergate breakin became news - that if he immediately fired all involved, he would have survived it. I never believed he was a crook. I do believe he was paranoid but with good reason. After tagging Alger Hiss the leftists had him in their sights. They tried to get him in the 50’s but failed. And then considering the press he had to endure leading up to and including his Presidency, who wouldn’t be paranoid.
Why is Wilson listed twice? Did you mean Harding? If not, where is Harding?
After that, the GOP rode to power on the coalition of cultural populists and economic elitists.
Reagan tapped into the newly arrived cultural populists with the cultural imagery of the "shining city on the hill".
Unfortunately for the GOP, this coalition of cultural populists and economic elitists is dissolving.
don’t miss this:
They both deal with the broad subject of the GOP becoming the Populist Party.
BTW, Mike Huckabee said that the Reagan coalition(or Nixon coalition) between cultural populists and economic elitists was over, but that he could build a new GOP coalition between the economic populists and cultural populists.
The reality is found in the 2006 elections where cultural populists were helping to elect economic populists(dems) such as Shuler, Testor, Allen, McKaskill, and others.
we wish; Webb
I'll pay attention to your thesis
There are three political dynamics in play.
This rising tide of populism which is affecting both parties. When the US switched from an ag economy to an industrial economy, there was a strong wave populism. Today's populism is a result of shifting from an industrial economy to an information/services economy. It is more complicated today because both parties have populists and elitists. The dems are economic populists and cultural elitists while the GOP is cultural populists and economic elitists.
The left versus right dynamic has changed into radical left versus radical center versus radical right.
Paleos versus Neos.
Here's some interesting reading:
For starters, Goldwater was envious of Reagan’s success. Some say he hated Reagan. Goldwater also didn’t like Nixon and called him the most dishonest man he’d ever met. Truth was, many people continued to support Nixon during the Watergate hearings. Until it no longer made any sense to. Reagan and Nixon did have an odd relationship. Reagan knew that Nixon was a smart politico, but a seriously flawed man. Nonetheless, Reagan was also loyal to old friends and had a soft spot for the Eisenhower Era, when peace and prosperity reined.
Thank God Fat Teddy K never became POTUS.
God bless Ronald Reagan.
I’m seen various freepers and GOP presidential candidates and conservative writers make pro-Truman comments that shock and disgust me. Because he nuked Japan he gets a pass on being a leftist product of a corrupt political machine. What is your opinion of the man?
I’ve written about it from time to time. I also approach the topic from a personal standpoint because the most prominent member of my family was a high-profile Missouri politician from the Truman (and pre-Truman) era, albeit a dozen years older. He should’ve been precisely the kind of individual that should’ve gone on to the White House. Instead, he ended his career losing to a legacy kid instead of taking his rightful place in the U.S. Senate in 1932 (where he would’ve served alongside Truman 2 years later). We hear about the corrupt rodent-infested Kansas City of Boss Tom Pendergast, but we never hear about St. Louis’s Republican Mayor Henry William Kiel (my cousin). Kiel who presided over the 5th largest city in the nation (largest city west of the Mississippi, even larger than Los Angeles) during World War I and for 12 straight years, then the longest-serving major-city Mayor in the country and record-holding Mayor to this day. Kiel, the builder who made St. Louis the premier city of the midwest (in stark contrast to the corruption-riddled Chicago)... Grr...
Anyway, back to Truman. Removing the family jealousy and annoyance for a moment, I will say he is a complex man like many others. I don’t believe him to be a bad man, but he did have a considerable streak of arrogance and stubbornness (without some of those qualities, however, it’s unlikely he would’ve become President). He went out of his way to get into military service when his poor eyesight should’ve kept him out, and he distinguished himself during WW1 (then, of course, so did my teenage grandfather serving in the British Army in the Middle-Eastern theater, who got to crawl on his belly ahead of his battallion searching by hand for landmines — and then having to disarm them).
Anyway, Truman likely would never have gotten to the U.S. Senate (indeed, his jump from being a lower-level county judge/executive to a major-state Senator was pretty astonishing — actually, Mitch McConnell made a similar jump in 1984, but he didn’t rise from a corrupt machine) had it not been for the fact the Republican brand in 1934 was toxic (he knocked off a sitting GOP incumbent from the SW part of Missouri, Roscoe Conkling Patterson, who had rode in on Hoover’s coattails — 4 years later, my cousin ran AHEAD of President Hoover’s showing in Missouri, but still lost). Truman did scant little during his first 6 years and only barely won reelection in both the primary and general of 1940 (the MO GOP was already in recovery mode at that point and would have a good chunk of the Congressional delegation for the ‘40s). Truman ostensibly did better in his 2nd term by rooting out corruption (wasteful spending or outright fraud) in the WW2 Defense Industry (at first, FDR wasn’t happy with this little pissant Senator, but as soon as Truman began to draw national attention and positive press — well, you can guess how FDR felt THEN).
Truman came at a great time for FDR, they were needing to dump the pro-Soviet Vice-President Wallace and Truman fit the bill (came from the Midwest, a rep as a corruption-fighter and cost-saver), absent him, I’m not sure whom the Dems would’ve turned to in ‘44.
As for his time as President, it, too, is a mixed bag. To say he had a steep learning curve when he became President was an understatement. He literally was kept in the dark (being VP in those days was largely a worthless position, you could just be kept on ice most of the time — nobody cared. Nearly 2 decades later, LBJ so detested the job he was prepared to leave it in 1965 had things not changed for him). He then, in a very short period of time, had to make snap decisions at a critical juncture with information that FDR had been sitting on for a long period (especially with respect to the atomic program). So, yes, I do think he deserves accolades and credit for presiding over the end of WW2. Lesser men or hacks (or Lord help us, Henry Wallace) could’ve made the kind of decision that would’ve led to perhaps the worst cataclysm of the entire modern era — the Battle of Japan carried to their shores by our troops, fought to the point of hand-to-hand combat to the last man, woman, and child. Millions more people would’ve died beating Japan into submission. That outcome was unimaginable, and Truman had to make a terrible decision. In doing so, he spared untold numbers of lives, of our troops, and of Japanese civilians.
Personally, I wish Truman had retired in 1948, that way he could’ve gone out on top. I think his last term (1949-53) was a fiasco, both domestically and abroad. I personally wish he had taken a different course in the Korean War and followed MacArthur’s suggestion to take it to China (although you could also understand why he was war-weary and not wanting to wage what would’ve been another all-out war, but if we could’ve used limited tactical atomic weaponry to restore Nationalist control of Mainland China, we’d have been far better off today).
Truman was also well aware of the Communist infiltration of our government (I would say he was NOT sympathetic to it — but that he was frustrated by it, and tended to show more anger towards critics that pointed out the fact of the matter than he did towards those seeking to undermine the government — indeed, when Sen. McCarthy made the charges in his much-misunderstood 1950 Wheeling speech, he was only repeating what were KNOWN facts by the State Department). Truman was also desperately looking for a legacy by 1952 and instead had massively high disapproval ratings (worse than the current President’s) and he was frustrated and bitterly angry that he couldn’t persuade Eisenhower to accept his offer to run as the Democrat nominee that year (and spent the rest of his life badmouthing Ike and repeating nasty rumors and innuendoes about him — including the one about his having an affair with Miss Somersby, which Ike’s official biographer said was a steaming load). It was an unfortunate way to exit office in 1953, in stark contrast to 1949.
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