High Life

Happy Birthday, Mr. Nixon

March 01, 2013

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Nixon

I was distressed to learn of some of your current problems and wanted to send you a word of encouragement. Since the time Bob Tyrrell introduced us a few years ago, I have been one of your admirers….

That letter, dated January 23, 1985, was addressed to me and was signed by Richard Nixon. I had it framed and it hangs in my office. The only other letter hanging next to it is from Sir Denis Thatcher after he and the Lady visited me in Switzerland. Nixon and Thatcher were two vastly misunderstood leaders who will one day be rightly seen as giants among the midgets who preceded and followed them. Lady T. I do not know well. President Nixon and I grew close during the late 1970s and 80s. He was the best-read politician I ever met, which might not be saying much, but his grasp of history was as astounding as the loathing the Eastern liberal establishment had for him.

“The media is full of bums who wish to prove their liberal credentials by flogging a long-dead president who was by far the greatest leader America had since Washington and Jefferson.”

The media’s hatred for Richard Nixon rivals that of Hollywood. According to William Goldman, screenwriter of Watergate film All the President’s Men, it is not important what is true—it is important what the audience accepts is true. In other words, go as far as you can with the Big Lie just as long as the suckers swallow it. Almost forty years after Nixon left office, the attacks against him remain relentless. A recent article by a nonentity in The New Yorker refers to the 37th president as politically and personally awful. The nonentity does not qualify this. Was the opening toward China an awful thing? Or the one toward the Soviet Union? Or the exposure of Alger Hiss as a wartime spy? Or the ending of the draft? Or the creation of the National Cancer Institute? What about the Council on Environmental Quality? Or history’s biggest landslide, 49 states and 60 percent of the vote in 1972? I could go on.

The media is full of bums who wish to prove their liberal credentials by flogging a long-dead president who was by far the greatest leader America had since Washington and Jefferson. He was the dominant figure on the national stage in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, and his influence lasted through the 20th century.

Nixon ordered the strategic airlift that saved Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Kissinger flew into Tel Aviv and Golda Meir declared that Israel never had a better friend than the 37th president and his secretary of state. These days the squalid neocons in National Review attack Kissinger for being jealous of Senator Patrick Moynihan and for trying to rein in Moynihan’s freewheeling ways that equated Israel’s policies with those of the United States. Moynihan was only sucking up to Jewish voters in New York State; Kissinger and Nixon were conducting realpolitik with the Soviet Union, which had strong allies among Israel’s biggest enemies.