Let’s say this guy was running for president on a third-party ticket:
- proven track record for getting country out of wars
- strong foreign policy diplomat who forged stronger relationships with powerful developing (and enemy) nations
- implemented the first significant federal affirmative action program
- dramatically increased spending on federal employee salaries
- organized a daily press event and daily message for the media
- oversaw first large-scale integration of public schools in the South
- advocated comprehensive national health insurance for all Americans
- imposed wage and price controls in times of crisis
- indexed Social Security for inflation and created Supplemental Security Income
- created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Office of Minority Business Enterprise
- promoted the Legacy of Parks program
- appointed four Supreme Court Justices, three of which voted with the majority in Roe v. Wade
Have you figured out where this is going yet?
No, I’m not here to tell you that what American needs is Richard Nixon. I’m sure as hell not here to laud the man, who was – as Hunter Thompson so eloquently put it – so crooked he had to screw his pants on in the morning. I’m not here to argue that his policies were always noble or implemented with unrelenting elegance. Yes, he got us out of Vietnam, but not before considerable mucking around in the region. Yes, his record on race was … mixed. And so on.
The point I’m making isn’t about Nixon at all. Instead, it’s about our major political parties and the people who occupy them today. It’s about how far to the right even the left has slid in the last 35 years.
Let’s advance a posit, shall we?
If he were a candidate in the 2008 presidential election, Richard M. Nixon would be more progressive than either the Republican or Democratic nominees.
Thanks to Wikipedia for pulling a lot of stuff together in one handy-dandy place. I don’t usually cite them, but for things like this they’re a good jumping-off point.