Liberals Get The Action,
Conservatives Get The Rhetoric

American Opinion Book Service

This is chapter 1 of Gary Allen's book Nixon: The Man Behind the Mask, (Belmont, MA: Western Islands, 1971). The book is out of print, but might be available for purchase from the American Opinion Book Service.

American Opinion Book Service

While in a particularly expansive mood one day, Richard Nixon’s Senate floor leader, the very Liberal Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, boasted to a reporter: "We [Liberals] get the action and the Conservatives get the rhetoric."[1] This yeasty admission of the Nixon Administration’s Liberalism in action doubtless would have come as a distinct shock to most of the 32 million citizens who voted for Richard Milhous Nixon for President of the United States in 1968. They expected Conservative actions to follow the laudable Conservative rhetoric of the campaign. The Nixon campaign landed many a strong verbal clout on the snout of squishy-soft Liberalism, whose permissive policies at home and abroad had brought the country to the brink of a nervous breakdown from frustration, if not financial, moral, and military collapse. While stumping the hustings, candidate Nixon promised again and again "new leadership" that would restore law and order, stop aid and trade with our Communist enemies, terminate the ceaseless war in Vietnam, scuttle unworkable socialist spending programs, dash virulent inflation, restore fiscal sanity, stuff the genie of big government back into the bottle, and, in general, "throw the rascals out."

Liberal columnists, widely believed to be Mr. Nixon’s implacable enemies, have seemed both surprised and highly pleased at the "New Nixon," who gives the Conservatives the rhetoric and the Liberals the action. One of the tip-offs came even before the election in an amazing column by the late page 2 Ralph McGill, formerly a staunch enemy of Richard Nixon. McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution and a nationally syndicated columnist, was a member of the semi-secret Council on Foreign Relations, called "the CFR," otherwise known as "the invisible government" or the "Eastern Liberal Establishment." (The CFR will be dealt with in greater detail in Chapter Three.) McGill, one of America’s most vocal anti-anti-Communists, wrote in a column titled "All Civilized Persons Are Indebted To Nixon":

indent.gif (90 bytes)An important change has come to Richard Nixon. The nation, and, for that matter, civilized persons everywhere, are in his debt.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Nixon has changed his once rigid views about the necessity to maintain relations and a dialogue with the Communist world, including Red China, when that now chaotic country has a government that can be responsive. He did so because the facts have changed.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Nixon built his political career on opposition to Communism. He had made himself the darling of the Birch-type mentalities, and of all the various extreme right-wing nut organizations that carry on witch hunts and character assassination in the name of anti-Communism.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The New Nixon policy was made public before his nomination at Miami. He said in a press conference that he had "revised" some of his earlier views, largely because the Communist world itself has shifted in new directions.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Nixon suggested further that the era of "confrontation" with the Communist world has ended. It has been replaced, he believes, with an era of negotiations.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Whoever is President, he said, in the next four and eight years, "must proceed on the assumption that negotiations with the Soviet world, negotiations eventually with the leaders of the next superpower, Communist China, must take place. This is a change that has come about, and therefore, your policy must change."
indent.gif (90 bytes)Nixon said, with admirable candor, that his 1960 acceptance speech, with its inflexible position against any talks with the Communist world, "would be irrelevant to the problems of today."  Page 3
indent.gif (90 bytes)"As the facts change," he said, "any intelligent man does change his approaches to the problems. It does not mean that he is an opportunist. It means only that he is a pragmatist."[2]

The "New Communists" proceeded to embarrass the "New Nixon" by shortly thereafter breaking their non-aggression treaty with Czechoslovakia and invading that country to brutally crush an apparent move toward independence.

Shortly after the election, Liberal columnists were gloating that Nixon could do more for Liberalism simply because he was a Republican who was widely believed to be a Conservative. Robert J. Donovan of the Los Angeles Times observed in an article titled "Nixon Will Protect the Center From the Left and Right":

indent.gif (90 bytes)He knows he cannot make strides at home until he gets rid of the burden of the war. He has promised to end the war. His associates say he is aware that in order to do so he may have to make unpopular concessions that only a new President and only one who, like himself, feels safe against charges of being "soft on communism" would risk making.
indent.gif (90 bytes)As one of his closest friends explained recently, "The American people know Dick Nixon wouldn’t sell the country out to the Communists." Or as Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.-N.Y.) was quoted as having said the other day, "I’m confident that Nixon will end the war... if Humphrey would do what Nixon is going to do on Vietnam, Humphrey would be shot or impeached. Nixon will end the war."[3]

Widely syndicated Liberal columnist Sydney Harris was not exactly downcast at the thought of a Nixon Administration:

indent.gif (90 bytes)It is probably better for the nation that Nixon was elected than Humphrey, for social realities will force Nixon to do pretty much the same things Humphrey would have done, but Nixon will encounter less bitterness and opposition than Humphrey would have.[4] Page 4

Look magazine’s Washington correspondent Richard Wilson wrote in his newspaper column:

indent.gif (90 bytes)A rather impressive list has accumulated of things that are not going to be done in the Nixon administration:
indent.gif (90 bytes)The Office of Economic Opportunity (poverty program) is not to be abolished.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The 10 per cent income surtax is not to be dropped.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The Johnson budget is not to be cut substantially.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Southern public schools are not to be permitted to squirm out of ending segregation through freedom of choice plans.
indent.gif (90 bytes)A significant rise in the rate of unemployment is not to be encouraged as a concomitant of arresting inflation.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Consumer-protection activities are not to be abandoned.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The "security gap" in national defense is not found to be as wide as it appeared last October.
indent.gif (90 bytes)If such policy decisions seem at variance with Nixon’s stance in the presidential campaign, it is because so many people had formed a different idea of what the Nixon administration would be like.
indent.gif (90 bytes)If there is to be no significant change in budgetary policy, no significant change in tax policy, no significant change in economic policy, then much of what was said during the campaign can be classified as the usual political bombast.[5]

Columnist Wilson noted that "the agony in Nixon’s early days is among Republicans who think their legitimate interests aren’t being protected, while the ecstasy is among Liberals and Democrats who have discovered that Richard Nixon isn’t half as bad as they expected."[6]

Stewart Alsop, old warhorse of the Fabian Socialist Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), told his Newsweek readers in a column titled "The Demonsterization of Nixon":

indent.gif (90 bytes)Something very important has happened during Richard M. Nixon’s first month as President: a great many people who supposed or at least suspected that Mr. Nixon was a sort of human monster have discovered that he isn’t.[7] Page 5
indent.gif (90 bytes)All these assorted Nixonophobes now find themselves puzzled and discomfited. For where is the Richard Nixon they so happily hated?
indent.gif (90 bytes)They may find him again, of course - honeymoons always end. Yet the sudden, sharp fading of Nixonophobia seems to be more than a function of the usual Presidential honeymoon. It could be a basic and perhaps even a permanent change in public attitudes toward the new President . . . .
indent.gif (90 bytes)It is interesting to speculate on the reasons for the change. For one thing, President Nixon, as a suspected monster, gets a lot of credit for not being a monster. He gets credit for not doing all sorts of things that a President Humphrey, for example, would have got no credit at all for not doing - not abandoning the cause of school integration; not instituting a witch-hunting "clean-out" of the State Department; not demanding "clear-cut superiority" in nuclear weapons as a condition of negotiating with the Russians. President Nixon, in short, gets credit for not doing things candidate Nixon hinted he might do.

Later, Alsop was to joyously crown Mr. Nixon "The Great Pre-Emptor":

indent.gif (90 bytes)The President’s basic political technique is now entirely obvious. He appeases the right with reassuring rhetoric, conservative appointments and such gestures as the unleashing of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and the veto of the HFW bill. At the same time, he busily pre-empts, purloins, or filches all the major issues of his natural enemies, the liberal Democrats.
indent.gif (90 bytes) There are plenty of examples of the President in action in his role as The Great Pre-Emptor. A national minimum income was just burgeoning forth as a major liberal Democratic issue when the President snatched it away. The draft lottery bore the Kennedy brand before the President captured it, and so did tax reform. The "New Federalism" was the brainchild of Robert F. Kennedy, but it has now been legally adopted by the President. And so on.[8]

Since Mr. Alsop is a Liberal, he naturally found all this highly praiseworthy as he continued: Page 6

indent.gif (90 bytes)In short, Mr. Nixon has turned out to be a far better politician than most political journalists (again, including this one) thought him to be a year ago. He may turn out to be a better President, too. To be a good President it is first necessary to be a good politician. Moreover, the issues that Mr. Nixon has pre-empted from the liberals are good issues - they involve doing things that badly need to be done. Perhaps, to be fair, that is also a reason why The Great Pre-Emptor has pre-empted them.

Alsop was also pleased that Conservatives are neutralized through this policy of giving the rhetoric to them while the Left gets the action: "The rhetoric has had a marvelously soothing effect on the Republican right; there has been hardly a peep from Senators Goldwater, Tower, Thurmond and company." After all, what can these men say? They went far out on a limb to support Mr. Nixon in 1968 and they are now in a highly embarrassing position.

Few have gushed over the New Nixon as has the nationally syndicated columnist Roscoe Drummond, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Establishment. Drummond began even before President-elect Nixon took office, by declaring RMN to be a "secret liberal":

indent.gif (90 bytes)The most significant political fact of the hour is now so evident it can’t be seriously disputed:
indent.gif (90 bytes)President Richard M. Nixon is a "secret liberal."
indent.gif (90 bytes)He may not welcome the description. He resists labels and sees himself as a pragmatist, a problem-solver - neither liberal nor conservative - who wants to do what needs to be done.
indent.gif (90 bytes)But Nixon is already proving himself a liberal-in-action if not a liberal-in-theory -- and this is what counts.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The evidence:
indent.gif (90 bytes)Lyndon Johnson initiated and Congress approved the largest volume of social legislation of any president in history. And Nixon prepares to carry forward every major Johnson measure.
indent.gif (90 bytes)During the eight Eisenhower years 45 new welfare programs were passed. During the five Johnson years some 435 welfare programs were passed and Nixon is not proposing to dismantle Page 7 them. He is proposing to build on them and his goal is to make sure they achieve their purposes more effectively.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Finally, Nixon has committed his administration to a big open-ended increase in Social Security benefits by advocating that they be boosted regularly to match higher living costs.
indent.gif (90 bytes)But the fact remains that Nixon is not going to disrupt, decrease or dismantle the vast, help-people, help-the-states programs he inherited from the Great Society any more than Dwight Eisenhower did those he inherited from the New Deal.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Ike accepted the reform of the New Deal as part of the fabric of modern society and cites as his proudest. presidential achievement the extension of Social Security to cover more than 12 million more people.[9]

Six months later, after Mr. Nixon announced his Family Assistance Plan, a thinly disguised Guaranteed Annual Income, which he had opposed during the campaign, the dumbfounded Drummond was predicting that Richard Nixon, of all people, might go down in history as the FDR of the 1970s:

indent.gif (90 bytes)Whatever happened to conservative Richard Nixon?
indent.gif (90 bytes)Here he is in the lead for the most far-ranging, ground-breaking, daring social-welfare reform since the early years of the New Deal.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The President has seized the initiative on the most crucially needed domestic reform and has stolen the best clothes of the Democratic liberals.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Strange to contemplate but the time may come when people will think of Richard M. Nixon as the Republican Franklin D. Roosevelt of the 1970s!

* * *

indent.gif (90 bytes)But none of this alters the fact that conservative Richard Nixon is acting to carry out an immensely liberal concept and liberal program.
indent.gif (90 bytes)How liberal? If you define modern liberalism as a willingness to use the federal government to achieve major social ends, the President’s new Program is very liberal . . . . [10] Page 8

Drummond also told his sophisticated Liberal readers in such papers as the notoriously Leftist Washington Post to ignore the fact that Democrats have to denounce Nixon as a Conservative for political purposes:

indent.gif (90 bytes)Despite epithets from liberals, the record of the Nixon administration thus far is on the progressive side in both policy and action.
indent.gif (90 bytes)It is much more midroad than conservative and perhaps even a little left of center.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The labels don’t matter. What does is whether the President is acting wisely and effectively.
indent.gif (90 bytes)It is doubtful if Nixon’s Democratic critics are doing themselves much good politically It doesn’t do the administration any harm to be called conservative by its opponents, particularly when it isn’t very conservative. And the conservatives have no place to go except to Nixon. [11]

Drummond also bulldoggedly noted that Mr. Nixon on Vietnam, contrary to all past promises, has seized the Eugene McCarthy plank out of the 1968 Democratic National Convention:

indent.gif (90 bytes)The areas of agreement between the responsible doves and President Nixon are far greater than many realize.
indent.gif (90 bytes)This is revealed by two facts.
indent.gif (90 bytes)All the leading Democratic doves voted for the minority Vietnam plank at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Today Nixon is carrying out every provision of that plank and -- at points -- more.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The dove-supported Democratic plank advocated "phased withdrawal" of all foreign troops from Vietnam. Richard Nixon has gone further.... [12]

Mary McGrory, Liberal femme fatale of the Washington Star, noted early in the game (in the February 11, 1969 issue) that loyal Republican Congressmen were in for short shrift: Page 9

Innocently, [Republicans] assumed that they would have their pick of choice jobs for their friends and instant access to the White House. They are getting fewer plums and fewer calls . . . . The Republican members [of Congress] have not yet addressed themselves to the first policy moves of the President which seem likely to please the Americans for Democratic Action more than Strom Thurmond.

Miss McGrory was also all atwitter at the fact that a Republican had done the unthinkable and appointed an officer of the ultra-Leftist Americans for Democratic Action, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, as a Presidential advisor. She wrote: "Moynihan. .. knows that his basic idea about the poor, money, work and family is now on its way, respectable Republican doctrine at last." [13]

It was the Family Assistance Plan, drafted largely by Moynihan, that evoked the greatest surprise and the loudest cheers from the portside pontificators. The Washington Star’s Carl T. Rowan, a former JFK appointee, wrote:

indent.gif (90 bytes)Imagine someone telling you 20 years ago that a Republican president would ask the federal government to guarantee a minimum annual income to every family.
indent.gif (90 bytes)You would have laughed your informant out of town.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Especially if he told you that this Republican would advocate a welfare program that covered 25 million Americans instead of 10 million and cost $10 billion instead of $5 billion.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Yet, after months of debate within his administration, President Nixon went on nationwide television to make just such a revolutionary proposal to the American people. [14]

Earlier Rowan had pointed out: "Richard M. Nixon is clearly not what he said he was, not what Democrats feared he was, nor even what Republicans hoped he was during the presidential campaign. [15]

Even the New Republic, for fifty years the voice of intellectual socialism, was gleeful to welcome Nixon and his Page 10 Family Assistance Plan to the ranks of the creeping socialists:

indent.gif (90 bytes). . . President Nixon informed the Neanderthal men that he had accepted and would assert creeping socialism, the principle of the Federal Government guaranteeing a minimum income to all disadvantaged Americans. [16]

Even Joseph Kraft, probably the most far-out Leftist among syndicated columnists, has had words of praise for RMN’s Liberalism. Kraft, a member of the Establishment’s Council on Foreign Relations and a man who recently praised Lenin as having "transmitted to the Communist world the ideals of equality and progress and peace,"[17] was particularly impressed by the President’s hypocrisy in repudiating campaign promises:

. . . the Administration’s slow start has made it possible to fob gently off into oblivion some of the least enlightened things said and done during the campaign. Attaining nuclear superiority over the Russians has been replaced by going for "nuclear sufficiency." Crude notions of trading a little more unemployment for a little less inflation are only an echo. So is non-enforcement of the laws against segregation. And "law and order" sounds like a quaint slogan of the same vintage as "5440 or Fight" and "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too." [18]

Rank and file Republicans would be most shocked at the consistent praise heaped upon Mr. Nixon by the New York Times’ house savant, James Reston. Reston, also a member of the CFR, is regarded as the official "unofficial spokesman" for the Eastern Liberal Establishment, now that Walter Lippmann has retired after fifty years of laundering the minds of the American public. Reston praised the President for "wiping out the old political stereotypes of Richard Nixon the partisan politician, the darling of the professional anti-communists." [19]

Reston later wrote a column congratulating the President, Page 11 after his first five months in office, on "a good beginning." Among the things that particularly pleased the Liberal sage of the Potomac were Nixon’s appointments, which he termed neither "political nor ideological." Reston described these men as "competent modern pragmatists, who may not be very imaginative, but who are more interested in the facts and the national interests, than in the conservative theories or political interests of the Republican party."[20]

This naturally ignored the fact that most people in voting for Mr. Nixon did so believing that they were voting for Conservative theories to cure the disastrous effects of the Liberal theories that had held sway for nearly forty years. Of course, many Republicans fail to understand why Democratic Administrations have the privilege of being partisan and of building the Democratic Party at every turn, while the Republicans must be constantly non-partisan and always make concessions in the direction of the Liberals.

In the same column Reston told his more sophisticated readers that the name of the game is "The Conservatives get the rhetoric, the Liberals get the action":

indent.gif (90 bytes)Nixon has, of course, said a lot of things that please the hawks, the Republican conservatives, and the authoritarians who want to be militant in Vietnam and on the campuses and in the cities, but he has acted prudently, and stuck to his priorities on ending the war, controlling the inflation and moving toward an accommodation with Moscow on the control of military arms and the reduction of military budgets.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Even his support of the antiballistic missile system, which looked so hawkish, was probably a move toward an arms control accommodation with the Soviet Union . . . .

Reston also provided us with an analysis - in this case an accurate one of why the country constantly moves to the Left, regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in office: Page 12

indent.gif (90 bytes)President Eisenhower acquiesced in all the New Deal reforms the Republicans opposed in the 30s and 40s, and [so did] Nixon as his deputy. He came to office as a minority president, accused of being a war-monger who was indifferent to the internal social and economic problems of the cities and the races, but he is now arguing for peace, and social justice - talking like a conservative but acting like a progressive.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Arthur Schlesinger Sr. makes the same point in his study of "The Tides of National Politics." The chief liberal gains of the past, he says, "generally remain on the statute books when the conservatives recover power . . . liberalism grows constantly more liberal, and by the same token, conservatism grows constantly less conservative . . . ."
indent.gif (90 bytes)This may not be true of the conservatives like George Wallace who are out of power, but it seems to be true of Nixon. He is zig-zagging to the left.[21]

If Liberals like Reston can convince Conservatives that it is somehow ungentlemanly ("you can’t turn the clock back") to undo the damage done by previous Leftist administrations, then the Republicans are doomed to meekly promising to administer socialism more efficiently. This, of course, is exactly what is happening and the Liberals love it. Observed Reston:

indent.gif (90 bytes)All the President’s ambiguous and even contradictory statements of foreign and domestic policy have been analyzed here with the greatest care. One day he is saying the Vietnam war may be one of our "finest hours," and the next he is withdrawing American troops from the battlefield. One day he is submitting to the conservative instincts of the American Medical Association or placating the southern senators on the school integration guidelines, and the next he is supporting welfare state policies he had opposed over the last 20 years.[22]

Like other Liberals, Reston was ecstatic over Nixon’s guaranteed annual income plan:

indent.gif (90 bytes)The main thing about President Nixon’s proposals for dealing Page 13 with poverty in America is that he recognizes the government’s responsibility for removing it. He has been denouncing the "welfare state" for 20 years, but he is now saying that poverty in America in the midst of spectacular prosperity is intolerable and must be wiped out. . . .
indent.gif (90 bytes)A Republican president has condemned the word "welfare," emphasized "work" and "training" as conditions of public assistance, suggested that the states and the cities be given more federal money to deal with their social and economic problems, but still comes out in the end with a policy of spending more money for relief of more poor people than the welfare state Democrats ever dared to propose in the past.
indent.gif (90 bytes)This is beginning to be the story of American politics . . . .
indent.gif (90 bytes) . . . And now on the most controversial question of domestic policy, he changes the rhetoric, the philosophy and the administration, but proposes more welfare, more people on public assistance, which will take more federal funds than any other president in the history of the Republic . . . .
indent.gif (90 bytes)Nevertheless, Nixon has taken a great step forward. He has cloaked a remarkably progressive welfare policy in conservative language . . . .[23]

Reston concluded this column by claiming that Nixon believes that Americans favor the Marxian concept of redistributing the wealth:

indent.gif (90 bytes)He has repudiated his own party’s record on social policy at home and even his own hawkish attitudes abroad, and this tells us something both about the President and the country.
indent.gif (90 bytes)For he has obviously concluded that the American people are for peace abroad and for a more decent distribution of wealth at home, and the chances are that this will prove to be both good policy and good politics.

Actually most Americans realize that by "peace abroad," Mr. Reston means further appeasement of the Communists’ global power grab, and that the poor can only be helped through gainful employment, which the plan promises, but which nobody seriously thinks it will deliver. The other side Page 14 of the "welfare state" coin at home is the acceptance of softer attitude toward Communism abroad, on the basis that it is somehow changing and has mellowed. Reston wrote in the August 6, 1969 Long Beach Press-Telegram:

indent.gif (90 bytes)The tide is going out. The President is turning around, waving to the right one day and to the left the next - but the overwhelming impression in the capitol is that he is consciously zig-zagging toward peace in Vietnam and an accommodation with Moscow . . . .
indent.gif (90 bytes)Washington is more sensitive than New York or other places to the general direction of Presidents and politics. It is more interested in the over-all tendencies of Presidents than in the day to day White House statements, and it seems to feel that Nixon is now engaged in a delicate retreat from his hawkish and anti-Communist record of the past.

By September 30, 1970, Mr. Reston, in what may have been an effort to get Liberals to look at what Nixon does and not what he says, was telling readers of the Press-Telegram that Mr. Nixon was desperately attempting to "liberate himself from his conservative and anti-Communist past":

. . . It is true that Nixon rose to power as an anti-Communist, a hawk on Vietnam, and an opponent of the New Deal, but once he assumed the responsibilities of the presidency, he began moving toward peace in Vietnam, coexistence with the Communist world of Moscow and Peking, and despite all his political reservations, even toward advocacy of the welfare state at home.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Nixon’s policies toward Social Security, welfare payments, arms control and coexistence with the Communist world are quite different from the policies he supported when he was a congressman, a senator and vice president under Eisenhower. He has been struggling between his political prejudices of the past and his responsibilities as President, and he has moved in the last two years toward an accommodation with his old adversaries both at home and abroad.
indent.gif (90 bytes)This has not been easy. He is still torn between his old Page 15 anti-Communist cold war instincts and his new presidential duties. He has been arguing for arms control, he has been supporting the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, he has been supporting the reconciliation of the West Germans and the Soviets, he has been approving more trade between the Western and the Communist worlds - most of the time against the prejudices of most of the conservative Republicans who supported his bid for the presidency in the first place.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The likelihood is that Nixon is going to be President for the next six years. He is at a critical point in his career. He has been trying to liberate himself from his conservative and anti-Communist past, and work toward a progressive policy at home and a policy of reconciliation with the Communists abroad . . . .

Although there were hints during the 1968 campaign that this was what Mr. Nixon was up to, only the most sophisticated conservatives, who were familiar with Mr. Nixon’s background as a sometime member of the Eastern Liberal Establishment’s CFR, could interpret the message. Most of the campaign rhetoric dealt with strengthening America in its dealings with the Communists and a castigation of the policies of past inadequate leadership, which had led us from one disaster to another. But in 1970 Reston was telling us: " . . . it would probably be wise to follow the administration’s slogan: ‘Watch what we do rather than what we say.[24]

Even David Broder of the Washington Post, just about the most Leftwing daily this side of the Iron Curtain, has had praise for Nixon. Broder, who describes himself as a "radical liberal," chastises Mr. Nixon for not having brought order to the federal government’s chaotic bureaucracy:

. . . if we are fated to be governed by conservatives, this isn’t the worst set we could have, by a long shot.
indent.gif (90 bytes)They are rather stuffy and occasionally sour, but on the substantive questions they’re not nearly as bad as they might be. We could have conservatives who are hell-bent on fattening the military; these men have put the Pentagon on its leanest rations in Page 16 years. We might have conservatives determined to remove communism from every village in Vietnam; Mr. Nixon wants mainly to get out, though he sometimes scares you out of your wits with a Cambodian operation in the process.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The harshest sustainable indictment of these Republicans is that they lack the one virtue conservatives are supposed to be born with: competence as managers. Despite three major reorganizations and a massive increase in the White House staff, this Administration is still a "pitiful, helpless giant," stumbling over its own feet. Its record in handling Congress, the economy, the campuses and the other trouble spots is consistently one of arriving breathless, shortly after the crisis has occurred.[25]

Those whom we have quoted (with the exception of Mary McGrory) represent the elite, the creme de la creme of the Eastern Liberal Establishment’s coterie of intellectual commentators. They obviously approve of Mr. Nixon and are trying to tell their readers to forget what Mr. Nixon says in order to pacify those who voted for him, and pay attention to what he does. This is also good advice for Conservatives. While the Washington press corps of hack correspondents have traditionally neither liked nor trusted Richard Nixon, they are blinded by passe’ stereotypes and their own knee-jerk Liberalism. The Drummonds, Alsops, Krafts, Broders and Restons are in an entirely different class. They serve as a transmission belt for the Liberal elite in and out of the government, the foundations, the communications industry and the academy. The fact that foaming-at-the-mouth college radicals, psychotic black militants, neurotic professors, and politically motivated Liberal Democrats continue to damn Mr. Nixon as what they consider a "right-wing-capitalist-pig-exploiting-imperialist" serves only to enhance and protect Mr. Nixon’s reputation with the so-called silent majority. It doesn’t hurt him, it is a necessity to keep those who voted for the President from realizing that candidate Nixon and President Nixon are as different as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Page 17

It is not only the philosopher-king intellectuals of the Establishment who have noted that "Shifty Dick" has shifted Left. Even the publications in the "middle of the road" (a position which has been shifting Leftward for going on four decades) have taken notice. An eye-opening article in the Dow Jones Corporation’s National Observer of July 21, 1969, titled "Two Positions: Liberal and Less Liberal - The Conservatives Find Themselves Boxed In," stated that all the Conservatives could expect from the Nixon Administration was "meaningless baubles." National Observer correspondent Jude Wanniski continued:

indent.gif (90 bytes)The most important thing to understand about the ideological churning in the Capitol is that it is taking place within an extremely narrow range of debate. And that range has been circumscribed by congressional liberals of both parties.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Unlike earlier conflicts of ideology in Washington, there is now no fundamental dispute over commitments, only a narrow haggling over technique. There are artificial "liberal" positions and "less liberal" positions, with the pulling and hauling largely between Senate Democrats and the White House, but the conservatives have been foreclosed from debate. Because the liberals have been surprisingly efficient in organizing the loyal opposition, Congressional conservatives have no choice but to join in support of the somewhat "less liberal" White House. . . .  Here we have Sen. Strom Thurmond, who would like an abrupt halt to all federal desegregation moves, lightly applauding the new approach to school-desegregation guidelines because they would give a few school districts a little extra time. Here are other conservatives, Sen. John Tower of Texas among them, approving the Nixon voting-rights plan because it applies to the nation a civil-rights formula that now applies only to the South. If Mr. Nixon lately has been seen in the company of conservatives it is only because they have moved onto liberal terrain in order to support him.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Conservatives who looked forward to abolishing the Office of Economic Opportunity have found themselves in the odd position of promoting renaissance of the agency along new lines, the liberals defending the status quo. Old guard Republicans who last year Page 18 thought razing was too good for the Job Corps camps this year passionately defend the Administration’s decision to keep half the camps open . . . The conservatives want to merely double the federal commitment to feeding the poor. The liberals want to triple the commitment. On the entire range of domestic issues there is scarcely one on which conservatives are not occupying ideological ground that was held by liberals only a year or two ago . . . . The "conservative" campus-unrest bill that was blocked in the House Education and Labor Committee last month was so mild as to be meaningless, but as mild as it was the legislation was opposed by the President. ... On foreign-policy issues, too, the debate falls within a narrow range, the old guard conservatives moving to traditional liberal terrain to support Mr. Nixon. The President will visit Communist Rumania in the kind of east-west bridge-building that President Kennedy and President Johnson talked about. But here are the liberals criticizing the trip because it might upset Moscow. And here comes the Old Guard - the Mundts, Towers, Hruskas, Dirksens - galloping to Mr. Nixon’s defense.
indent.gif (90 bytes)The conservatives seem comfortable enough arguing for Mr. Nixon’s Safeguard anti-ballistic missile system, but even here the ground has shifted. A year ago the Richard Russells and Strom Thurmonds wanted nothing less than an ABM net to protect American cities against attack while many liberals would have considered the Safeguard defense of the U.S. nuclear deterrents a triumph of reason and peace . . . . Nowhere, it seems, has the spectrum shifted more than in the Vietnam debate. Senators who two years ago were still talking about bombing Hanoi and Haiphong are pushing disengagement. Sen. John Stennis of Mississippi, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, only eight months ago was still not ruling out the possibility of employing nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Now he is endorsing the enclave theory of Gen. James Gavin, a theory which seemed a panacea to doves in 1967. . . .
indent.gif (90 bytes)Perhaps the liberals should be happier with this condition than they are. But in fact they seem more frustrated than they ever were in the Johnson era. As much ground as they cover in seeking an issue, Mr. Nixon follows, yanking the Old Guard with him.
indent.gif (90 bytes)But at least the liberals should feel pride of authorship, serving the nation well in leading the loyal opposition as vigorously as they have. If they had been in disarray, unable to bring forceful pressures on the White House for necessary policy changes at Page 19 home and abroad, Mr. Nixon would have been forced to move even more cautiously than he has.

The Wall Street Journal, which tries to stay in the middle of the road, has consistently called attention, usually approvingly, to Mr. Nixon’s "Liberalism in action." Journal correspondent Alan Otten wrote early in the game on March 4, 1969: " . . . There will clearly be no big cutbacks in Government spending; in fact, all signs are that spending will rise pretty much on Lyndon Johnson’s schedule . . . .

Otten quotes an unnamed White House staffer that "the Nixon Administration talks quite conservatively much of the time, yet ends up acting with comparative liberalism." Otten also notes that a Republican who has a Conservative image can get away with things no Liberal could. ‘~ . . . The same proposal would sound like another alarming step down the road to state socialism" coming from the Democrats, writes Otten. [26] This is, of course, the very road Mr. Nixon is travelling, and the fact that a Republican is now leading the way serves to neutralize much of the opposition to it. Conservative correspondent Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune sadly wrote on October 15, 1969:

Conservatives should be realistic enough to recognize that this country is going deeper into socialism and will see expansion of federal power, whether Republicans or Democrats are in power. The only comfort they may have is that the pace will be slower under Richard M. Nixon than it might have been under Hubert H. Humphrey.

* * *

Conservatives are going to have to recognize that the Nixon administration will embrace most of the socialism of the Democratic administrations, while professing to improve it . . .

Conservative acquiescence in the basic theory of Marxism that "socialism is inevitable" seals the doom of liberty in America. Page 20

Even such a staunch and long-time Nixon advocate as Trohan, who is the Chicago Tribune’s senior political writer, has confessed in print that, "more in sorrow than in anger, this commentator is beginning to find himself puzzled by Richard M. Nixon’s start in the Presidency." He added: "There would seem to be some cause for uneasiness." One thing that made Trohan uneasy was " . . . the praise Nixon heaped on the State Department staff when he called on his round of federal establishments. No less enthusiastic praise has been heaped on others of the entrenched Democratic party. This also contrasted sharply with his call for change during the campaign."[27]

Columnist Ralph de Toledano, an erstwhile Nixon supporter who once wrote a laudatory biography of the President, complained:

indent.gif (90 bytes)While President Nixon has basked in the approving smiles of the liberal establishment, a cloud once no bigger than a man’s left hand has begun to grow darker on Washington’s political horizon. That cloud has a storm potential which could badly rock Mr. Nixon’s ship as he moves toward the 1970 and 1972 elections.
indent.gif (90 bytes)It is no longer possible to ignore this, or not to comment on its significance. It adds up to one important fact: The conservatives won the election for Richard Nixon - and they are losing the election to him. It can no longer be denied that those to the right of center who carried November 6 for Mr. Nixon have gotten less than the back of his hand for their effort.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Obviously the spoils are going to those who did their worst, or best, to see Nixon’s opponents triumph. In fact, a kind of political alliance between the present administration and the anti-Nixon coalition seems to be in the making.[28]

A nervous James Jackson Kilpatrick, a former editor of the Richmond News Leader, gave as his tentative judgment that "Mr. Nixon, thus far, disappoints." What concerned the columnist most was that: Page 21

Mr. Nixon has not cleaned house. To be sure, a new cabinet is in office, but what of that? Bureaucracy is a kind of root vegetable; what counts is underground. It is at the third and fourth levels that memorandums are drafted, regulations enforced, speeches prepared, and policies shaped. If Mr. Nixon fails to dig down to these levels, and to put in new men with new ideas, he will harvest the same old thing. [29]

William Loeb of the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader didn’t take what he thought was Nixon’s double-cross quite so gracefully. Loeb accused Nixon of "throwing it away" and noted, quoting an informant, a long-time Washington observer:

indent.gif (90 bytes)"Had Mr. Nixon and his cabinet officers exposed the wrongdoing of the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations in the various departments and in the branches of the government in Washington - and throughout the world - President Nixon could have consolidated himself in office and built the Republican party up so it would be strong for years to come.
indent.gif (90 bytes)"Instead," our friend concluded, "Mr. Nixon is attempting a course of action which never in the history of politics or government has been successful. He is favoring his enemies and offending his friends."[30]

By January 24, 1970, Human Events, the staunch Conservative weekly newsletter from Washington, which vociferously supported Mr. Nixon in 1968, had itself become largely disillusioned with the President’s actions. Surveying the scene after one year, the paper stated:

. . . it seems to us that the President ignored most of his own rhetoric during the first year. Instead of ruthlessly examining existing domestic legislation and eliminating the unnecessary, he kept all the Kennedy-Johnson programs, called for increased funding of them in some instances and even dreamed up a new welfare scheme which he acknowledges will cost more than the existing welfare set-up.

* * *
/Page 22

indent.gif (90 bytes)The President can be seen embracing the views of liberal leprechaun Daniel Moynihan one morning and then that afternoon siding with the conservative Arthur Burns. Nixon condemns the anti-poverty program as a waste, but then pushes for its extension for at least two years. He permits Atty. Gen. Mitchell to lobby for the Whitten anti-school-busing amendment in the House, but when it passes, lo and behold, he benches Mitchell and suits up Finch, who sinks it in the Senate.

It has become a truism under Liberalism that old subsidies never die, and, as Human Events pointed out, Nixon has made "no effort -- no effort at all -- to roll back the bureaucracy. Indeed some observers might conclude there was an effort to entrench established programs [emphasis in original]." Administrations come and go, while millions of government workers go right on folding, spindling, and mutilating. As the Chicago Tribune observed, quoting the French proverb, "The more it changes, the more it remains the same."

Among the most articulate Conservative critics of Mr. Nixon has been the Republican Battle Line, the publication of the American Conservative Union. In its February-March 1969 issue, Battle Line bluntly told its readers with regard to Nixon’s appointments: "Slowly but surely it has finally dawned on Republican party regulars across the nation that they have been taken." The non-partisan approach to filling appointments was a convenient excuse for retaining Democratic holdovers and moving Liberal Democrats into important slots. This is not exactly what Republicans had been led to expect. According to Battle Line:

. . . candidate Nixon admitted publicly, as when he spoke to Republican delegates in caucus at Miami Beach last August, that one of the greatest failures of the Eisenhower administration was the complete lack of White House action in building up the Republican Party organization. It appears that GOP history not only repeats itself, it stutters badly. Page 23

Later, in June 1970, Battle Line was to note of Mr. Nixon’s own personal staff:

. . . Perusing an organizational chart of the White House staff, the traditional Republican is struck by the presence of so few avowed conservatives in any capacity, and those few are assigned non-policymaking jobs....

Battle Line in February had warned that the Administration was straying away from its traditional role as the Conservative party:

Since its founding the Republican Party has generally held itself out to be the responsible party concerning national economic policy. The Republicans have fought the "budget busting" Democrats who in their profligacy "tax, spend and elect." Limited government, balanced budgets, lower taxes have always been GOP watch words. That all may be changing now.

Concerning Nixon’s domestic policies, the American Conservative Union concluded in the June issue of Battle Line:

One should start with the obvious historical premise that almost every major domestic policy theme the President has adopted during his term of office has favored not just the liberal side, but at times, the ultra-liberal. Nixon has heartily embraced welfare programs that would have made Dwight Eisenhower blush. He has championed big spending to the tune of billions and budget cuts in name only. One of the largest increases ever in the national debt has just passed the House and the Nixon budget, designed as a model of fiscal rectitude, has drowned in a swirl of red ink and inflation.

In February of that same year (1970) the ACU newsletter had commented:

Not only does Nixon seek new ways to spend Federal tax money, he has greatly increased spending for programs started by Kennedy and Johnson. Secretary of HEW Finch’s department will Page 24 get $6 billion more than the $52 billion it spent last year, although all but $1 billion of this results from increases already written into law - Social Security boosts, welfare, Medicare, etc. Nevertheless, another billion dollars goes to HEW. "Considering the tight budget," said an HEW official, "we did very well."

It should be remembered that the vast majority of Republican Senators and Congressmen wholeheartedly opposed these Kennedy-Johnson Socialist programs when they were originally before Congress. As Battle Line remarked:

If it were not so tragic it would seem humorous a Republican Administration tossing away billions of tax dollars for socialistic schemes that make the New Deal look like a penny ante game . . . .

The Conservative Republican group also pointed out that the Party was abandoning, particularly with reference to Vietnam, its traditional anti-Communist position, a position once championed by Richard Nixon himself Battle Line observed in December 1969:

What worries many is that the President may have abandoned even a remote intention of winning this costly struggle against Communism; that our goal of victory has been replaced with withdrawal and acceptance of defeat. If that is so, all that remains is to play out the traditional Asian game of saving face.

In the Nixon Administration "appearances are everything," concluded Battle Line in August 1969. The Conservatives get the rhetoric . . . . In June 1970 Battle Line pointed out:

All this is not to say that the words have not been there. Between his [Nixon’s] own milder utterings and the conservative-sounding rhetoric of Vice President Agnew, most Republicans have been able to assuage their consciences with the vacant Page 25  thought that "they sure do sound good." As we’ve said many times before, conservatives get the words, liberals get the action.

Nixon’s "New Leadership" has virtually removed the Conservative viewpoint from the congressional spectrum. The August 1969 Battle Line mournfully noted:

The truth is that President Nixon’s advocacy of all sorts of liberal domestic and foreign policies seems to have foreclosed conservatives from debate. Many conservative Republicans in Congress, especially in the House, have adopted what has now become the President’s own standard operating procedure; they talk conservative but go along with the liberalism the President has been espousing more and more each week. The vote on the surtax proposal found many Republicans reversing themselves as they supported the President’s back-turning on a campaign issue. Demands for "unity" do wonders as more and more legislators follow their President down the liberal road in spite of prior conservative records and campaign promises in the past elections.

Political commentators from Left, Right, and that nonexistent ideological position known as the "Center" all agree that the Nixon Administration is far more Liberal than it pretended it would be during the 1968 campaign, that Conservatives receive only "meaningless baubles"’ and that the administration talks Conservative and acts Liberal. The Nixon Administration, moving Leftward, has pulled the Republican Party with it.

The head of the American Conservative Union, Congressman John Ashbrook of Ohio, has pointed out that the Nixon Administration is using the excuse of "party unity" to high-pressure Congressmen into supporting increased government spending and power. Ashbrook stated:

A few months after a hard-fought and close national election, it appears that some Republican leaders would make you believe that it is a question of "not supporting" the President or the Page 26 party when you vote against him when he fails to carry out his campaign promises. I will support him steadfastly in his efforts to bring about the changes he promised the American people. I will just as vigorously oppose him if he endeavors to go in the opposite direction. I am not one of those Republicans and they are apparently in the majority - who could view with alarm under Johnson last year and point with pride to the same thing under President Nixon this year. There are always changing factors to consider but some things are clearly central and basic to our Republican philosophy. If as a part of our basic philosophy we opposed something last year, it should still be wrong this year. If it was right last year, it should be right this year. [31]

But apparently many Republicans have decided Sam Rayburn was right when he said, "To get along, go along." Most Republican Congressmen have gone along in what Republican Battle Line refers to as "legislative amnesia." Battle Line in October 1969 said that:

. . . the Republican Party in Congress, long a bastion for conservatism, seems to be suffering from legislative amnesia. GOP leaders don’t lead and their members, for the most part, seem paralyzed by the presence of a Republican in the White House. Congressmen with long voting records based on sound GOP conservative principles now forgotten have followed like sheep as the Nixon Administration has proposed new legislative confirmation for many liberal Democrat programs first enacted under Kennedy and Johnson.

The political proof is in the voting. The effects of the go-along-to-get-along, party-unity-above-principle policy has shown up in the voting records of Republican Congressmen. The Washington Star of February 12, 1970, reported:

indent.gif (90 bytes)Americans for Constitutional Action, whose ratings of congressional voting records are frequently relied upon as a measure of conservative influence in the House and Senate, says there has been "a distinct drop" in conservatism in both houses, particularly among Republicans.... Page 27
indent.gif (90 bytes)In a statement accompanying the ratings, ACA President Charles A. McManus said:
indent.gif (90 bytes)"There is no question that we are disappointed at the ratings received by a number of members of Congress, mostly Republicans, and particularly as the new ratings fall far below the high-water mark achieved in the ACA ratings by the conservative members of Congress covering the final session (1968) of the liberal Johnson administration."

ACA President McManus further stated:

The new figures revealed that many conservative Republicans have taken positions on rollcall votes contrary to their former position on similar legislation, some for the first time in their legislative career. Their voting records in 1969 reveal support of some liberal Kennedy-Johnson Administration programs continued by the Nixon Administration. [32]

The extent to which many Republican Congressmen who would have fought Hubert Humphrey tooth and nail have been neutralized by the Nixon Administration is revealed by the ACA tabulations. The Conservative voting indices of numerous GOP lawmakers dropped precipitously. For example, the late Congressman James Utt, a long-time champion of Conservatism through thick and thin, through vice and sin, had a cumulative Conservative voting record with the ACA of ninety-five per cent. His record in the 91st Congress, believe it or not, was sixty-seven per cent. This is an increase from voting Liberal five per cent of the time to voting Liberal nearly thirty-five per cent of the time an increase of almost seven hundred per cent. The voting records of other California Republican Congressmen were typical of the increasing Liberalism and decreasing Conservatism of GOP legislators across the country. Don Clausen fell from seventy-nine to fifty-nine per cent; Charles S. Gubser, from seventy-two to forty per cent; William S. Maillard, from fifty-three to twenty-nine per cent; Robert Page 28 Mathias, from seventy-one to forty-seven percent; Burt Talcott, from eighty to forty-seven per cent; Charles Teague, from eighty to fifty per cent; Charles Wilson, from eighty-two to fifty-four per cent; and Craig Hosmer, from seventy-five to fifty per cent.

Concerning the disastrous effects of the Nixon Administration on GOP voting records, Battle Line stated:

Nowhere has the President’s liberalism had a more depressing result than among Republicans in Congress. Congressional Quarterly in its 1969 year-end study of the voting habits of congressional Republicans found a decided move to the left. Most of the Nixon congressional victories did not result from the traditional conservative coalition of a majority of the GOP plus the bloc of southern Democrats. Rather Nixon most often won with a liberal-dominated coalition including Eastern GOP members, many Democrats outside the South plus just enough "normally" conservative Republicans who are willing to go along with liberal bills because the President wants them.[33]

David Broder, writing in the Washington Post said:

This fact shows most clearly in the figures on individual members’ support of the President. Within each party the strongest support for the Nixon program was the East . . . [although] high on the list of his Democratic backers were such liberals as Democratic National Committee Chairman Fred Harris of Oklahoma and Rep. Morris K. Udall of Arizona. Rep. Peter Frelinghuysen, Republican of New Jersey, another liberal, led all House Republicans in support of the President . . . and the Republican foes of the President were the ultra-conservatives in the House led by none other than Rep. H.R. Gross of Iowa, who voted against the Republican President 64% of the time.[34]

Battle Line commented further:

Interestingly by comparison, the 1969 annual conservative ratings by Americans for Constitutional Action (ACA) gave Rep. Frelinghuysen, Nixon’s most frequent GOP supporter, a rating of Page 29 only 20% conservative. Rep. Gross, Nixon’s most frequent GOP opponent, rates 100% conservative with ACA.[35]

In other words, the Nixon Administration has proven to be an absolute disaster in the fight against socialism at home and Communism abroad. The Nixon Administration, for all its campaign promises and patriotic Conservative rhetoric, is not part of the solution, it is part of the problem. Grass-roots Republicans and GOP Congressmen must now swallow their pride and realize that they have been conned by a smooth-talking automobile salesman from Whittier, and must heed St. Paul’s recommendation to the Ephesians: "Follow not a multitude to do evil."

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{1} Battle Line, February 1970.

{2} Indianapolis Sunday Star, August 18,1968.

{3} Los Angeles Times, November 7, 1968.

{4} Deseret News, December 2, 1968.

{5} Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram, February 10, 1970.

{6} Battle Line, February-March 1969.

{7} Newsweek, February 24, 1969

{8} Ibid., February 2, 1970.

{9} Indianapolis News, January 22,1969.

{10} Washington Post, August 16, 1969.

{11} Ibid., July 12,1969.

{12} Indianapolis News, October 21, 1969.

{13} Battle Line, August 1969.

{14} Washington Star, January 21, 1970

{15} Washington Star, February 16, 1969.

{16} National Review, October 7,1969, page 1013.

{17} Indianapolis Star, April 24, 1970.

{18} Los Angeles Times, April 15,1969.

{19} Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram, February 7, 1969.

{20} Ibid., June 23, 1969.

{21} Ibid., August 13,1969.

{22} Ibid. August 6, 1969.

{23} Ibid., August 11,1969.

{24} Indianapolis News, February 27, 1970.

{25} Los Angeles Times, September 17, 1970.

{26} Wall Street Journal, August 20,1969.

{27} Chicago Tribune, February 7,1969.

{28} Indianapolis News, February 26,1969.

{29} Los Angeles Times, February 15,1969.

{30}   Manchester Union-Leader, reprinted in Independent American, April-May, 1969.

{31} Battle Line, July 1969.

{32} Human Events, February 21, 1970.

{33} Battle Line, February 1970.

{34} Washington Post, quoted in Battle Line, February 1970.

{35} Battle Line, February 1970.

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