Richard Nixon: Conservative, moderate, or something else? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14082064
During his Presidency, Nixon was associated with conservatism and the political Right. To the younger generation and anti-Vietnam protesters, he represented an authoritarian establishment.

However, Nixon had many policies which seem downright liberal and contrary to conservative principles. He opened diplomatic relations with China, signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union and got them to lay off their support for North Vietnam, fixed prices on food, and endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment after it passed both houses of Congress.

On the contrary, Nixon pursued secret bombings in Cambodia and Laos, sought to win over segregationist voters with a "middle way" between integration and segregation, and advocated a New Federalism which would have given more autonomy to state and local governments.

Nixon was a complicated man, but his policies seem to wildly veer between the Left and Right spectrum throughout his Presidency.

Do you think Nixon's a conservative? A liberal? Or a scheming opportunist?
Last edited by EastCoastAmerican on 15 Oct 2012 04:27, edited 1 time in total.
#14082070
If Nixon Were Alive Today, He Would Be Far Too Liberal to Get Even the Democratic Nomination

Some of the things Nixon did that no Democrat today could get away with:

"...He implemented the first significant federal affirmative action program.

He dramatically increased spending on federal employee salaries.

He oversaw the first large-scale integration of public schools in the South (something the crackers where I grew up were none too happy about).

He proposed a guaranteed annual wage (aka a “negative income tax”).

He advocated comprehensive national health insurance (single payer) for all Americans.

He indexed Social Security for inflation and created Supplemental Security Income.

He 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..."

What this really demonstrates is how far right the US electorate has moved in objective terms.
#14082286
Nixon was a moderate with some liberal leanings (by today's standards). He was a politician above all else though. He didn't have real economic convictions and just followed the advice of the intellectuals. His creation of the EPA and all those other programs was mainly because he (foolishly) believed he could drive an edge in the anti-war movement.

The US electorate has moved dramatically to the right economically over the years. However, it has moved in a somewhat more liberal direction socially over the past few years. The religious right is partially responsible for America's rightward push since it turned working class whites over to the GOP for social reasons who then moved things rightward fiscally. However it is arguable that the religious right's last grand hurrah was the Bush reelection in 2004. Things have changed a lot in eight years. Slight majorities now favor gay marriage and marijuana legalization for instance. But still ideas on the economic front that were centrist forty years ago are now portrayed as leftist.
#14089248
What this really demonstrates is how far right the US electorate has moved in objective terms.

"Richard Nixon looks like a flaming liberal today...

nucklepunche wrote:Nixon was a moderate with some liberal leanings (by today's standards).

nucklepunche wrote:The US electorate has moved dramatically to the right economically over the years.


What's concealed by all of this is how far LEFT the country had drifted by the 70s. In a broader view of American History, it's the 70s that are the anomaly, with the current electorate being seen as a correction, though with a long way to go, as it's still far to the left of the historical baseline.
#14089864
Nixon was economically much more centrist than current Republican and would be considered left of center in today's environment. He proposed a health policy similar to Barack Obama's so-called "Marxist" health care.

Stuff Nixon did vs. what Republicans would say about it today.

Nixon: Instituted a War on Cancer.

GOP today: Private sector should do cancer research, we don't want Marxist gummint run cancer pills!

Nixon: Opened US relations to China.

GOP today: Appeaser! Terrorist!

Nixon: Switched to a more flexible monetary system.

GOP today: Kman for president! (Too bad he's one of them foreigners... maybe.)

Nixon: Supported Equal Rights Amendment

GOP today: Radical feminazi bastard!

Nixon: Established the EPA.

GOP today: Socialist environazi!

Nixon: Proposes mandatory health insurance.

GOP today: Socialist Marxist Commie Nazi Islamofascist!!!
#14089940
An important nuance regarding Nixon is that he didn't believe in opening relations to China as an end in itself.
In foreign relations, he was first and foremost a believer in power politics. For him, such an opening was a token to be used against the Soviets.

Liberals believe in appeasement as an end in itself. They believe that "appeasing" an enemy country would show US moral virtue and that that gestures of kindness would be reciprocated (which explains the wish to close down Guantanamo bay,the abandonment of the Shah of Iran, Somoza, etc) . Nixon never believed any of this. None that he ever did was unilateral.

I don't think that most conservatives are so ideologically inflexible as not adopt a pragmatic foreign policy.
George W Bush also made openings toward Qaddafi during his reign when the latter renounced his WMD program. Reagan didn't change a thing to Nixon's policies toward China.

What the others have said about Nixon on the economy would be quite correct albeit I don't think that the current GOP is very far to the right either. Perhaps in rhetoric but so was Nixon.

8)
#14098354
He was a neoconservative: no regard for personal freedoms or economic ones.

Nixon was not a neoconservative. He didn't give a rat's ass how other countries govern themselves; he simply wished to manoeuvre America to its best possible advantage in the existing world. His lack of regard for personal or economic 'freedoms' was merely a consequence of his ruthless pragmatism rather than part of an overarching vision for changing the world.

It's no shock that he was also among our worst Presidents.

He was actually among America's best presidents, if one leaves aside his self-destructive paranoia on the domestic front.
#14098510
Potemkin wrote:He didn't give a rat's ass how other countries govern themselves; he simply wished to manoeuvre America to its best possible advantage in the existing world.


Or, in other words, a neoconservative

Potemkin wrote:His lack of regard for personal or economic 'freedoms' was merely a consequence of his ruthless pragmatism


That sentence is a contradiction. There is nothing pragmatic about horrible policy.

Potemkin wrote:He was actually among America's best presidents, if one leaves aside his self-destructive paranoia on the domestic front.


And the War on Drugs, and the collapse of Bretton-Woods, and the wage and price controls resulting from the collapse of Bretton-Woods, and his support for socialized medicine, and the creation of the EPA...
#14098512
Or, in other words, a neoconservative

No. A neoconservative wants to change the existing world, through invasions and regime changes; Nixon merely wanted to manoeuvre the USA to its best advantage in the existing order of things. He didn't give a flying fuck if, say, Iraq was a dictatorship or not.

His lack of regard for personal or economic 'freedoms' was merely a consequence of his ruthless pragmatism


That sentence is a contradiction. There is nothing pragmatic about horrible policy.

Horrible for whom? It was certainly not horrible for America. Horrible for Cambodia? Nixon didn't give a fuck. And why should he have? He was elected to act in the best interests of Americans, not in the best interests of Cambodians.

And the War on Drugs, and the collapse of Bretton-Woods, and the wage and price controls resulting from the collapse of Bretton-Woods, and his support for socialized medicine, and the creation of the EPA...

You say that like they're all bad things.... :eh:
#14101228
Potemkin wrote:No. A neoconservative wants to change the existing world, through invasions and regime changes; Nixon merely wanted to manoeuvre the USA to its best advantage in the existing order of things. He didn't give a flying fuck if, say, Iraq was a dictatorship or not.


You seem to be confused about what the word "neoconservative" means. "Neoconservative" refers to the wave of "big-government" conservatives (i.e., those who were socially conservative but fiscally liberal) who tolerated the New Deal from the '30s onward, and who wielded much more influence in the GOP in the wake of Barry Goldwater's defeat in the '64 election.

It has nothing to do with foreign policy.

Potemkin wrote:Horrible for whom?


The US and the people living in it.

Potemkin wrote:It was certainly not horrible for America.


Image

Potemkin wrote:You say that like they're all bad things.... :eh:


They are.
#14101260
Potemkin, Neocon is a meaningless word "paleocons" use to denigrate other "conservative" members, particularly infering they're newer, therefore more liberal. This despite the fact the Reaganite GOP, the Tea-partiers, were a reaction to Watergate and the predated Eisenhower/Nixon years.

Nixon was a true conservative, precisely because you can't measure his "conservativeness" on the Reagon metric. He had a pragmatic foreign policy and a working domestic policy that placed the interest of the nation above ideology. That being the basis of his beliefs, he was perhaps the last true Conservative in American politics. It's similar to those who decree (?) Teddy a liberal, because of his conversationism and trust-busting. If you don't fit into this neat little box where you put such nonsense as the good of the nation aside and press your (their) ideology relentlessly, these idiots think you're not a true conservative.
#14101331
You seem to be confused about what the word "neoconservative" means. "Neoconservative" refers to the wave of "big-government" conservatives (i.e., those who were socially conservative but fiscally liberal) who tolerated the New Deal from the '30s onward, and who wielded much more influence in the GOP in the wake of Barry Goldwater's defeat in the '64 election.

It has nothing to do with foreign policy.

Neoconservatism and Project for the New American Century.

Neoconservatism is a variant of the political ideology of conservatism which combines features of traditional (paleo) conservatism, military interventionism, social conservatism, nationalism, and a qualified endorsement of free markets. Neoconservatism (or new conservatism) is rooted in a group of former liberals, who in the late 1960s, began to embrace nationalism and interventionism in opposition to the rise of the USSR and moved significantly to the right of the spectrum.

You know, Leo Strauss, Irving Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz et al.? The 2003 invasion of Iraq? You've heard of that, right? :eh:
Last edited by Potemkin on 08 Nov 2012 21:45, edited 1 time in total.
#14101647
Elect G-Max wrote:...You seem to be confused about what the word "neoconservative" means. "Neoconservative" refers to the wave of "big-government" conservatives (i.e., those who were socially conservative but fiscally liberal) who tolerated the New Deal from the '30s onward, and who wielded much more influence in the GOP in the wake of Barry Goldwater's defeat in the '64 election.

It has nothing to do with foreign policy...


WTF?

Seriously?

Neo-conservativism was invented by a handful of former leftists, whose chief motivation was to continue and intensify the conflict with the Soviet Union.
#14101991
Figlio di Moros wrote:blah blah


Potemkin wrote:blah blah blah


quetzalcoatl wrote:herp derp


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Kristol#Ideas

Irving was indeed himself mugged by the "reality" of conservative philosophy and enfolded leftist policies such as a lack of objection to welfare programs, international "revolution" through nation-building/militarily imposed "democracy" and application of Fabian Socialism/Keynesianism coupled with a socially conservative viewpoint.


That sounds like Nixon to me.

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