Trump Supporters Forget About Nixon Needing To Be Protected From Himself, Too

Without a doubt, Donald Trump was the most unstable, mentally unhinged, and dangerous individual to ever sit in the Oval Office.

There was, however, one other president who also faced a most unsettling ending to his time in office which also provoked dread and uncertainty in the defense establishment of this nation.

Many readers know my fascination and deep interest regarding the life and times of Richard Nixon. During the final days of Nixon’s presidency, the defense establishment was concerned about his stability. They could not make a solid prediction that he would not do something reckless.

Donald Trump was even more prone to outrageous behavior, and that can be demonstrated based on his temperament and actions since Inauguration Day 2017. What led up to the November elections, and certainly what followed with the most bizarre and outrageous behavior we have seen from any person in the White House. It was pure lunacy on parade.

Martha Mitchell looks calm and well-balanced in comparison.

This past week we learned that Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported in a new book that Gen. Mark Milley reached out to China in the waning days of the Trump administration, attempting to reduce tensions by assuring China that no American attack was imminent, and asking that China not do anything without consulting the U.S. military leadership.

We know that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Milley that she worried about Trump’s access to the nuclear codes and that he was “crazy.”

To which Milley replied, “I agree with you on everything.”

For the past few days the Fox News crowd has created their own rhetorical storm, but it lacks substance and foundation. Trump was so troubling that our republic was potentially in danger. A majority of the nation understood that on Election Day. Milley knew it too, and aided the nation when it was required.

For that he is an American I am proud of for caring for the nation above all else. There are not many one can say the same about.

Trump supporters would do well to read some history on this larger issue. They need to understand that mature individuals will always come to the defense of the greater good of the nation, and they did in 1974.

Moreover, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger recalled years later that in the final days of the Nixon presidency he had issued an unprecedented set of orders: If the president gave any nuclear launch order, military commanders should check with either him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before executing them. Schlesinger feared that the president, who seemed depressed and was drinking heavily, might order Armageddon. Nixon himself had stoked official fears during a meeting with congressmen during which he reportedly said, “I can go in my office and pick up a telephone, and in 25 minutes, millions of people will be dead.” Senator Alan Cranston had phoned Schlesinger, warning about “the need for keeping a berserk president from plunging us into a holocaust.”

Elvis Presley And Politicians, And Jungle Room Music!

On August 16, 1977 Elvis died at Graceland.

To honor the greatest showman and entertainer I present photos, with Elvis and President Nixon, President Carter and Rosalyn, and from 1971 Elvis with Congressman George H.W. Bush.

It should be noted that each year it can be said, as it was in this quote from 2015…”Of all the millions of historical photographs held by the US National Archives, the photo (the formal posing of EP and RN ) is the single most requested. It was captured in the Oval Office on December 21, 1970, and shows Elvis Presley meeting then US President Richard Nixon.”

The music lives on, and it is best turned up high on the stereo! Over the many years…decades, actually…the Graceland Sessions have truly provided for me the professional range and diversity of Elvis from the 1970’s. In the recent past the raw recordings from the Jungle Room (at the mansion) with various takes, and banter of EP and the band was released. Truly awesome material.

Nixon Was A Piker Compared To Trump, Our Grandparents Would Agree

As we head to the August anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon comes a news story this morning showing how much more criminal and outlandish were the actions of Donald Trump following his 2020 election loss. While the 37th president had his own list of unconstitutional behavior, nothing compares to what we read about today about the 45th person to reside in the White House.

Trump pressed top Justice Department officials late last year to declare that the election was corrupt even though they had found no instances of widespread fraud, so that he and his allies in Congress could use the assertion to try to overturn the results, according to new documents provided to lawmakers and obtained by The New York Times.

The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27 in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the department had disproved. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation.

“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.

It goes without saying that that the least we should expect, and demand from any person who is elected president is that the leader has a basic regard for democracy. While there are sure to be policy differences with a wide segment of the nation the citizenry should never need to fear that a would-be dictator has taken over the White House.

I recall when watching the television news at times with my Grandma there would be comments made that Grandpa did not care for Nixon. I think about Herman and wonder, with all that he heard about Watergate, what he would have to say about what Trump has done to our politics. His world of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon Johnson would then find a very hard time squaring with the attempt made by Trump to steal a national election.

Why I place this current story into the context of sitting in the living room and watching the news on a larger console set is that my grandparents–and yours too–were not tempered with what I term normalization fatigue. What we have witnessed over the past five years has in some respects deadened our senses and reactions to the complete outrageousness of Trump’s action. In essence, today’s news of an attempted stolen election by the loser of the national balloting is not overly surprising.

The outrage and sincere anger from past generations will be greeted today with ‘that sounds like Trump’ and we move to the next story. The national news tonight will no doubt lead with COVID, wildfires, and Olympic coverage.

What is happening to our democracy, and the willingness to marginalize it among a troubling segment of the nation, are the type of events that our grandparents would have been not only watching, but demanding a resolution so as to never, ever happen again. They may not speak in the way I write, of Trump’s seditious attempts to cancel democracy, but they would know it in their bodies and minds.

Too many today have no regard for the foundations of our democracy, were never adequately taught in school about civics and so today will pick up their handheld device and think the latest news about the Green Bay Packers is what matters.

Grandpa knew better.

Tricia Nixon Cox And Edward Cox Celebrate Golden Wedding Anniversary at the Nixon Library

On Saturday, June 12, 2021, Patricia Nixon Cox and Edward Cox celebrated their Golden Anniversary at a Rose Garden Party at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library honoring frontline workers and first responders.

The Coxes —joined by their son, Christopher— met nearly 300 well-wishers from nearly 50 essential industries and charitable organizations and greeted the guests of honor near the gazebo under which they were married in the White House Rose Garden.

National Child Care System Needs To Pass Congress

Time seems to have stood still over the past 50 years, with the same type of advocates beseeching common sense, and the same conservative complaints being registered about the size and scope of government. Perhaps no issue best underscores that tug and pull in policy creation than the one regarding subsidized child care. The social cost of letting this policy languish for decades is obvious to see, especially after this pandemic.

President Biden is pushing forward with his idea for subsidized child care for low-and-middle-income families and if one were not aware of the years President Nixon was in office, you might think what is unfolding is new. As a Nixon history buff, I can assure you what Republicans are now doing is straight out of the 1971 playbook. That is a sad statement.

Pat Buchanan, a speechwriter, and advisor to Nixon, requested from the White House that he be given the green light to write not only the veto message to the then-named Child Development Act, (pushed by Senator Walter Mondale) but be given latitude to lacerate the entire bipartisan idea.

The goal of the legislation would have created a national network of subsidized child-care centers. Buchanan wanted to have room so to bolster and unite the right-wing who were nervous that Nixon was not conservative enough. Buchanan was given his license and the result was devastating. Partisan politics vs. sound public policy.

I use two examples from Buchanan’s book Nixon’s White House Wars (on my bookshelves) to make this point.

The same battle lines have been drawn again as Biden pushes for needed changes, as reflected in many surveys and polls around the nation. While some will argue about the role of government, I instead, as with many of these issues when it deals with children, view the positive impact upon their lives.

We are aware that many homes with children lack the types of intellectual stimulation that readies a child to be prepared for school and future learning. That is not a knock on any socio-economic group, but rather a general and true statement about many parents today.

Developing such programming would be money well spent so to have children getting the educational care they need now, as we well-know the cost of lost years when it comes to education. In addition, the programming allows for parents to work, and thereby create homes where a child can grow and be comforted in.

Over the past year, we all have witnessed how the pandemic underscored the role and importance of child care for working parents, particularly mothers. The other story that has bounded about in newspaper stories nationwide concerns the real lack of child care options in the private marketplace. Since the marketplace can not meet that social need, the government must be allowed to operate with that programming.

I have always felt blessed with the family life from which I came, which included being read to a lot, always having books about, and the stimulations of radio and newspapers in the home. I wish everyone could have such a start in life. But that can not be. It is, therefore, one reason I strongly support such policy goals for other children as pushed by Biden. Every child deserves to thrive with new ideas.

Biden’s Conversational Tone In National Address Reaches Out To Americans

Former President Gerald Ford came to mind Wednesday night as I watched President Joe Biden address a joint session of Congress. Following the tumultuous years of Watergate, and the continual stonewalling by President Richard Nixon, there was a sense in the nation that Ford was precisely the type of grounded adult who was best suited for the needs of the time.

After the self-created, and never-ceasing chaos of Donald Trump, there was also a need for change. The nation simply demanded reasoned and mature leadership be returned to the Oval Office. In a national address to a joint session of Congress Biden provided more evidence that he is delivering on his campaign promise to bring the nation back to a place where the shouting and bombast are replaced with listening and working.

There is no doubt that Biden has a full agenda ahead of him as he made clear in the televised speech. The $6.1 trillion worth of programming and investments that he is promoting is a most daunting task. But when the American Rescue Plan, the American Jobs Plan, and the American Family Plan are examined two things clearly emerge. First, they are, as polling demonstrates, what the nation supports. Secondly, the issues outlined in the plans reflect the needs that have too long existed but never found a resolution.

The nation knows that power grids are failing too often, bridges are crumbling, schools need updating, and the lives of ordinary Americans need to be lifted up and made better. From tackling pre-school kindergarten to get our youth better prepared to learn, provide an infusion of cash for Pell Grants which would allow two free years of technical school, bolster Black colleges, and provide a national paid family and medical leave program there is an energetic agenda waiting for action.

As Biden reminded voters, time and again during the campaign, the role of governing is about getting things done for the people.

None of these programs are wild-eyed or out of step in this nation, but rather building upon the foundations that have already been established. As with medical leave or repairing bridges the topics are not new, but only need a determined Congress to act on them.

Troubling for Republicans is the fact much of what has been proposed, be it the programs or the means to pay for them, has strong support from the nation. Placing a higher taxing requirement for the wealthy in the nation so to support society’s needs is not out of the mainstream. In fact, that sentiment is smack dab in the middle of the mindset of the voters.

Biden has a much better chance to prevail with large portions of his plans than his detractors realize due to the fact he finds himself in the Oval Office following his predecessor’s most bizarre term. A bombastic and ego-driven character has been replaced with a president who plans to govern. The citizenry is watching and wanting the trains to operate on time, for the congress to do more than just shout to their side of the aisle.

Biden’s personality and good reputation are why I thought of Ford while watching the address. Ford had a measured and folksy style when speaking and Biden used calm and conversational qualities as he spoke to the nation. We all gravitate towards men and women who are essentially good people who strive to do the work of government. As such Biden has more goodwill among the citizenry for action that is designed to benefit the nation as a whole. That is a major reason he will have a strong hand going forward with his agenda.

Stability and reason are again in control from the White House. That was well reflected as Biden addressed the nation. Those traits will serve him, and the nation well, as we move forward.

John Dean Recalled Gordon Liddy During UW-Madison Law School Speech

G Gordon Liddy in 1977 after his release from prison: he had served four years of a 20-year sentence for conspiracy, burglary and illegal wiretapping CREDIT: FRED R CONRAD/NYTNS/REDUX/EYEVINE

As a Richard Nixon history buff, I would be remiss if not commenting about the death of G. Gordon Liddy. It was, after all, his character, or lack thereof, which dealt one of the harshest blows to the Nixon White House. He masterminded dirty tricks and created the upside-down burglary in the Watergate complex. Others were also more than complicit in a series of crimes and attempts to undermine the law, but Liddy holds a special place for being ruthless. I have always questioned if he had a moral anchor. He seemed to relish in the wildly absurd, without a care about the institutions of the nation that were being damaged.

As my mind flashed back over the decades of Nixon, Watergate, and the newly departed I landed on a memory from 2013. John Dean—yes, that one–spoke at the UW-Madison Law School. I attended and was really pleased to have first-hand proximity to a central figure from a chapter of history that simply enthralls me. He was White House Counsel for President Richard Nixon from July 1970 until April 1973 and would be found guilty of a single felony of obstructing justice.

John Dean October 2013 at UW Madison Law School Credit: Gregory Humphrey

As John Dean started his presentation late that afternoon the lady introducing him had a typical-sized microphone that she was to hand over for his use.  Dean grinned, and said he had one attached to his jacket, and “my voice seems to be able to be picked up by small microphones.”

That set the tone for the time he was on stage. By being smart, agile with words, and comfortable in his own skin Dean held everyone’s attention.

Recounting Watergate to an audience that was largely older and informed made for some of the events in the mid-1970s seem almost a comedy routine.  If it all had not been so serious it might have made for a slap-stick movie.

Using a power-point style of presentation Dean showed a picture of the desk in the Watergate complex.  It was when he said this was the sight where the burglars were crouched while wearing suits and plastic gloves that made the audience break into laughter.  The fact they had large amounts of cash on them, and tell-tale signs that led them to people who worked in, or were connected with the White House, made it seem even more illogical.  No matter how many times the story is told it still seems utterly absurd.

No one could hold back, however, when Gordon Liddy was referred to by Dean as someone “not up to the Maxwell Smart test.”   

Dean concluded his remarks on a tougher and more biting topic. It was the fact that at least 21 lawyers were on the wrong side of the law in the Nixon Watergate mess that should be a prime lesson recalled about that entire episode. The reason for the high numbers of otherwise smart men being pulled so far astray, Dean noted, came down to incompetence, the arrogance of the law, and too much loyalty to President Nixon

Liddy was one of those lawyers.

I do wish to leave this post on a lighter note about Liddy. Wednesday morning on NPR someone quipped a person has to be over 60 to recall Liddy as the mastermind of the Watergate break-in, let alone that he held his hand over a flame. So the last memory from Liddy is that be made some of us feel old(er)!

Another Quarantine Cure Via Yorba Linda, California

As many of us continue to follow the professional medical advice to prevent the spread of COVID–and now the variants–I keep seeking out new ways to explore the world from home. If one has many curiosities about life this pandemic was certainly not a reason for boredom. While it may have created many consequences, producing boredom in our home is not one of them. James and I picked great quarantine partners and this type of ‘trip’ is proof of what can be enjoyed on the information highway.

Knowing that the pandemic would prevent access to tours of President Nixon’s white farmhouse birthplace, which needs noting is a National Historic Landmark and the Nixon Library’s crown jewel, has now turned into a 360-degree virtual online experience. Now you, too, can look into the Nixons’ living room and peek through the family’s kitchen.

We all must remain vigilant as we await the vaccinations.