When asked the question, “Who would you say was the most liberal (progressive) president in the past forty years?”, most people would get the answer wrong. Why? Because, based upon what was accomplished domestically during the administration of Richard Nixon, the only logical answer has to be Richard Nixon.
Nixon was a liar, that’s been proved. He strongly supported, in more ways than one, the overthrow of the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende. After Allende was removed from office, the United States supported the man who became a tyrannical dictator, Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet is in the twilight of his life and is in custody for the crimes against humanity that were committed while he was leader of the Chilean government.
Nixon OK’d the bombing of Cambodia, escalating the conflict in Southeast Asia rather than following through with the promise of “peace with honor” he made during the 1968 presidential campaign. Not only did we begin invading Cambodia with air strikes, but he tried to keep it from the American people.
Nixon also knew that the Democratic headquarters located in The Watergate Hotel were going to be burglarized to learn the Democratic strategy for the 1972 presidential campaign.
What also happened during Nixon’s administration was that the Occupation Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were created. Nixon was reluctant to sign these agencies into existence, but did so nonetheless.
Title IX, raising women’s collegiate sports to the level of men’s sports was also implemented during the Nixon years.
Nixon held talks with the Soviet Union which led to agreements to limit strategic arms.
Nixon opened up a dialogue with what is called “communist” China and became the first president to visit that nation since it was overtaken by Mao Zedong. In fact, Nixon met with Mao during his visit to China.
If Nixon had only kept his promise to accomplish “peace with honor” and only hadn’t been overcome with the pursuit of power, especially since the ’72 presidential race was already looking like a Nixon landslide, the Nixon legacy may have been different. Nixon may have retired with tremendous respect from American citizens and the rest of the world.
But, alas, he became the first president to cut his administration short voluntarily, resigning before Watergate and his underhanded attempt to escalate the war in Southeast Asia got him impeached, removed from office and, who knows, litigated right into prison. Good move, Dick.
There is some talk that George W. Bush may take the same road taken by Nixon before the Democrats in the House, ignoring Speaker Pelosi’s pre-election promise, move forward with an investigation. George W. Bush has proved in the past that he’s a quitter and a loser and, if the “heat gets too hot”, he may just walk out of the kitchen.
If he does not quit, however, it’s difficult to see him vetoing a minimum wage increase.
He and many of the Democrats already agree on a moderate solution to immigration.
Democrats may pressure what is actually becoming a real George W. Bush administration to abandon its Iraq policy and bring the troops home.
Diplomacy in the cases of Iran and North Korea may be taken more seriously by the administration due to congressional pressure. We shouldn’t hold our collective breath, but the president may just make a trip to Geneva to meet with Iranian or North Korean leaders. If nothing else, he may send a diplomat to negotiate with high ranking officials from one or both of those countries. Diplomacy may lead to a solution to the problem(s) which is praised and supported not only by Americans but by much of the world.
Global warming rhetoric from the administration may become more open, honest and serious.
The search for alternative fuel sources may take on a whole new sense of urgency.
All of this because Democrats now hold the purse strings and, if Bush wants to be known as a president who got things done, he’ll have to get done many of the things proposed by the Democrats in congress. Being veto happy will not presuppose a positive legacy.
It should be noted that Dick Cheney is still in the picture, but Cheney has lost many of his allies within the administration. If nothing else, he’s lost neocon support within the administration. In fact, Cheney is much more of a lame duck president than is Bush. It is this writer’s opinion that, if Bush is impeached and removed from office or if Bush quits, Cheney will not accept the presidency. He knows that impeachment hearings will recommence to remove him from office. Besides, it would be more emotionally difficult for Cheney to accept Democratic legislation than it would be for Bush.
There may be a temptation to withhold some much needed legislation just to ensure that Bush is known throughout history for almost bringing the United States of America to its knees. Giving in to this temptation, however, wouldn’t be good for Americans and certainly won’t be good for Democrats.
While Bush is, indeed, known to be a quitter and a loser, he’s also paradoxically known for his stubbornness. It will be much more difficult for him to assert such stubbornness in light of the recent message from American voters and the political make up of Congress.
It would, indeed, be a shame if Bush, like Nixon, gains a reputation for implementing progressive programs and/or avoiding conflict, possibly nuclear conflict, with Iran and/or North Korea. However, the alternative is unacceptable.
“The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.” - Mark Twain