Friday, September 21, 2012

What Mitt Romney can learn from Richard Nixon


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In 1969, at the height of the student protests against the Vietnam war, President Nixon had a private conversation with the wife of an American serviceman while he was visiting the Pentagon. The discourse was overheard by a reporter and was recounted in the book Before the Fall: an Insiders View of the Pre-Watergate White House by William Safire. Nixon expressed to the women how much he admired men like her husband:

I have seen them. They are the greatest. You see these bums, you know, blowing up the campuses. Listen. The boys that are on the College campuses today are the luckiest people in the world, going to the greatest universities, and here they are burning up the books...Then out there (in Vietnam) we have kids who are just doing their duty. And I have seen them. They stand tall and they are proud.

The liberal media, which hated Nixon with a passion going back to the late 1940's when he played a key role in exposing one of their own, FDR's former under Secretary of State Alger Hiss, as an agent of Stalin, responded with the same ferocity and distortions that Mitt Romney is experiencing today. The media back then reported that Nixon had called all American college students bums.

It should be noted that the tape that is making the rounds of  Romney speaking at a house party fundraiser, the one that the media is frantically claiming to be a "smoking gun" to use a Watergate metaphor, was altered. One or two minutes of the video was either deleted or is just missing. And while we're on the topic of Nixon metaphors, this missing tape reminds me of the missing minutes in the Watergate tapes that contributed to Nixon's resignation.

The central message here is that Nixon contrasted the average working American, what he called the "silent majority," hard working good patriotic people, with the left-wing elitist spoiled campus liberal protesters who were burning down their comfortable Colleges while getting all warm and fuzzy over Ho Ho Ho chi Minh. Those same types are the Obama's core supporters of today. They are not affected by the most rampant unemployment since World War II. They don't care about the increase in poverty and the interests of working people who9 will chafe under their new taxes because many of them, revieving public benefits, want the gravy train to keep on rolling along.

Safire wrote that shortly after the media flap over Nixon's comments, on May 7, 1969, construction workers stormed New York City Hall and beat up college student protesters who were occupying that building. Thus the "Hard Hats," the working people, the "silent majority" began to react to the elitist college students. This reaction, and the rejection of the demented utopian ideals of those parlor pink silver spoon students continued to grow until the 1972 election. Nixon won that election the biggest landslide in history as he trounced his ultra-liberal opponent George McGovern who carried only one state, Massachusetts.

Romney needs to stay real and to continue to call out the hypocrates who could care less about the plight of working people. Elizabeth Warren is the penultimate example of this type with the hypocritical criticism of business she launches while making millions for herself. In Nixon's time, before Watergate, the more vicious the left-wing media became, the stronger the silent majority grew.

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