The Democrats and their playbook haven’t changed in at least 45 years

I have just finished reading the 2nd of a three-volume biography of Richard M. Nixon, written by historian Stephen Ambrose. The first two volumes were in excess of 1,000 pages each. Ambrose seems to know more about Nixon than Nixon knew about Nixon. Chronologically, President Nixon had just been re-elected in 1972 as volume two came to an end, so I haven’t yet made it to the depressing part where he resigns.

At any rate, I have been amazed by the parallels between the era of Nixon and today. The similarities are remarkable. I have posted quotes before that illustrate this observation, and now I’m going to post a few more. One thing is for certain; the Democrats & their voters use the same tactics and are guilty of the same treachery now as in 1972.

The Democrats gave an appearance of being anti-religion and pro-drugs, anti-profit and pro-welfare, anti-family and pro-abortion, anti-farmer and pro-migrant worker, anti-Saigon and pro-Hanoi, anti-armed forces and pro-draft dodgers. Delegates booed Hubert Humphrey; they booed the few times Johnson’s name was mentioned; some were heard to cheer Ho Chi Minh.

Senator Scott, meanwhile, charged that “the McGovern campaign is the campaign of the three A’s: acid, abortion, and amnesty.”

The following week, Nixon spent a day campaigning in Ohio. It included a long motorcade. There were protesters carrying signs along the route. When he spotted them, he raised and extended his arms, spreading the first two fingers in the “V-for-Victory” sign. “This really knocks them for a loop,” he remarked, “because they think this is their sign.” In a diary entry, he went on to analyze the antiwar protesters.

“I think as the war recedes as an issue,” he wrote, “some of these people are going to be lost souls. They basically are haters, they are frustrated, they are alienated—they don’t know what to do with their lives.”

What upset him were McGovern’s remarks about Nixon as a person. It was not so much the “most corrupt Administration in history” charge, or even the accusation that Nixon’s tactics were those of the KKK; the charge that cut was the comparison of Nixon with Hitler.

“According to McGovern, the President of the United States is a liar, barbarian, immoral, cruel and murderous.”

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There is nothing new under the sun

I am currently in the midst of the second of three volumes written by historian Stephen Ambrose about the life of Richard Nixon — the “Nixon trilogy,” as I have come to regard it. At any rate, I am right now in the middle of his first term as president. The year is 1970 and the midterm elections have just taken place. America is in turmoil. There is a great deal of campus unrest and political violence. In other words, events 47 years ago are eerily similar to today’s. Back then, the left was protesting the Vietnam War. Today, they are protesting because they lost an election.

At any rate, in the chapter covering these events in 1970, I came across several quotes that could easily have been written about events today. Some of the quotes were spoken by Richard Nixon himself. Others are about Nixon, or about the events during that period. Again, even though these things occurred nearly two generations ago, they bear close resemblance to events today. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.

Overall, however, the Republican Party did not rally behind its besieged President, the Establishment did not rally behind the besieged institution of the Presidency, the media did not give the President fair and objective treatment.

Nixon told reporters, ‘I think that sometimes the Senate would do better to get out throughout the country and see what the country is thinking,’ just as he was doing. ‘There is sort of an intellectual incest in Washington which really reduces the level of the dialogue, and you have to go to the country now and then to get a real feeling of what people are thinking.”

RN’s effectiveness in using the television medium is remarkable. . . . Instead of trying to win the press, to cater to them, to have backgrounders with them, RN has ignored them and has talked directly to the country by TV whenever possible. He has used the press and not let the press use him. . . . This is a remarkable achievement.

‘The time has come for us to recognize that violence and terror have no place in a free society,’ he said. ‘Whatever the purported cause of the perpetrators may be. . . . No cause justifies violence.’

‘There are those who protest that if the verdict of democracy goes against them, democracy itself is at fault—who say that if they don’t get their own way the answer is to burn a bus or bomb a building. Yet we can maintain a free society only if we recognize that in a free society no one can win all the time.’

‘It is time for the great silent majority of Americans to stand up and be counted,’ he shouted back. ‘And I’ll tell you how you can be counted—on November 3 in the quiet of the polling booth. If a candidate has condoned violence, lawlessness and permissiveness, then you know what to do.’

As the entourage approached the civic auditorium, about a thousand demonstrators greeted the politicians with screams, howls, and roaring chants, many obscene. Safire, who was there, called it ‘an orgy of generalized hate.’

‘The time has come to take the gloves off and speak to this kind of behavior in a forthright way. Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly cannot exist when people who peacefully attend rallies are attacked with flying rocks.’

Quotes from the novel “Goodbye Vietnam”

Yesterday, I finished reading Goodbye Vietnam, a firsthand account of the Vietnam War and post-war Vietnam by William Broyles, who fought in Vietnam in 1969-70 as a junior officer, then returned 15 years later to visit the places in which he commanded Marines and also to meet some of the Vietnamese he had first fought as enemies. Goodbye Vietnam comes off as a genuine and honest account of a war that has become a less-than-stellar part of our history. 

This isn’t a particularly long account, but I can say I learned more about the war and Vietnam as a nation than any other source I have ever studied. Following are a collection of quotes that more or less jumped off the pages as I was reading.

Perhaps there is nothing less egalitarian than a Commuinist society, where privilege determines everything.

My men grew up in Vietnam. There are many better ways to do it — but few faster. College, in stark contrast, was a means of prolonged adolescence.

The gap between the task and the means to solve it was ludicrously wide.

Patrol went up the mountain. One man came back. He died before he could tell us what happened.

On neither side did the people win: the war won, and kept on winning. That is the price of a war in which the people, not land, are the battleground. To win that kind of war requires a special weapon—a moral certainty so strong as to make the suffering of individuals invisible.

In defense of Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon has long been one of my political heroes, and it pains me that his name is routinely maligned. Rarely does anyone come to his defense.

When President Trump fired James Comey last week as FBI director, the #fakenews media & Democrats conjured up their trite comparisons the the Watergate scandal and called the maneuver “Nixonian.” But does anyone really know Richard Nixon?

President Nixon is most famous for the scandal which ultimately toppled his presidency, forcing him to resign in the second year of his second term in office.

Richard Nixon was a great American, a brilliant man who pursued communists relentlessly as a congressman. He later served as President Eisenhower’s vice-president. Nixon lost a very close election to JFK in 1960, primarily because JFK presented himself better on TV. At that point, Richard Nixon’s political career appeared over.

But it wasn’t over. He won two landslide presidential elections in 1968 and 1972. And then the bottom fell out.

I’m not making excuses for his actions in the Watergate scandal. We all have our demons, and President Nixon certainly had his. In the end, Nixon’s demons (and two busybody Washington Post reporters) got the best of him.

Watergate is regarded as the mother of all presidential scandals, at least in my lifetime. But it has been overblown. We have had two presidents since Nixon who have made the 37th president seem like a piker.

We had one president accused of rape or sexual assault by numerous women. (He and his wife were also associated with a lot of people who have died from “mysterious causes.”) Yes, President Clinton was ultimately impeached (unlike Nixon) for perjury, but Watergate is still everyone’s favorite scandal. The Clinton impeachment has been largely forgotten.

We also just had a president who corruption was big league compared to Nixon. President Obama did things Nixon could only dream about (using the IRS to harass political opponents, for example). There was also the “Fast & Furious” scandal, which more or less involved the sale of firearms to Mexican drug cartels and resulted in people losing their lives. And there’s also this matter regarding President Obama tapping the phone lines at Trump Tower last year (and sounds a lot like Watergate). Any one of these alone would have damaged, if not toppled a Republican presidency.

The #fakenews media want so badly to relive their glory days of the early 1970’s when they helped bring down a Republican president. That’s why they’re pulling out all the stops to paint the Trump administration in the same light as Nixon. But there’s one thing standing the their way: the truth. President Trump and his administration are as clean as they come. There are no actual scandals, so #fakenews and Democrats have to manufacture them instead. That’s how desperate they are. And in the process, they have become the very monster that Richard Nixon has come to symbolize to them.

The Ogle Place

Situated just a couple of miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee on the Cherokee Orchard Road in the foothills of the Smokies, you will find the homestead of Noah Ogle. Ogle was a farmer who lived here during the late 19th and early 20th century. His cabin and barn still exist, and are maintained by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. His homestead is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Ogle home is an example of a “saddleback,” two one-room cabins separated by a common chimney. In terms of square footage, there isn’t much, but I’m guessing the place was quite pleasant during winter and tolerable in summer. Seeing how ordinary people once lived in these parts is a quick reminder that life used to be a whole lot harder than it is now.

Protecting the ones who pay the bills

One of the books I am currently reading is a biography of James Madison, penned by none other than Lynne Cheney (wife of the former Vice President). It is a fascinating read. Most well-written biographies of our Founders and Framers are. I am not yet a third of the way through, just now getting to the part where the Constitution is ratified.

James Madison was one of the writer of the Federalist Papers, written after the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in order to win support for the newly-framed document as it navigated the waters of ratification. One of the quotes that caught my attention asserts,

“[I]n Federalist 10 he emphasized the owning or not owning of property as a source of faction. A stable and just society required that property owners and creditors, though they be a minority, have governmental arrangements that protected their rights….”

In present-day parlance, government has the obligation to put the rights of the ones paying the bills ahead of the rights of those who are receiving “free” stuff. Except that’s not how it works anymore. Unfortunately, American society has devolved to the point that those receiving “free” stuff are allowed to dictate the terms, with the Democrat Party serving as the vehicle.

Take the Affordable Care Act. Republicans just won an election partly on the premise of repealing this behemoth. Democrats are hosting rallies in various cities where protestors are demanding that Donald Trump and the GOP not take away their health care. This is the victim class that is continually paraded around as justification for keeping the “free” stuff in place.

No thought is ever given to the family that just saw its health care premiums double or triple, with a corresponding decrease in benefits. No thought is ever given to the employees who have had their hours cut or entrepreneurs who have had to shutter their businesses because of the prohibitive cost of ObamaCare.

This is immoral. If you are a taxpayer who actually pays for the entitlement programs Democrats have dreamed up, your voice really ought to be heard before the voices of the ones who don’t pay. Even if the ones carrying the load are a minority, their rights and the products of their labor ought to come first. If you are a recipient and you don’t like this mindset, then figure out how you can become a producer. Otherwise, your voice ought to be heard last.

It turns out the Stoics have gotten a bad reputation

I stumbled upon a recent article in the UK Guardian regarding the ancient Stoics. I remember briefly learning about the Stoics in high school, probably when we read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar my sophomore year. About all we were told about the Stoics was that their philosophy told them not to get too optimistic during good times and not too pessimistic during hard times. And that was it. So I’ve always stereotyped the Stoics as being humorless, emotionless robots completely devoid of passion (sort of like your average liberal).

How wrong I was.

Stoicism is a school of philosophy which was founded in Athens in the early 3rd century and then progressed to Rome, where it became a pragmatic way of addressing life’s problems. The central message is, we don’t control what happens to us; we control how we respond.

The Stoics were really writing and thinking about one thing: how to live. The questions they asked were not arcane or academic but practical and real. “What do I do about my anger?” “What do I do if someone insults me?” “I’m afraid to die; why is that?” “How can I deal with the difficult situations I face?” “How can I deal with the success or power I hold?”

Leave it up to the foreign media to come up with a decent article. Also, soon to be added to my reading list is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.