Nixon's Fate, and Ours
Presidencies come and presidencies go, but Richard Nixon we have with us always, an abiding point of reference in our national life. That a Broadway play based, improbably, on post-presidential interviews with David Frost from 30 years ago could win a Tony award in 2007, thirteen years after Nixon’s death, attests to his imperishability as an icon, at least in some quarters. Even more broadly indicative are the ease and frequency with which his memory has been invoked thus far in the 2008 presidential campaign.
The mentions have been largely unfavorable, which is not surprising, even if it is conservative writers who are most often making them. “A Richard Nixon revival infects both parties’ primaries,” wrote George F. Will, referring in part to Mike Huckabee’s mixing of “ostentatious piety” with “oblique nastiness,” a blend thought to have been perfected by our 37th President. The syndicated columnist Michael Gerson has characterized the former mayor of New York City as “R. Milhous Giuliani,” a leader presumably resembling Nixon in being a faux conservative, “a talented man without an ideological compass, mainly concerned with the accumulation of power.”
About the Author