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Nixon’s Resignation, 40 Years On

From a tough standard to no standards.

by
Tom Blumer

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August 15, 2014 - 12:01 am
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Friday, August 8 marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s resignation announcement. He resigned the next day.

I saw and remember that speech.

As a college student in a hurry to get out, I was taking summer classes at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio (the real Miami, not that latter-day interloper in Florida). Living off-campus in a sweltering second-floor dump posing as an apartment, I headed over many evenings to the one male dorm which remained open for its cooler temps, beckoning piano, and working TV.

Most evenings, I was typically the only person in the dorm’s common area. Not that night. Perhaps twenty students were there. The heckling and hollering in which I eagerly participated was fierce.

I thought back to Nixon’s reelection in 1972. After Nixon crushed George McGovern, perhaps a dozen bitter, unhinged Miami students paraded around campus, screaming at the top of their lungs in anger at the outcome well into the wee hours of the morning. I went past them during a late-evening jog, thankful that I could probably outrun them if they set their sights on me.

Wherever they were almost two years later, they must have been beside themselves with glee. My perspective was relief that just desserts had been delivered to a man who had betrayed his nation.

Though not a particular fan of Tricky Dick — a take which my late mother later shared, when she informed me that 1972 was the only time she couldn’t bring herself to cast a presidential vote — I nonetheless understood that this clearly shady guy was far better than what we would have had to endure with McGovern.

I was also fully aware that the press had been at war with the onetime ardent anti-communist Nixon for over a quarter-century, going back to his exposure of Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy and his 1952 Checkers speech.

They thought he was gone for good after two stinging electoral defeats. The first was his “loss” in the 1960 presidential contest to John F. Kennedy; Nixon bowed out gracefully on election night rather than spend months pursuing clear electoral improprieties which arguably erroneously swung the election to JFK. The second was the California governor’s race in 1962, after which he declared, “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around any more.”

The press and the left thought they had marginalized conservatism and even the Republican Party forever when Barry Goldwater lost to Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964. They were furious that Dick Nixon could get past them — recall that until the advent of cable TV and talk radio, roughly a dozen media entities had virtually ironclad control over deciding what was news in the U.S. — and rise from the ashes of political oblivion to the presidency in 1968. They were absolutely beside themselves when he trounced McGovern four years later.

All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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I believe that it was the discovery and publicizing of the tapes that President Nixon had made of his meetings that led to his resignation, not merely the Watergate break-in. When Congress was investigating the Watergate break-in, the man testifying mentioned the tapes. The tapes are still available to be heard.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
While not, in any way, defending Nixon, I do want to point out one truth. It is often mentioned, as a way of deriding the man, that Nixon was paranoid.

Remember how, as Blumer mentions, he was robbed by the Democrats, and a more than willing media, of the 1960 presidential election. And then the California governor's race four years later. And how the leftist media hounds constantly nipped at his heels. Mocking him at every turn. This sort of thing had been going on for nearly 20 years. If I were him, I think I'd be a bit paranoid, as well.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are still a representative republic. Our government reflects the values of the people. Clinton wasn't convicted and Obama wasn't impeached because the people didn't and don't want it. Honor, integrity and morality are in shambles in our culture, and so, therefore, in our government. We are past the point of no return. All that's left now is for those with honor, integrity and morality to be ready to put it all back together again once it falls apart.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Be the Remnant.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
One has to ask, "Why didn't the people want it?"

The answer would be, because the media, instead of being the neutral messenger, as taken sides. And rather than reporting the fact, spins the story in such a manner as to orchestrate the ending they desire. And they're real good at it.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nixon opened a dialog with China. In his brilliant work "The Real War" he tells of his intentions and he achieved them. Clinton Gave the farm away not Nixon. It would be good if this author read that book and maybe a few others by Nixon. He admitted his error in the price and wage controls but points out that the Democratic Congress was passing something far worse. I have seen many criticisms of Nixon but never in context of what he was up against. A piss poor break in that he most likely DID NOT order as it did not benefit his campaign he was running against McGovern not the DNC.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
The country is now paying dearly for the Senate’s 1999 failure to carry out its duty to convict Clinton.
Certainly true, but why not finish the thought? Among Obama's many apologists you'll find a slew of R lawyers -- including on this site -- eager to pirouette on pinheads in a rush to tell you how 'difficult' it all is, so best do nothing.

The loyal opposition is nothing of the kind; their motives stink like last week's fish.

How about integrity? More cowbell, too.
Nixon had more of both than today's 'leaders'.
10 weeks ago
10 weeks ago Link To Comment
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