I was watching an interview online that Richard Nixon provided to Brain Lamb on C-SPAN’s Booknotes from 1992, and ran into this interesting exchange. (This was my way of coping with the recall election outcome–by listening to a real conservative with a keen mind, a message, and ideas. If only we had more like Nixon in the GOP today.)
LAMB: This is really off the track, but one of the times as I was reading it, it got my attention where I thought that this was something new was when you said that you were for strict gun control.
LAMB: Have you always been for strict gun control?
NIXON: Oh, yes. Let me be quite direct about that. I’m known as a conservative Republican, and I am conservative. But on the other hand, on some issues I take a different point of view. Gun control — I feel strongly about it. I have many friends — Joe Foss, who served with such distinction in World War II. I met him when I was in the Pacific. He was a great fighter pilot — 25 Japanese planes shot down. He’s the head of the organization [N.R.A.], but I am for strict gun control. Let’s just look at the figures. During the Persian Gulf War, during that war, 20 times as many people were murdered in the United States as were killed on the field. That’s unacceptable. Gun control, I think, could have some positive effect in controlling that and seeing that doesn’t happen in the future. So, in gun control, I figure that way.
As you note, I take a different view on abortion. Now, that’s a very sensitive issue, and Americans may disagree about abortion. But I feel very strongly that we should not try to export our views on abortion to countries abroad. I have visited the countries of what I call the Southern Hemisphere. I’ve seen the overpopulation in those countries. I know that the infant mortality, everything else, is just unacceptably high. Under the circumstances, population control is absolutely necessary. I don’t think we should subsidize it, but on the other hand, I don’t think we should say that if a nation abroad does have an abortion program we do not support a population program. I think, for example, the so-called “Mexico City Policy” — which the administration apparently has endorsed — which would deny any assistance to a population-control program if the country abroad has abortion — I think that’s wrong.