Skip to comments.Romney as Nixon? 2012 Carries Unsettling Echoes for GOP
Posted on 12/21/2011 7:40:12 PM PST by neverdem
Throughout this seemingly endless election season, analysts have thrown out a variety of historical analogies to help explain the current race. Some have suggested that this election is like 1948's (the one postwar example we have of a president winning re-election amid a sluggish economy), while others have looked to 1980, where a strong conservative defied the oddsmakers' bets and defeated an incumbent the country perceived as hyper-liberal.
One year that has received scant attention is 1968. Michael Barone recently suggested this parallel -- in the context of the Occupy Wall Street protests -- during a panel discussion we both participated in. The OWS protests have since died down, and werent widespread enough to engender the same type of silent majority backlash that the counterculture protests of the late 60s did. But I do think there are a few parallels between 1968 and today, which evoke Ghosts of Elections Past, Present and Future.
The first parallel between the two elections is the presence of a GOP front-runner who has no clear political compass. Like Mitt Romney today, no one really knew what to make of Richard Nixon in 1968. In the 1940s and early 1950s he was known for his hard-charging anti-communism. Dwight Eisenhower had added Nixon to the Republican ticket in 1952 in large part for precisely this reason: to help placate the more conservative wing of the Republican Party, which was furious with Eisenhower for defeating their favored candidate, Robert Taft.
By 1960, Nixon had shifted toward the moderate, establishment Tom Dewey wing of the GOP. It reached a point where we can aptly describe the 1960 election as a sort of Seinfeld election: It was an election about nothing. Nixon and Kennedy agreed on most issues, and Kennedy was actually to the right of Nixon...
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...
The title is from the regular webpage.
Proposed the Earned Income Tax Credit. He wasn't around to sign it into law, Gerald Ford did that.
Even so; Romney is Nixon’s toupe.
More doublespeak from our betters. Another euphemism for welfare.
IMO, a lot of our current problems would not exist were it not for the labels designed to mask the true nature of laws, programs and various government actions.
Everyone is free to add to this list also. See how long we can make it.
Nixon was for government run health-care.
Good article. I do *somewhat* disagree with this line, though:
“while others have looked to 1980, where a strong conservative defied the oddsmakers’ bets and defeated an incumbent the country perceived as hyper-liberal.”
I think the “hyper-liberal” perception applied more to Carter’s VP Mondale in 1984 than Carter himself in 1980. For most people in 1980, it wasn’t about Carter being seen as a liberal, but being indecisive, ineffective, and pretty much clueless on how to lead or govern. Also, his challenge from within the party came not from the southern/moderate wing (which still existed back then, to some extent), but from Ted Kennedy, the poster child for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. He wasn’t liberal enough for some in the base.
Nixon did govern to the left of Bill Clinton.
But...Consider the context of the times.
And...Nixon was a very good (better than average) President.
And let’s not forget his legacy.
Rumsfeld, and Cheney.
Raegarding the Court, Nixon put the Minnesota twins on the Court, and one of them, Haryr Blackmun, produced the worst majority opinion since Dred Scot in the case of Roe. v. Wade. Nixon produced almost no conservative outcomes, not even in Viet Nam.
Nixon was a Big Government Republican too.
The Controlled Substance Act.
Thanks for the link.
Tom Wicker, NY Times liberal, wrote this book after Nixon was safely out of office. Wicker's argument that Nixon was a liberal has to be definitive.
Nixon won because George W. Romney was “brainwashed,” and then Nixon put Romney at HUD. Nelson Rockefeller couldn’t make up his mind whether to run and got in too late, as did Ronald W. Reagan. So Nixon was the one that year; the Repubican primary voters continually shoot themselves in the foot. What makes one think 2012 will be any different?
Mr. Nixon was our failure, we knew it, but we took him in the words of Daniel Webster “drugged as he was.” Our little Republican primary voters really have a bad track record, don’t they? All they know is whose “turn it is.”
When the people take over, they don’t produce candidates any better than the party bosses. Lest we forget, Lincoln was nominated through a bunch of tricks by his friends, and won because the convention was held on his home grounds. I must say that between letting the elites choose and the people choose, the bosses are a happy compromise. They picked Harding, but they also picked Coolidge. Coolidge was the right man for the times, even if he got there by accident. Hoover is the example of a great man who was too small for the times.
I have no use for the moderate RINO Dick Nixon but enough with this silly meme. Historical revisionism at it's worst. Kennedy was a g-damn liberal slimeball like the rest of his family! I'm the proud grandson of Catholics for Nixon.
I so wish that the SOB had lived long enough to pass all the crap that Johnson eventually did in his stead. We wouldn't see this absurd mythology. If he were still alive today he'd be licking Obama's butt along with his fellow scumbag Jimmuh Carter, singing the praises of his beloved brother's legacy, Obamacare. Attending fundraisers with the partial-birth abortion crowd, ect ect.
Kennedy is the finest example of someone who died before his time getting unjustly glorified.
1. Kathleen, who was ostracized from most of the family for not marrying a Catholic (killed in an airplane crash)
2. Rosemary, no explanation needed.
The rest should have been Einsatzgruppened off the face of the earth.
I had to look up that word! Odd I never heard that. I should watch more “History Channel”.
Although I did yesterday and you know what was on? A whole show on whether or not SPACE ALIENS may have given Greek Fire to the ancients. Unreal they would produce that kind of crap. South Park mocked this recently.
I saw 2 minutes of the ET/Greek “experience”. The History Channel jumped the shark. They make South Park look like a docudrama.
If you think of the damage the Kennedy Crime Family did to this country, and ostensibly, the world, it makes the Civil War look like a tiff over tea time by comparison.
So, when I use a horrific term like “Einsatzgruppen”; think how much better the world would be if it there were no Kennedys ever in power.
Plus, it’s fitting since the old man was an antiSemitic Nazi sympathizer. Funny, how we NEVER hear much about that though, huh?
Oh right, he was a Rat.
I sincerely hope the freepers who continually lick JFK's boot straps and repeat this myth on every JFK thread don't actually believe it. If you confront many of them over Kennedy's ACTUAL beliefs/policies they'll begrungedly admit he was a loyal FDR new deal liberal but then start yapping about how we have to PRETEND he was conservative on internet forums because it will "show today's Dems their party has left them.." blah blah blah.
Personally I think our side converts as many Dems by quoting Kennedy's "conservative" beliefs as their side does by quoting Eisenhower and saying "even REPUBLICAN Eisenhower warned about the millitary-industrial complex..." I haven't met person yet that said "OMG! I WAS a Republican until I realized TODAY'S REPUBLICANS are puppets of the military-industrial complex than Eisenhower warned about!" History revisionism on both sides is beyond ridiculous. Ike would not have hung out at ANSWER rallies with Cindy Sheehan and Kennedy would not have joined the GOP and been a Reaganite.
If any freeper would have voted for "conservative" JFK over Nixon in 1960, shame on you. That election was EXTREMELY close and it's sickening to think that some people who call themselves conservative would have joined Daley's criminal RAT machine in Chicago and illegal aliens in Texas to put JFK over the top on the electoral map. Nixon was certainly not a reliable right-winger (personally I think Newt is the closest to him ideologically... liberals think both are Darth Vader even though they routinely stab conservatives in the back to show what "intellectuals" they are). However, Nixon was still 10x more conservative than Kennedy. If you want to know why this country is now flooded with third world immigrants that we would have never dreamed of in Eisenhower's time, look no further than JFK. The 1965 Immigration Act was written by his brother Ted after JFK had made such legislation ending "unfair" immigration quotas a centerpiece of his "new frontier" administration. Virtually all of Johnson's policies were just continuations and beefed up versions of Kennedy proposals -- in fact, that's one of the reasons he was so successful in getting them through Congress. LBJ would invoke the dead President's memory, cite Kennedy's support his liberal programs, and say we had to pass so-and-so socialist scam as a "tribute" to him. The 1960s caused enormous damage to this country and it would have never happened if Kennedy/Johnson hasn't gotten in power in the first place.
I applaud you!
That's what Phyllis Schlafly said: Nixon capitulated to Rockefeller's wing of the party. It's probably too dramatic. Nixon wasn't so very different from every candidate who moves to the center in the general election. He was running on Eisenhower's record and Eisenhower wasn't a hardliner or ideologue. When you look at where the country was psychologically and what the issues were, that was the obvious and logical strategy.
It reached a point where we can aptly describe the 1960 election as a sort of Seinfeld election: It was an election about nothing.
We've had elections like that in the past. It was a sign of consensus in the country, not necessarily a bad thing. That general harmony and agreement couldn't last. Things were bound to change and politics would inevitably polarize, but compared to what we've been going through lately, that Eisenhower-Kennedy era comity doesn't look so awful.
Nixon and Kennedy agreed on most issues, and Kennedy was actually to the right of Nixon.
Nixon positioned himself to the right of Nixon on missile defense by complaining about a missile gap that didn't exist. And changes in the political landscape made his tax cut policies look conservative, though that shouldn't be taken at face value. But Kennedy was more likely to move left in office than Nixon was because of who Kennedy's advisors were and what Nixon's experience with liberals was.
The problem with this "Romney as Nixon" argument is that it doesn't just apply to Romney alone. Something very similar happened with the Bushes. Something very similar would have happened with Dole or McCain. Something very similar would happen with Gingrich or Perry. Pretty much every president turns out to be a disappointment to the hardliners.
FWIW, I was thinking about Nixon lately, but in terms of Newt Gingrich's campaign. As with Nixon, people are wondering whether there really was a "new Newt," hoping that there is and fearing that there isn't. As with Nixon, there's a limit to how much people can change, especially if their past ways have brought them some success.