Richard Nixon, Traitor

So, seems like Nixon sabotaged Lyndon Johnsons attempts at peace talks with Vietnam in order to further his presidential candidacy:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21768668

It begins in the summer of 1968. Nixon feared a breakthrough at the Paris Peace talks designed to find a negotiated settlement to the Vietnam war, and he knew this would derail his campaign.

He therefore set up a clandestine back-channel involving Anna Chennault, a senior campaign adviser.

At a July meeting in Nixon's New York apartment, the South Vietnamese ambassador was told Chennault represented Nixon and spoke for the campaign. If any message needed to be passed to the South Vietnamese president, Nguyen Van Thieu, it would come via Chennault.

In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris - concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared.

Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.

So on the eve of his planned announcement of a halt to the bombing, Johnson learned the South Vietnamese were pulling out.

I'd claim I was surprised, but y'know, it's Nixon. Kind of makes me wonder how many other presidential candidates have been ruthless enough to pull something like that though.

There've been some strong suggestions that Reagan did something similar with Iran in relation to the Iran-Contra scandal, but I don't think I've seen anything definitive.

This shouldn't be as surprising as it is, and yet I'm still pretty shocked. This is probably going to be the lead anvil on any further attempt to rehabilitate Nixon's legacy.

This really should go a long ways toward discouraging liberals from holding Nixon up as a "good conservative."

Though cements his reputation as a "typical conservative."

kazooka wrote:

There've been some strong suggestions that Reagan did something similar with Iran in relation to the Iran-Contra scandal, but I don't think I've seen anything definitive.

There are also allegations that Reagan worked prevent the return of the American hostages in Iran until after the 1980 election was over to prevent Carter from benefiting from an October surprise. The hostages were were released just minutes after Reagan was sworn in.

Seth wrote:

This really should go a long ways toward discouraging liberals from holding Nixon up as a "good conservative."

Maybe we read different liberal opinions, but the point I've seen made is that Nixon policies would be considered too liberal for today's GOP, not that Nixon is "good" overall.

ChrisLTD wrote:
Seth wrote:

This really should go a long ways toward discouraging liberals from holding Nixon up as a "good conservative."

Maybe we read different liberal opinions, but the point I've seen made is that Nixon policies would be considered too liberal for today's GOP, not that Nixon is "good" overall.

Good call. I used some poor word choices there. This is much closer to what I intended to say.

One of the conspiracy theories with more meat behind it is that Reagan sabotaged the Iran hostage negotiations going into the 1980 election.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October...

So was Pat Buchanan a common link between Nixon and Reagan, or am I confused?

Jayhawker wrote:

So was Pat Buchanan a common link between Nixon and Reagan, or am I confused?

One of several; lots of Nixon's people came back in Reagan's cabinet & rogue's gallery.

And a number of Nixon enthusiasts served in Bush's administration, and continue in positions of power in Republican policy circles.

ChrisLTD wrote:

Maybe we read different liberal opinions, but the point I've seen made is that Nixon policies would be considered too liberal for today's GOP, not that Nixon is "good" overall.

Nixon's *policies* were typical for a politician of the time, taking ideas from both sides of the aisle pragmatically (yes, that was the norm, for decades, on both sides before the 80's.) What turns him into a villain is his criminal acts, based on what is called the "unitary theory of the executive", which holds that the Executive branch has essentially unlimited power and should be considered as first among the three branches. He conspired to have journalists killed for revealing Watergate information, for example. He fired the Attorney General who refused to drop the Watergate investigation and appointed one (Robert Bork) who was willing to shut it down. He used the CIA and FBI to gather information on and harrass political foes. He destroyed evidence of his knowledge and collusion in all of the above, and famously asserted later that "if the President does it, it's not illegal".

The fact that some prominent Republicans still seek to emulate him in these actions astounds me. But that's how far Republicans have shifted the political landscape, that things that were illegal, unconstitutional and repugnant in the 70's are excused and recommended as standard practice today.

Robear wrote:

The fact that some prominent Republicans still seek to emulate him in these actions astounds me. But that's how far Republicans have shifted the political landscape, that things that were illegal, unconstitutional and repugnant in the 70's are excused and recommended as standard practice today.

Look at who was around when Nixon resigned as a result of his actions and who was around when the GOP began greatly expanding executive powers. It was Rumsfled, Cheney, and the lot. They never stopped believing that the executive office should have virtually limitless power. It just took them another 30 years to get back in power to the point that they could do something about it.

American politics is baffling. The same Republics that birthed the Tea Party, which I understand wants to limit government power as much as possible, also birthed a president that abused that power to a ridiculous degree? They seem very fickle...

That's not what the Tea Party wants. They're the theocratic arm of the Big Tent. Modern Pharisees.

Redwing wrote:

American politics is baffling. The same Republics that birthed the Tea Party, which I understand wants to limit government power as much as possible, also birthed a president that abused that power to a ridiculous degree? They seem very fickle...

The Tea Party and the executive power folks are two different crowds.

The Tea Party came from having a generation of folks grow up listening to--and believing--in Reaganism. They were continually taught that the government is always wasteful, that it is inept at everything (except killing Commies and, later, brown people), that capitalism is a flawlessly perfect economic system, and that the private market can always something cheaper, faster, better, than government ever could. Basically, Tea Partiers are really religious Libertarians.

The executive power crowd thought it was horrible the way Nixon was treated and essentially vowed to restore the full power of the Presidency. It only took 9/11 for them to get there.

It's interesting to see how far of a ripple a particular administration's philosophies throw in politics. To see Nixon and Reagan ideals carried over into politics of the 21st century, despite the circumstances which birthed many of those ideals no longer being at play just shows me how much of a life these beliefs have outside of reality. So what is Clinton's legacy? Financial deregulation? I wonder how long before that camp circles back around into fashion? Obama's talk softly and carry a big drone strike philosophy?

Kehama wrote:

So what is Clinton's legacy?

Moderation and corporatization of the Democratic party. Some of that is good; the Democratic Party was a little bit head in the clouds before Clinton's presidency. Some of the rest of it, not so much.

Chennault is still alive right? When does she get arrested?

kazooka wrote:
Kehama wrote:

So what is Clinton's legacy?

Moderation and corporatization of the Democratic party. Some of that is good; the Democratic Party was a little bit head in the clouds before Clinton's presidency. Some of the rest of it, not so much.

I remember when we had a slight budget surplus, and the dollar was trading strong against the pound. Good times.

I thought this was old news. I read about it years ago in a history book. Not a textbook, just a nonfiction book on the history of the US in that time period.

From the article wrote:

The BBC's former Washington correspondent Charles Wheeler learned of this in 1994 and conducted a series of interviews with key Johnson staff, such as defence secretary Clark Clifford, and national security adviser Walt Rostow.

But by the time the tapes were declassified in 2008 all the main protagonists had died, including Wheeler.

Now, for the first time, the whole story can be told.

Jayhawker wrote:
From the article wrote:

The BBC's former Washington correspondent Charles Wheeler learned of this in 1994 and conducted a series of interviews with key Johnson staff, such as defence secretary Clark Clifford, and national security adviser Walt Rostow.

But by the time the tapes were declassified in 2008 all the main protagonists had died, including Wheeler.

Now, for the first time, the whole story can be told.

Your point? I'm saying this was known well before even then. That Nixon did this. Not that Johnson knew.