Richard Nixon On Gun Control And Abortion

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.

More Robert Caro

Robert Caro has been getting lots of attention on CP.

This spring I am engrossed (again) in the first volume of Robert Caro’s journey through the years of Lyndon Johnson’s life.   To say that Caro is a masterful writer, researcher, and historian would not do him justice.  He is brilliant.

While at WDOR in the 1980’s I first read the book, loved it, and then stored it for years at my parent’s home.  In 2007 the book was added, with all the others, to the shelves in my Madison home.

With the latest volume of Caro’s work on LBJ hitting the shelves this spring I wanted to venture back with a read that I had so much fun with the first time.

Truth is I am having a blast again.

Which all leads me to a blog post I read tonight from The Tin Man about actually meeting Caro.

How wonderful is this?

And suddenly, a few minutes later, there he was a few feet away from me.

He was wearing a dark suit with a red tie, a red handkerchief in his pocket, and he was standing with a couple of other people. I had no idea what he was doing there, standing in front of the Columbia University gates, but I had to say hello.

So I went up to him and said, “I’m so sorry to bother you, but I’m a huge fan of yours.” I told him I’d just finished volume 1 and that I’d previously read volumes 2 and 3, that I’d read them in reverse order.

He couldn’t have been nicer. He asked me what my name was. He shook my hand. He introduced me to his wife, Ina Caro, who was standing next to him, and I was just as thrilled to meet her; Ina Caro is an accomplished author in her own right, and she has been Robert Caro’s sole research assistant on all of his books. Then he introduced me to his editor, Katherine Hourigan, who was standing there as well. He asked me my name again, and then he made a point to ask my last name.

A Little Monday Morning Quarter-Backing About Recall Election


I am not about to ruminate endlessly about the now concluded recall election.   There is however one point that needs to be underscored.

This morning in the First Read one could find this.

Bottom line: Walker benefited greatly from the fact that many Wisconsin voters didn’t think the premise of last night’s recall was legitimate. Indeed, 18% of those who said they’re supporting President Obama in November voted for Walker. Think about that for a second.

I have tried to make the point that the recall election was not just another election.  It was not a routine election, not just another general election, and should not be treated as such by the Democratic Party or by our candidate.

It was imperative, I stated over and over, that the voters understand the gravity of why a recall election was called for, and to grasp their role in what was a historic moment.

As my friend wrote in an email yesterday…

Did Barrett and his surrogates try to also make the campaign about that Walker was acting like a king? That is, Walker did not talk during the campaign about ending collective bargaining rights–then he forces it through the legislature with little chance for fair hearing and due process–that is no way to run our government–with control of both houses of the legislature, no less! I would think at least this message would resonate with libertarians in the Democratic Party, Republicans, Independents and the Tea Party, even. After all, that is what the original tea partiers were about–no taxation without representation–they were protesting the dictatorial power unilaterally imposed by the king without their consultation–much less their consent.

The Democrats failed to undertake the mission of explaining the recall, or running a recall oriented campaign.  Democrats failed to dance with the ones who brought them to the prom.   After all, this all started over collective bargaining.

The Democrats ran a general election contest and lost.  Badly.

Had Democrats conducted a recall election race this line would not be featured in political columns this morning.

18% of those who said they’re supporting President Obama in November voted for Walker

Had Democrats done their job from top to bottom there would not have been any lingering question about the recall having been legitimate.