No BYH to Trump voters, you elected a bulldozer to our norms, institutions and very stability. and whatever happens...

We survived Nixon. We'll survive Trump


Marc Thiessen


Tuesday, November 6, 2018

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the election of President Richard Nixon. It is a chance for some perspective. While many seem convinced that the United States will never recover from the Donald Trump presidency, the truth is conservatism, the Republican Party and our nation survived Nixon — and we will survive Trump.

Many conservatives are dismayed with Trump's failure to condemn the racist alt-right. But let's not forget that Nixon came to power based on the "Southern Strategy," winning over disaffected white voters who left the Democrats because of civil rights and the dismantling of Jim Crow.

Many were appalled by Trump's Helsinki news conference and embrace of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it was Nixon who gave us detente with Moscow, invited Leonid Brezhnev to the White House, and signed the disastrous Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty which restricted U.S. missile defense for decades.

Many are concerned with Trump's outreach to North Korea and his willingness to hold a summit with its brutal dictator, Kim Jong Un. But it was Nixon who led the opening to Communist China, and sat down with its murderous founder, Mao Zedong — a man responsible for the death of an estimated 65 million people.

Many are disheartened by Trump's tariffs and trade wars. Well, Nixon gave us anti-free market economic policies such as wage and price controls.

Many are worried about Trump's attacks on the media as the "enemy of the American people." But it was Nixon who sent Vice President Spiro Agnew out to attack the media as a "tiny, enclosed fraternity of privileged men elected by no one" and actually attempted to stop the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Many are disturbed about a possible criminal conspiracy with Russia to steal and publish Democratic Party emails. But, of course, it was Nixon who gave us the coverup of the break-in to the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate Hotel.

And, if you think Trump's Twitter feed is bad, listen to the Nixon tapes and imagine what he would have been like on Twitter.

So, in many ways the Trump presidency is like deja vu all over again. Except that Trump is, at least for conservatives, arguably a much better president than was Nixon. While Nixon had a mixed record in Supreme Court appointments, Trump has, so far, given us two of the strongest conservative justices in modern history. While the chairman of Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers, Herb Stein, bragged that, under Nixon, "probably more new regulation was imposed on the economy than in any other presidency since the New Deal," Trump has given us a historic regulatory rollback. While Nixon boasted over dramatic cuts in defense spending, Trump has enacted historic increases. While Nixon's 1969 tax reform increased taxes, Trump's reforms have cut them. While Nixon withdrew U.S. troops from Vietnam, Trump has unleashed our forces against the Islamic State and has halted the withdrawal from Afghanistan begun during the Obama administration.

Nixon also showed us that our constitutional system of checks and balances works, and that if the president crosses a constitutional line, the rule of law will prevail. And while Nixon resigned over Watergate, we still don't know how the Russia inquiry will turn out. It may well be that there was no criminal conspiracy with Russia. Even knowing what we know about Watergate, the United States would not have been better off with George McGovern as president, just as we would not be better off today with Hillary Clinton in the White House.

As bad as things got for Republicans, six years after Nixon's resignation we elected Ronald Reagan and, just like that, it was Morning in America. Those of us fortunate enough to have lived through the Reagan Revolution have great expectations for the presidency. We want to not just support the policies, but admire the person who occupies the Oval Office. So our disappointment in Trump's moral failures is profound. But the truth is, if you look back at U.S. history, there have been few Reagans. Most presidents are mediocre, and some are downright awful. But the idea that Trump has ushered in an end to the hopeful, optimistic vision for conservatism is absurd. All conservatism needs to recover is for one great, hopeful, optimistic leader to emerge.

Until then — to paraphrase the man who implemented Nixon's wage and price controls, Donald Rumsfeld — we go to war with the president we have.

Marc Thiessen is a columnist for the Washington Post. He is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

January 20, 2019

The Wall Street Journal

By now readers have heard that progressive luminary Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports a 70 percent top marginal tax rate, which she says will help finance a “green new deal.” Higher taxes on the rich is the stock socialist answer on how to pay for any project,…

January 20, 2019

The New York Times reports that in the days after President Donald Trump fired James B. Comey as FBI director, law enforcement officials became “so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.…


January 20, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has written President Trump to suggest that he postpone his State of the Union address, citing her "security concerns" over the ability of the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security to protect government officials during the shutdown.

With all due respect,…


January 20, 2019

It was an extraordinary year.

No, that’s not boosterism by two of ECU’s biggest fans. It was a truly amazing year.

No question, 2018 was colored by the departures of our athletics director, a football coach and a basketball coach, a lot of change in one year. Follow those departures…


January 20, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is driving President Trump nuts — a very short drive indeed — by doing something he simply cannot abide: She's stealing the spotlight.

She is also seizing the initiative in the trench warfare over Trump's government shutdown and his imaginary border wall,…

Eugene Robinson

January 19, 2019

“Drain the swamp!” was one of those memorable Donald Trump campaign promises that remains unfulfilled, much like “Mexico will pay for the wall!” and “Repeal and replace Obamacare!” with “something terrific.”

Unlike the latter two promises,…

Senate EPA Wheeler-1

January 19, 2019

As state superintendent of North Carolina’s public schools, I often hear from other leaders that standardized tests help hold students, teachers and schools accountable. Accountability is important for our schools but also for our leaders. The testing system that the education-industrial…

Mark Johnson

January 19, 2019

Imagine traveling from Raleigh to Charlotte in about 22 minutes; not by train, plane or car, but instead in a pod, transported through an almost friction-free tunnel. This concept is under experimentation right now, as nearly 1,000 learned last week at the N.C. Transportation Summit.

Sponsored by…


January 17, 2019

President Trump's political strategy is completely clear: use his persistent promotion of a border wall to energize his core supporters. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, told Fox News that "border security" is the "No. 1 reason" those ardent advocates will vote to re-elect him. Trump himself…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

January 17, 2019

Since the Knights of Columbus recently became a political issue, I've seen a constant refrain on social media that goes something along the lines of: "What do you mean, the pancake breakfast guys?" The point being: Could you be picking on nicer guys? But the Knights' goodness goes far beyond…

324 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»