What if all the names and party affiliations of US presidents were accidentally deleted from the internet?
Imagine that your job, as the tube-repairman, is to try to figure out the president based on a few identifying characteristics.
- cut the top marginal tax rate by 26% and helped end recession
- dispatched troops to deter spread of Chinese communist influence
- relied on strong defense and hardball diplomacy with Russia to ensure national security
- supported controversial idea that all races should be treated equally
- had secret tape-recording system installed in Oval Office
- Attorney General tasked with making sensitive materials disappear after crisis
- shared ticket with a brash Texan known for openly using racial epithets
While many of these would be considered major red-flags for a Democrat running today—and would lead to unrelenting media attacks against a Republican opponent like Donald Trump—they were the defining qualities that left a lasting impact on the Camelot era under John F. Kennedy.
How about this one?
- made inroads in China and the Middle East while cultivating strategic trade partnerships
- withdrew from costly war abroad and ended the draft
- launched $100-million cancer initiative and creation of national cancer centers
- signed Title IX to prevent gender-bias in higher education
- fought racist state leaders from opposing party to force school desegregation
- lowered the voting age to 18
- gave Native Americans the right to tribal self-determination and returned sacred lands
- signed treaties supporting mass disarmament of military arsenal, including nukes
- encouraged CIA to spy on domestic citizens
That, of course, sounds like it could be one of today’s wokest progressives. But it was, in fact, Republican Richard Nixon.
A REVERSAL OF VALUES?
Suffice it to say, both parties’ values have evolved since the 1960s, when Kennedy and Nixon were elected president.
Between the radical Left’s new globalist agenda and Trump’s anti-establishmentarianism, the redrawn party lines may even seem like a full 180-degree reversal.
But despite the Biden administration having abandoned classical liberalism in favor of militant authoritarianism, one thing that hasn’t changed is Democrats’ political playbook.
As with many of Nixon’s positive political accomplishments, the Watergate scandal that defined his presidency seems downright Democratic when viewed in the grander scheme of modern-day political corruption.
Not only were Nixon’s actions a direct consequence of Democrats’ prior political malfeasance, but within two decades the Clintons were pushing the ethical envelope yet again.
“The Democrats, to put it simply, are the party of election theft,” wrote the Claremont Institute’s Robert Curry in an article for American Greatness published Friday.
“Democratic-run cities are known for crooked elections and states dominated by the Democrats lean over backward to provide opportunities for election fraud,” he continued.
AN OPEN SECRET
If Nixon thought bugging the DNC campaign headquarters in the 1972 election was fair play in the political arena, he had good reason: the 1960 election had been fraudulently denied to him by none other than Kennedy.
“As you know, John F. Kennedy stole the election with the help of the Mafia in Chicago and the crooked cronies of ‘Landslide’ Lyndon Johnson in Texas,” Curry wrote.
“Although this was widely known at the time, Nixon decided not to challenge the results in Illinois and Texas,” he added. “It was said that he did not want to put the nation through the trauma of a disputed presidential election.”
At the time, Democrat skulduggery was nothing new, of course. For much of the late 19th and early 20th century, the party had been propelled by the dual influences of the corrupt Tammany Hall in the North and the notorious Ku Klux Klan in the South.
While these groups would seem diametrically opposed, it was the intersection of their common interests that laid the foundation for Democrats as an alliance of necessity to take on the holier-than-thou party of Lincoln.
Unlike the egalitarian GOP, Democrats’ corrupt coalitions were typically led by an uber-class of elites who exploited the role of civil servant to serve themselves first and foremost; who simultaneously wooed and terrorized vulnerable ethnic minorities; and who resolved, if ever their moral codes clashed, to look the other way.
The Kennedy family well understood the dynamic from having built its own dynasty by bridging the needs of Boston’s Irish-Catholic community with those of other blue-collar immigrant neighborhoods.
By the time 1960 rolled around, the alliance had come to include Mafiosos who often ruled the Italian community with an iron fist.
In appointing his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, as attorney general, JFK assured his former political patrons in the criminal underworld that they would not face serious criminal scrutiny at the Justice Department. (However, some theories suggest that RFK’s double-cross of the mob may have been to blame for JFK’s assassination.)
THE THEFT THAT KEEPS ON TAKING
Curry faulted Nixon for setting a bad precedent by conceding the 1960 election and allowing dirty politics to reign supreme.
“If Nixon had fought this winnable fight and won … Democrats might have drawn a very different conclusion about the risks and the high political costs associated with getting caught stealing a presidential election,” Curry wrote.
But instead, Nixon’s razor-thin loss in 1960 compounded the suspicions he had revealed traces of earlier when, as a young congressman, he had made his name exposing the communist Soviet ties of State Department official Alger Hiss.
That mix of paranoia, insecurity and justifiable distrust of those out to get him remained intact during his presidency, too.
One can’t blame Nixon for thinking that a cabal of enemies might conspire to stack the deck against him in the 1972 race. They probably did.
“Nixon was the same person in 1960 he was during Watergate,” Curry wrote. “His strange character was such that he expected to be treated unfairly. He also anticipated and acquiesced to being defeated by his enemies.”
Nonetheless, Nixon’s failed attempt to play by the Democrat rules and then to back down when the stakes got too high left its own lasting mark, as the 2020 election proved.
“Unfortunately, our current political catastrophe includes yet another Nixonian precedent,” Curry wrote. “High-ranking officials in the FBI and their cronies in the news business colluded to drive Trump from office.”
NOT A CROOK
In a 2012 forum commemorating the 40th anniversary of Watergate, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward touted the cooperative spirit that forced Nixon from office.
“It wasn’t the Democrats or the press that brought Nixon down,” Woodward said. “It was the Republicans.”
Aspirational though that bipartisan exploit might seem, it’s as if Charlie Brown, the long-bullied star of the Peanuts comic strip, had just yanked a football from under Lucy only to have the referee eject him from the game.
For too long, Republicans have trusted their moral compass in hopes that Democrats will follow the lead when the time comes.
But Tricky Dick could have avoided the pall on his own legacy and the fallout to his party by confronting it 12 years earlier, during the 1960 theft. (He might have saved Kennedy’s life as well, and avoided the messy escalation of the quagmire in Vietnam.)
Moreover, no Watergate would mean no radicalization of the emboldened leftist media. Without Woodward and Bernstein becoming Hollywood folk heroes, a generation of left-wing activists might never have pursued careers in the newsroom.
“Once again, Nixon taught the Democrats a lesson that would later threaten America’s electoral system and constitutional order; if the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, and PBS don’t approve of the winner, they can get away with canceling the results of the election by the extra-constitutional means of a brouhaha,” Curry wrote.
At any rate, it’s time to recognize Nixon as a historical anomaly and to stop allowing the party of corruption to flip the script.
And, on that same note, it’s high time the Kennedy clan stopped getting a free pass for all its moral blights.
In the era where white privilege and misogyny and fossil fuels are all under attack by JFK’s own party, how is it that Arlington’s Eternal Flame hasn’t at least experienced some rolling blackouts?
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Nixon as a former California governor. He served a senator from the state.
Follow Ben Sellers on Parler at https://parler.com/profile/Sellers.