Richard Nixon Foundation https://www.nixonfoundation.org Discover how Nixon's legacy continues to shape our world at the Nixon Library. Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:03:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nixon Alumni Dedicate New Museum https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/nixon-alumni-dedicate-new-museum/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/nixon-alumni-dedicate-new-museum/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 23:03:00 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28464 More than 50 Nixon administration officials and their families gathered at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California for a homecoming reunion and to formally dedicate the new museum. The dedication included the unveiling of the final piece of the new museum, a plaque that recognizes the leadership of the Nixon Centennial Legacy […]

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More than 50 Nixon administration officials and their families gathered at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California for a homecoming reunion and to formally dedicate the new museum.

The dedication included the unveiling of the final piece of the new museum, a plaque that recognizes the leadership of the Nixon Centennial Legacy Campaign and the management, design and construction partners of the project. The plaque was unveiled by Nixon Foundation Chairman Ron Walker, Nixon Foundation President and CEO William Baribault and Nixon Library Director Michael Ellzey.

In addition to the reunion and dedication, former officials and historians participated in two engaging panels on the Nixon legacy.

The first, The Final Comeback: Nixon in the Post-Presidency, featured Col. Jack Brennan, post presidential chief-of-staff (1975-1980); Frank Gannon, chief editorial assistant for RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon; and Ken Khachigian, chief researcher for RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon and the Nixon/Frost interviews.

The panel was moderated by Hugh Hewitt, the first executive director of Nixon Library and Foundation. The panel will air on C-SPAN American History TV on a later date.


The second panel, Nixon’s Grand Strategy: How the 37th President Shaped America’s Role in the World, featured Richard V. Allen, Nixon national security aide and Reagan national security advisor; Niall Ferguson, historian and Kissinger biographer; Winston Lord, Nixon national security aide and former ambassador to China and Luke Nichter, Nixon historian and expert on the White House tapes. The program was moderated by Gregory Daddis, director of Chapman University’s MA program on war and society.


View photos from the Nixon Alumni Reunion and Museum Dedication here:

 

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Panel: Richard Nixon: The Final Comeback https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/panel-richard-nixon-final/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/panel-richard-nixon-final/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:08:57 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28504 February 10, 2016: A forum that covers President Nixon’s post-presidential years from 1974-1980 including his comeback to public life; the Frost-Nixon interviews; the writing of his best-selling memoirs, “RN;” and his valued counsel to his White House successor, Ronald Reagan. Panelists include Col. Jack Brennan, Frank Gannon, Ken Khachigian, and moderator Hugh Hewitt.

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February 10, 2016: A forum that covers President Nixon’s post-presidential years from 1974-1980 including his comeback to public life; the Frost-Nixon interviews; the writing of his best-selling memoirs, “RN;” and his valued counsel to his White House successor, Ronald Reagan.

Panelists include Col. Jack Brennan, Frank Gannon, Ken Khachigian, and moderator Hugh Hewitt.

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Bret Baier Talks Ike at the Nixon Library https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/bret-baier-talks-ike/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/bret-baier-talks-ike/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:52:56 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28484 Bret Baier, Fox Channel News Chief Political Anchor and author of the best selling book Three Days in January: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Final Mission came to the Nixon Library to film his #1 Fox News show Special Report and host a lecture and book signing for more than 600 fans. In his lecture, he described […]

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Bret Baier, Fox Channel News Chief Political Anchor and author of the best selling book Three Days in January: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Final Mission came to the Nixon Library to film his #1 Fox News show Special Report and host a lecture and book signing for more than 600 fans.

In his lecture, he described how an invitation to play golf led to a three-and-a-half-year journey of extensive research and documentation about President Eisenhower’s final days in office. Baier defines a moment in history that has never been written about before. He unveils President Eisenhower’s thoughts and emotions during the period between his famous farewell address on January 17, 1961 and John F. Kennedy’s inauguration on January 20, 1961.

He emphasized how Eisenhower’s business leadership lessons and political advice still act as a vital example of political leadership for our own time.

He hopes to enlighten a new generation about Eisenhower, an often forgotten leader as he closes his lecture reading the inscription of the book, “to our sons and their generation please allow history to inform your decisions in the future.”

Watch Bret’s lecture below:

See photos from Bret’s day at the Nixon Library:

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Panel: Nixon’s Grand Strategy https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/nixons-grand-strategy/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/nixons-grand-strategy/#respond Mon, 20 Feb 2017 21:35:59 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28472 February 10, 2017: When a new President of the United States is inaugurated, what tools does he use and what strategies does he employ to accomplish his vision and policy goals for the country – and the world? A revealing presentation featuring senior White House national security officials, as well as noted Cold War historians, […]

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February 10, 2017: When a new President of the United States is inaugurated, what tools does he use and what strategies does he employ to accomplish his vision and policy goals for the country – and the world?

A revealing presentation featuring senior White House national security officials, as well as noted Cold War historians, sheds light on these crucial aspects of leadership and statecraft – and how they continue to impact every American today.

White House National Security aides and Cold War scholars discuss President Nixon’s statesmanship, and how he envisioned America’s role as world leader, and its relations with other great powers.

Topics include the evolution of RN’s thinking on foreign policy and governing philosophy, and how he ultimately dealt with the global challenges of the time — from the opening of China, and arms control and detente with the Soviet Union, to the end of the Vietnam War and establishing a road map for Middle East peace.

Panelists from left to right include Winston Lord, Richard V. Allen, Niall Ferguson, Luke Nichter, and moderator Gregory Daddis.

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New Online Exhibit for Black History Month https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/new-online-exhibit-launch-black-history-month/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/new-online-exhibit-launch-black-history-month/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:33:42 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28248 Black History in the “Age of Nixon” As our nation celebrates Black History Month, the Richard Nixon Foundation presents a NEW online exhibit: Black History in the “Age of Nixon.” Working with iconic civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. and E. Frederick Morrow, Richard Nixon was one of the most ardent of national leaders […]

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Black History in the “Age of Nixon”

As our nation celebrates Black History Month, the Richard Nixon Foundation presents a NEW online exhibit: Black History in the “Age of Nixon.”

Working with iconic civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr. and E. Frederick Morrow, Richard Nixon was one of the most ardent of national leaders to support civil rights in the 1950s. The efforts of the Eisenhower administration, led by Vice President Nixon, culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1957 – the first of its kind since 1875. Still more, as President, Nixon desegregated Southern schools; created the Office of Minority Business Enterprise and promoted minority hiring; and implemented the Philadelphia Plan.

CLICK HERE to explore the online exhibit

 

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Nixon and School Desegregation: Perspective from George Shultz https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/nixon-desegregation-george-shultz/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/02/nixon-desegregation-george-shultz/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 22:27:25 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28332 On January 9, 2003, the Richard Nixon Foundation awarded George Shultz with the Victory of Freedom Award, an award that honors outstanding leaders who have championed the cause of freedom and personify the 37th president’s principle of enlightened national interest in foreign and domestic policy. A perennial public servant, Shultz served first as the Secretary […]

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On January 9, 2003, the Richard Nixon Foundation awarded George Shultz with the Victory of Freedom Award, an award that honors outstanding leaders who have championed the cause of freedom and personify the 37th president’s principle of enlightened national interest in foreign and domestic policy. A perennial public servant, Shultz served first as the Secretary of Labor, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon. Later on, under the Reagan administration, Shultz become the the 60th U.S. Secretary of State.

Upon receiving the award, Shultz reminisced about his career in the Nixon administration and President Nixon’s leadership on three domestic issue with which he had personal involvement: the strike of the Longshoreman on the East and Gulf Coasts, the all-volunteer armed force, and perhaps most telling of President Nixon’s leadership, the desegregation of Southern schools. Here is the portion from Shultz’ acceptance speech in which he discusses President Nixon’s deft guidance on an issue that for 16 years before Nixon’s presidency had been painfully unresolved:

Now, let me turn to the subject of the desegregation of the schools in the south. The Brown versus Topeka Board of Education, the decision by the Supreme Court in 1954, had declared dual school systems to be unconstitutional and ordered change to proceed with all deliberate speed. Yet here we were a decade and a half later, and the dual school system was still the rule throughout most of the south. The Supreme Court had ruled against further delay once more in October, 1969. The whole subject was intentionally controversial. Argument was super-heated. Tension was mounting.

I don’t know if it’s possible, in your feeling, to take you back to those days and to realize how tense this was. In March 1970, President Nixon took his decision. He declared Brown versus Topeka Board of Education to be, and in his words, “Right in both constitutional and human terms,” and he expressed his intention to enforce the law. He also saw the importance of managing the traumatic process of transition. A cabinet committee was formed at his direction to work on the problem in a direct managerial way. Vice President Agnew was made the chairman, and I was then Secretary of Labor, was the vice-chairman. The challenge was to manage the transition to desegregated schools in the states most affected, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The vice president said he wanted no part of this effort and declined to participate in the committee’s deliberations. So I became the de facto chairman. I had strong help from presidential counselor Pat Moynihan, Special Counsel Leonard Garment, and Ed Morgan, a savvy former Advance Man for the President. We talked it all over carefully with the president, and with his support, we formed biracial committees in each of the seven states. The idea was to reach out to key leaders to persuade them to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. The president agreed that politics should have nothing to do with the selection of the members of these committees. We wanted people, black and white, who are strong and respected in their constituencies. Many were reluctant to serve. Reluctant to serve. The whites fearing to close an association with desegregation, the blacks’ concern that the committees might simply be a sham.

First group to come to Washington was from Mississippi, considered to be the most difficult state. We met in the Roosevelt Room in the White House, right opposite to President’s Oval Office. The discussion was civil, but deep division was evident. Deep division. A lot them argue and get them out of their systems, about two hours. Then a point came in the meeting after about two hours, and this repeated itself with all of the subsequent states when I thought it was time to shift gears. So I had a little prearrangement with John Mitchell, who was standing by and he came in to our room. He was known throughout the south as a tough guy, and then who was regarded, as the white says, their man.

I asked Mitchell, “As attorney general, what do you plan to do insofar as the schools were concerned?” “I am the attorney general, and I will enforce the law,” he growled in his gruff, pipe smoking way. He offered no judgment about whether this was good, bad, or indifferent. “I will enforce the law.” Then he left. No nonsense. So I said to the group, “The discussion we’ve had this morning has been intense and revealing. But as you can see, it’s not really relevant. The fact is, desegregation is going to happen. The only question for you as outstanding community leaders are, how will it work? Will there be violence? How will the education system in your community be affected? What will be the effect on your local economies? Or centrally? What can be done to make this transition work? You have a great stake in seeing that the effort is managed in a reasonable way whether you like it or not.”

When lunch time arrived, I took them over to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in the State Department. I pointed out the desk that’s there. You probably all seen it, designed by Thomas Jefferson, in which he wrote parts of the Declaration of Independence dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. I sat with two strong men that I wanted to be the co-chairman of the Mississippi committee. Warren Hood, he was president of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, and Dr. Gilbert Mason, a black physician, and head of the Biloxi chapter of the NAACP. I argued that if they would accept, the committee would have great credibility with blacks and whites. I can see they were beginning to talk constructively to each other. So I left them alone.

One observer questioned this tactic, and I said, “I learned long ago that when parties get this close to agreement, it is best to let them complete their deal by themselves. That way, the agreement belongs to them. It’s theirs, and they’ll try everything they can to make it work.” So as lunch ended, these two tough, respective leaders shook hands on their own deal. We were in business, in what was regarded as the most problematic state. After we returned to the White House, individuals started to make suggestions about how to handle this or that problem. We had developed a small kiddie [SP] out of some HEW flexible funds so I could say to the committee members that if they judged that funds were needed for minor expenditures, I could provide some money on a fast track basis. They liked that.

When the time was right, I let President Nixon know that we were ready for him. We walked across the hall into the Oval Office, where the President spoke to them with conviction, with emotion, with eloquence. Looking around the room, he said in essence, “Here we are in the Oval Office of the White House. Think of the decisions that have been made here, that have affected the health and security of our country. But remember, too, that we live in a great democracy where authority and responsibility are shared. Just as decisions are made here in this office, decisions are made throughout the states and communities of our country. You are leaders in those communities, and this is the time, and we all have to step up to our responsibilities. I have made my decision. I look to you to make yours. We have to work together for the right result.”

It was gripping. And they left the office, Oval Office, truly inspired by the President. I remember Pat Moynihan, he was blown away. He shook his head. We went through much the same process with representatives of five other states. We felt we were on a roll. The last state was Louisiana. The schools would soon open. Our meetings were going so well that I and the people working with me suggested to the president that we hold this final meeting in New Orleans. We would go to the South where the action would take place. I would do my part in the morning with the Louisiana delegation. He would fly down from Washington to do his part at the end of the morning meeting. Then in the afternoon, we would invite the co-chairman from each of the seven states to join the president for an overall discussion of the school openings.

I remember the meeting in the Oval Office to discuss these proposed events. Vice President Agnew strongly warned the president not to go. “There you will be in that room, Mr. President,” he said in effect, “Half the people there will be black, half will be white. Pictures will be taken. When the schools open, there will be blood running through the streets of the south, and if you go, this blood will be on your hands. This is not your issue. This is the issue of the liberals who have pushed for desegregation. Let them have it. Stay away.”

The president looked at me. I felt he’d already made his decision to go and he didn’t need any arguments from me, but I said what was obvious. “I can’t predict what will happen. The vice president may very well be right about violence, but you’re the president of the whole country. You’ve seen some very reasonable and strong people come up here. You’ve met with them and had a big impact on them. We should do everything we can to see that the schools open and operate peacefully and well.” The president decided to go ahead. And so on August 14th, 1970, he went to New Orleans.

I left the night before the president and started in the morning with the biracial Louisiana group. The going was tougher than with any other state. I had to reflect that it’s one thing to gather right across from the Oval Office, and it’s another thing to sit around a table in a hotel meeting room. President Nixon was due to arrive about noon, but as the time drew near, I had not reached the level of agreement that I wanted. “The President has just landed,” Secret Service tells me. “The President is 20 minutes out.” You know those things. “The President is 10 minutes out.”

We took a recess. I went out and met the president, Agnew’s views at the back of my mind. “Mr. President,” I told him, “I haven’t got the group quite where I usually have them. I’m afraid you’re gonna have to finish the job yourself.” The president came in. He listened. He talked. He emphasized the importance of having the schools open peacefully. “Remember,” he said, “If there are problems, the children are the ones who will suffer.” He raised their sights. He brought them all on board. Phew.

That afternoon, we had our meeting with the co-chairmen from the seven states. The meeting was highly publicized throughout the south. President Nixon talked eloquently about the importance of what was going to happen and the stake that everyone had in seeing it go smoothly. There were strong pledges of cooperation from whites and blacks alike, a sense of determination and a joint compelling enterprise filled the room. At the end of the meeting, President Nixon went before the television cameras with a co-chairman standing with him to drive his message home. “The highest court,” this is President Nixon speaking, “The highest court of the land has spoken. Unitary school system must replace the dual school system throughout the United States. If the widely predicted difficulties take place, those who will suffer will be primarily the next generation, the students, the children, and the school district involved. We believe all of us, in law, in order, in justice, we believe in enforcing the law. But I also believe that leadership in an instance like this requires some preventive action.

To me, one of the most encouraging experiences that I have had since taking office, was to hear each one of these leaders from the southern states speak honestly about the problems, not glossing over the fact that there are very grave problems, telling us what kind of…what was needed to be done from the federal standpoint, telling us also what they were doing at the local level. It was encouraging to me this kind of leadership, to see this line, kind of leadership come. Time will tell how successful we have been. But I do know this. As a result of this advisory committees being set up, we are going to find that in many instances, the transitions will be orderly and peaceful, whereas otherwise it could have been the other way. And the credit will go to these outstanding southern leaders.”

In the end, the school openings were peaceful, to the amazement of almost everyone. The leaders in their communities stood up to their responsibilities because the president stood up to his responsibilities. I was not the only one impressed. Senator-to-be Pat Moynihan, writing at the time, said, “The president declared that the unitary school system must replace the dual school system throughout the United States, and I shall meet that responsibility. Clearly, this is what has been needed since the Supreme Court first spoke, and now it has happened. The authority of the president and the full support of the federal government has been brought to bear.”

A “New York Times” columnist Tom Wicker wrote reflectively in 1991. He took the trouble to look into this. “There is no doubt about it, the Nixon administration accomplished more in 1970 to desegregate southern school systems than has been done in the 16 previous years or probably since. There’s no doubt either that it was Richard Nixon personally, who conceived, orchestrated, and led the administration’s desegregation effort, holding it uncertain before he finally asserted strong control. That effort resulted in probably the outstanding domestic achievement of his administration.” Well, here are three examples of President Nixon in action. Restore the health of the private, collective bargaining system, create a volunteer armed force, end the dual school system in the south. Not a bad day’s worth, Mr. President. Thank you.

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Nixon Administration Alumni to Formally Dedicate New Nixon Library and Museum https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/nixon-administration-alumni-formally-dedicate-new-nixon-library-museum/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/nixon-administration-alumni-formally-dedicate-new-nixon-library-museum/#respond Wed, 25 Jan 2017 22:18:20 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28224 More than 50 Nixon alumni will tour the new museum for the first time WHEN: Friday, February 10, 2017 WHERE: Richard Nixon Presidential LIbrary and Museum 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, CA 92886 Former Nixon administration officials will gather in Yorba Linda for a reunion and to formally dedicate the Nixon Library’s new museum. […]

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More than 50 Nixon alumni will tour the new museum for the first time

WHEN:
Friday, February 10, 2017

WHERE:
Richard Nixon Presidential LIbrary and Museum
18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, CA 92886

Former Nixon administration officials will gather in Yorba Linda for a reunion and to formally dedicate the Nixon Library’s new museum. Former aides will also participate in panels on Richard Nixon’s post-presidency and how Nixon envisioned America’s role as world leader.

9:30 AM – Media check-in open

10:00 AM – Dedication Ceremony
Plaque unveiled by President Nixon’s brother, Ed Nixon; Nixon Foundation Chairman Ron Walker; Nixon Foundation President William Baribault and Nixon Library Director Michael Ellzey.

Immediately after the ceremony, alumni will tour the recently renovated museum.

 

Panel discussions:

 

Panel: The Nixon Post-Presidency

Friday, February 10, Noon

Confidants and aides will discuss the active and far reaching legacy of Richard Nixon’s post-presidency. Topics will include RN’s comeback to the public spotlight, his work as a trusted counselor and strategic advisor to five of his presidential successors, the historic 1977 Frost/Nixon interviews, and the writing of his best selling memoirs.

Participants:

Jack Brennan
Marine Corps Military Aide to the President (1969-1973), and Richard Nixon’s post-presidential chief of staff (1974-1979). During the presidency, Col. Brennan accompanied RN on the historic trips to China and Russia. After President Nixon resigned, Brennan managed the staff in San Clemente, and served as a trusted counselor and confidant.

Frank Gannon
White House Fellow in the Nixon administration, special assistant to the president, and chief editor of President Nixon’s memoirs, “RN.” In 1983, Gannon conducted nearly 37 hours of video interviews with President Nixon which are available in the Nixon Presidential Library’s archives.

Ken Khachigian
Nixon campaign aide in the 1968 and 1972 elections, presidential speechwriter in the Nixon administration, and researcher on President Nixon’s memoirs, “RN.” He was the chief researcher for the 1977 Frost/Nixon Interviews, and went on to become chief speechwriter to President Reagan, and an influential advisor in state and national politics.

Hugh Hewitt, Moderator
Author, media personality, law professor, and attorney. Hewitt assisted in the research of two of President Nixon’s books, “Real War” and “Leaders.” He went on the become the founding executive director of the Nixon Foundation, and led the opening of the Nixon Library & Birthplace.

 

Panel: Nixon’s Grand Strategy – Open to the public

Friday, February 10 at 2:00pm

White House National Security aides and Cold War scholars will discuss President Nixon’s statesmanship, and how he envisioned America’s role as world leader, and its relations with other great powers. Topics will include the evolution of RN’s thinking on foreign policy and governing philosophy, and how he ultimately dealt with the global challenges of time — from the opening of China, and arms control and detente with the Soviet Union, to the end of the Vietnam War and the roadmap for Middle East peace.

Richard V. Allen
Head of the foreign affairs issues team during the 1968 Nixon campaign, and senior member of the National Security Council in the Nixon administration. In 1971, he became deputy of the newly created Council on International Economic Policy. He went on to serve as national security advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

Niall Ferguson
Senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He is the author of fourteen books including “Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist.” He is currently at work on his second volume of the acclaimed Kissinger biography.

Winston Lord
Special Assistant on the White House National Security Council, and accompanied President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger on the historic trips to China and Russia. He went on to serve as State Department director of policy planning under President Nixon, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, ambassador to the People’s Republic of China under President Ronald Reagan and assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Luke Nichter
Associate professor of history at Texas A&M University – Central Texas, and a noted expert on President Nixon’s 3,451 hours of White House tapes. He is a New York Times bestselling author/editor of six books, including Richard Nixon and Europe: The Reshaping of the Postwar Atlantic World and, with historian Douglas Brinkley, of the two volume The Nixon Tapes.

Gregory Daddis, Moderator
Associate professor of history, director of Chapman University’s MA Program in War and Society, and author. He joined the Chapman University History Department in the summer of 2015 after having served as the Chief of the American History Division in the Department of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point. A retired US Army colonel, he has served in both Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He specializes in the history of the Vietnam Wars and the Cold War era.

Public can RSVP for this panel here.

 

For coverage opportunities, contact:
Joe Lopez, joe@nixonfoundation.org, 714-364-1147

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Nixon’s Revolutionary Vision for American Governance https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/nixons-vision-for-american-governance/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/nixons-vision-for-american-governance/#respond Tue, 24 Jan 2017 20:51:16 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28212 Introduction President Nixon, though possessing the instincts and speaking the increasingly conservative language of the mainstream Republican Party all his life (his writings on domestic policy attest to this,) governed within the boundaries set by the New Deal. Where other conservatives like Barry Goldwater had no interest in “streamlining government,” “making it more efficient,” and […]

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Introduction

President Nixon, though possessing the instincts and speaking the increasingly conservative language of the mainstream Republican Party all his life (his writings on domestic policy attest to this,) governed within the boundaries set by the New Deal. Where other conservatives like Barry Goldwater had no interest in “streamlining government,” “making it more efficient,” and “promoting welfare,” Nixon sought to do exactly these things. He might be considered a “good-government conservative,” seeking, as did his mentor Eisenhower, to make the institutions of the New Deal state work more effectively and efficiently for the American people. At the time, liberal Democrats had no interest in reforming governance in this way, while more conservative Republicans offered no solutions but “starve-the-beast.” Nixon was pioneering a pragmatic middle ground.

If there was a single animating principle behind Nixon’s good-government reform efforts, it was this: lessen the power of the federal bureaucracy. There were various ways Nixon went about this, but this article will examine three. Nixon would empower the poor and those dependent on federal aid by replacing strings-attached welfare and social programs with no-strings-attached payments, believing poor people would be better at deciding how to spend their money than bureaucrats. Nixon would empower officials (and bureaucrats) at the state, city, and county levels by passing revenue sharing aid along to them. Finally, Nixon would oversee the smoother management of the federal government, by reorganizing the federal departments into departments based on broad purpose and function rather than on sector or constituency.

These initiatives-the Family Assistance Plan, General Revenue Sharing, and Executive Reorganization- made up a significant chunk of Nixon’s domestic policy, also known as the “New Federalism.” There were other aspects, including Keynesian full-employment spending, creation of new federal regulatory departments, and a push for universal healthcare. But the Family Assistance Plan, Revenue Sharing, and Executive Reorganization were the boldest in terms of reforming the New Deal and Great Society institutions for a new era, and incidentally, they all failed to gather sufficient popular support to be institutionalized in the long term. The Reagan Administration ended most Revenue Sharing plans in 1986, while the Family Assistance Plan and Executive Reorganization never passed in Congress (in the latter case, largely due to the distracting factor of Watergate.)

But these bold good-government reforms are worth revisiting today, if only to gain insight into the unique governing philosophy of President Nixon.

The Family Assistance Plan

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, head of Nixon’s Urban Affairs Council, strongly advocated for what he called the “income strategy-“ a resolution to fight poverty by boosting incomes and putting money in poor people’s pockets, rather than providing social services staffed by career bureaucrats. After much internal jockeying over such issues as the enforcement of work requirements and rates of support payments, the “Family Assistance Plan” became the administration’s keystone domestic policy initiative, the vital core of its New Federalism.

The Family Assistance Plan (FAP) was designed to largely replace the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) put in place by the New Deal and expanded under the Great Society. FAP’s logic was simple: poor families would have a better knowledge and understanding of how to help themselves if given welfare payments than would the social workers and bureaucrats whose programs those dollars might otherwise fund. There was also a strong work requirement and work incentive, distinguishing the plan from previous versions of welfare programs. As President Nixon said in his August 8, 1969 Address to the Nation on Domestic Programs,

… I, therefore, propose that we will abolish the present welfare system and that we adopt in its place a new family assistance system. Initially, this new system will cost more than welfare. But, unlike welfare, it is designed to correct the condition it deals with and, thus, to lessen the long-range burden and cost.…The new family assistance system I propose in its place rests essentially on these three principles: equality of treatment across the Nation, a work requirement, and a work incentive.

The FAP would have been the most significant reform in American social welfare policy since the 1930s and one of the most transformative domestic policies of the latter half of the 20th Century. It would have served the administration’s goal of weakening the bureaucracy by reducing the responsibilities of federal service agencies, opting instead for a cash handouts approach that incentivized job attainment.

Ultimately, due to lengthy conflicts over the substance of welfare reform between the Moynihan and Burns camps, the administration never put forth a bulletproof proposal to Congress, and Congressional conservatives and liberals united to defeat what they respectively regarded as too generous and too stingy a proposal.

Revenue Sharing

If the purpose of the Family Assistance Plan was to remove the bureaucratic middleman from welfare policy, then the point of Revenue Sharing was to remove the bureaucratic middleman from many other aspects of federal policy, particularly social services. Revenue Sharing in its various forms- General Revenue Sharing, which did not have any strings attached, and Special Revenue Sharing, which was directed at specific sectors but still had few strings attached- was conceived in the spirit of decentralizing policymaking power to states, counties, and municipalities. As President Nixon said in his February 4, 1971 Special Message to Congress proposing General Revenue Sharing,

There is too much to be done in America today for the Federal Government to try to do it all. When we divide up decision-making, then each decision can be made at the place where it has the best chance of being decided in the best way. When we give more people the power to decide, then each decision will receive greater time and attention. This also means that Federal officials will have a greater opportunity to focus on those matters which ought to be handled at the Federal level.

Strengthening the States and localities will make our system more diversified and more flexible. Once again these units will be able to serve–as they so often did in the 19th century and during the Progressive Era–as laboratories for modern government. Here ideas can be tested more easily than they can on a national scale. Here the results can be assessed, the failures repaired, the successes proven and publicized. Revitalized State and local governments will be able to tap a variety of energies and express a variety of values. Learning from one another and even competing with one another, they will help us develop better ways of governing.

The ability of every individual to feel a sense of participation in government will also increase as State and local power increases. As more decisions are made at the scene of the action, more of our citizens can have a piece of the action. As we multiply the centers of effective power in this country, we will also multiply the opportunity for every individual to make his own mark on the events of his time.

Finally, let us remember this central point: the purpose of revenue sharing is not to prevent action but rather to promote action. It is not a means of fighting power but a means of focusing power. Our ultimate goal must always be to locate power at that place–public or private-Federal or local–where it can be used most responsibly and most responsively, with the greatest efficiency and with the greatest effectiveness.

Integral to the Revenue Sharing programs, and indeed to the New Federalism as a whole, was the urge to, as Richard P. Nathan put it, “sort out and rearrange responsibilities among the various types and levels of government in American federalism.” With the complex ecosystem of American federalism approaching incomprehensibility, Nixon’s administration sought to rationalize it somewhat by decentralizing some functions and centralizing others. Nathan argues that inherently trans-regional issues, such as air and water quality or basic minimum welfare standards, were best managed at the federal level, as were basic income transfer payments. Meanwhile, more complex and regionally variant issues, such as social services and healthcare and education, might be better dealt with locally.

Many of the functions of powerful federal departments would thereby increasingly be taken up by states and cities, which would now have the federal funding to manage things they once could not. In this way, Nixon weakened the federal bureaucracy by empowering political entities far away from the national bureaucracy’s central core in Washington.

Revenue Sharing of all sorts was broadly popular across party lines, but was terminated by the middle of the Reagan Administration.

Executive Reorganization

The third significant aspect of President Nixon’s domestic agenda was the wholesale reorganization of the Executive Branch’s departments. The twelve departments existing at the time of Nixon’s presidency had all been born out of necessity over the first two centuries of American history, and typically corresponded to particular economic or infrastructural sectors (for example, the Department of Agriculture.) New agencies proliferated within the departments, and often times different departments would pass conflicting regulations on the same subjects, making a tangled environment for citizens navigating through the mess.

The solution developed by the President’s Advisory Council on Executive Organization (PACEO) was to completely reorganize the Executive Branch based on function rather than constituency. The Departments of Defense, State, Treasury, and Justice would remain largely as they were; the remaining departments would be reorganized into a Department of Human Resources, a Department of Natural Resources, a Department of Community Development, and a Department of Economic Development. As President Nixon said in his March 21, 1971 Special Message to Congress on Executive Reorganization,

We must rebuild the executive branch according to a new understanding of how government can best be organized to perform effectively.

The key to that new understanding is the concept that the executive branch of the government should be organized around basic goals. Instead of grouping activities by narrow subjects or by limited constituencies, we should organize them around the great purposes of government in modern society. For only when a department is set up to achieve a given set of purposes, can we effectively hold that department accountable for achieving them. Only when the responsibility for realizing basic objectives is clearly focused in a specific governmental unit, can we reasonably hope that those objectives will be realized.

When government is organized by goals, then we can fairly expect that it will pay more attention to results and less attention to procedures. Then the success of government will at last be clearly linked to the things that happen in society rather than the things that happen in government.

Rather than being a conscious component of the New Federalism, the Executive Reorganization is more rightly thought of as a part of what Richard P. Nathan calls the “Administrative Presidency-“ Nixon’s attempts after 1972 to bring the federal bureaucracy much more directly under his personal control, through reorganizing the Executive Branch and through appointing personal loyalists to Cabinet positions and other spots. This, of course, would have lessened the influence of career bureaucrats and directly increased the President’s power over policy implementation.

The Executive Reorganization failed largely due to the Watergate scandal.

Conclusion

It’s very likely that much of Nixon’s plan to weaken the federal bureaucracy and fundamentally reform the federal government was driven by his own distrust of the “Establishment.” That does not, however, detract from the very real fact that the U.S. federal government of 1968, after almost three-and-a-half decades of near-continuous expansion, was cumbersome, overbearing, and inefficient at fulfilling the tasks assigned it by the American people. Much of this dysfunction, it could be argued, lay in the fact that the federal bureaucracy was becoming an interest group committed to its own perpetuation and loathe to undergo reforms imposed from the outside.

Nixon’s plans to lessen the federal bureaucracy’s authority, responsibility, and power, whatever their fundamental motive, bore much potential to transform the federal government from a hulking behemoth into a sleeker, more responsive, and fundamentally more effective machine attuned to the needs of the last few decades of the 20th Century. Had the Family Assistance Plan, Revenue Sharing and policy decentralization, and the Executive Reorganization passed, the apparatus of the federal government might well look different today. Agencies and departments would be more goal-oriented than constituency-oriented; many federal services would be outsourced to newly-vibrant state and local governing entities; the welfare system would be entirely transformed into a payments system rather than a services system.

President Nixon’s legacy as a good-government reformer ought to be examined more closely, both for its own sake, and for the sake of better informing government reform efforts in the 21st Century. There is potentially much we could learn from many of Nixon’s initiatives.

Primary and Secondary Source Bibliography:

“The Plot That Failed: Nixon and the Administrative Presidency,” Richard P. Nathan, 1975

“Richard M. Nixon: Politician, President, Administrator,” Leon Friedman and William F. Levantrosser, 1991

“Address to the Nation on Domestic Programs,” Richard Nixon, August 8th 1969

“Special Message to Congress Proposing General Revenue Sharing,” Richard Nixon, February 4th 1971

“Special Message to Congress on Executive Reorganization,” Richard Nixon, March 21st, 1971

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Watch the Inauguration at the Nixon Library https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/watch-inauguration-nixon-library/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/watch-inauguration-nixon-library/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:37:28 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28174 PLUS: Pat Nixon’s Inauguration Day coat goes on display for the first time. Friday, January 20 — Doors open at 8:00 a.m. PST Witness the swearing in of America’s 45th President at the presidential library of the 37th President. The Nixon Library will live stream the Inaugural swearing in ceremony and parade via C-SPAN beginning […]

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PLUS: Pat Nixon’s Inauguration Day coat goes on display for the first time.

Friday, January 20 — Doors open at 8:00 a.m. PST

Witness the swearing in of America’s 45th President at the presidential library of the 37th President.

The Nixon Library will live stream the Inaugural swearing in ceremony and parade via C-SPAN beginning at 8:00 a.m. PST on Friday, January 20th. The public is invited to watch the C-SPAN stream free of charge in the Library’s 300-seat Theater 37. Guests will also enjoy 2-for-1 admission to the museum all day.

Additionally, the Nixon Library will display – for the first time – the 1969 Inauguration Day coats worn by First Lady Pat Nixon, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower.

A collection of Inauguration Day artifacts will also be on display, including Inaugural invitations, press passes and ceremony tickets from FDR to Obama.

Doors open at 8:00 a.m.

The live broadcast at the Nixon Library will air until 5:00 p.m.

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Conrad Black: Bogus Vietnam Charges Against Nixon https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/conrad-black-bogus-vietnam-charges-against-nixon/ https://www.nixonfoundation.org/2017/01/conrad-black-bogus-vietnam-charges-against-nixon/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 01:04:19 +0000 https://www.nixonfoundation.org/?p=28162 From National Review Online   Conrad Black: Bogus Charges Against Nixon Like Japanese veterans of World War II stumbling, emaciated, out of the jungles of Guam and the Philippines many years after the end of the war, near-terminal victims of Watergate fever still wander dazedly into the media with some new angle on the moldering, […]

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From National Review Online

 

Conrad Black: Bogus Charges Against Nixon

Like Japanese veterans of World War II stumbling, emaciated, out of the jungles of Guam and the Philippines many years after the end of the war, near-terminal victims of Watergate fever still wander dazedly into the media with some new angle on the moldering, feculent myth that something useful was actually achieved in the bloodless assassination of Richard Nixon in the Watergate inanity. Nixon salvaged the Vietnam War the Democrats had pushed their own leader, Lyndon Johnson, into; the Democrats gave up on LBJ and pushed him out of the Forum, and he waited to die peacefully on his farm. They instantly made it Nixon’s war, and went to unimaginable lengths to depose him, to sever aid to South Vietnam, deliver Indochina to Hanoi and the Khmer Rouge, and to bring back the aging best and brightest with that most unlikely paladin, Jimmy Carter, fiddling with the thermostat in his cardigan and grumbling of the “malaise.”

Nixon saw what Johnson, too shell-shocked by the desertion of his entourage and by his inept commander’s call for 200,000 more draftees, did not: that the Americans and Vietnamese non-Communists won the Tet offensive of January 1968; it was a great victory. Nixon also saw that Ho Chi Minh, by denying Johnson’s offer in 1966 of withdrawal of all non-indigenous forces from South Vietnam, had shown that he would not be satisfied with the conquest of South Vietnam, but rather foresaw the defeat of the United States and the decisive role for himself in the ultimate triumph of Communism over the West. (Otherwise, he would merely have withdrawn and returned in overwhelming force in six months, and the U.S. would not have come back again.)

Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger saw that South Vietnam could defeat the Viet Cong if it were powerfully enough assisted by American air power against the North Vietnamese. In April 1972, between Nixon’s historic visits to China and to the Soviet Union, the North Vietnamese made their supreme play and launched an all-out invasion of South Vietnam. There were only 28,000 U.S. ground forces in-country, and they were used entirely to defend air bases. But Nixon finally put an end to Johnson’s insane bombing halt of March 1968 and launched 1,000 air strikes a day on North Vietnam, moving up to 1,200 a day during his visit to the Soviet Union, so there could be no doubt about his seriousness. The North Vietnamese failed, decisively defeated by the South Vietnamese, assisted by heavy American air support — which it was always Nixon’s intention to reapply when the North Vietnamese violated the Vietnam peace agreement of 1973, which the Soviets and Chinese twisted their arms to sign, so cunningly had Nixon and Kissinger triangulated that relationship. This was why Nixon submitted the peace agreement as a treaty to the Senate: to secure Senate approval of its enforceability.

Of course, when the Watergate opportunity arose, the Democrats went cock-a-hoop for the chance to destroy the administration and deliver South Vietnam back to the brave Communist freedom fighters in the “Vietnamese civil war.” Nixon was torn down, his administration was torn to pieces, and all aid was cut off to South Vietnam. There has never been any evidence that Nixon knew anything about the Watergate break-in, and although there was a criminal conspiracy within part of the White House staff and the Republican National Committee to frustrate the investigation, there was never any serious evidence that Nixon had anything to do with it. All constitutional guaranties against wrongful self-incrimination were thrown to the partisan gale-force winds by compelling the testimony of Nixon’s White House counsel, John Dean, at congressional hearings, with a sweetheart promise from the prosecutor and an immunity to a charge of perjury, and the compelled production of the president’s own telephone calls and conversations from and in his office. Almost all of the tapes were completely innocuous, including the so-called smoking gun. Gradually, the feebleness of the case against Nixon has emerged, as cant and emotionalism have subsided, inculpatory evidence has failed to arise, and the squalor of Deep Throat has come to light (including the effort to ignore Nixon’s attempt to help him from prosecution by Carter, although he suspected his identity). The echoes of Watergate anniversaries are squeaked out, ever more implausibly, like James Joyce’s famous description of the young writer’s confession: “sluggish and filthy.”

Just when my hopes were rising, like the green shoots of early spring, that the Nixon-demonizers had no more vitriol to propel with sinew-lean arms and quavering voice, that the much-punctured Woodstein inner tube had no more lies within, that decades of self-directed champagne toasts from firehoses had worn them down, the Woodstein Monster twitched: “It’s alive!” Barely. Peter Baker of the New York Times wandered blearily into the harsh winter light to give the 1968 Paris Peace Talks myth one more groaning turn of the wheel: to assert that Nixon told the South Vietnamese government to sandbag Johnson’s campaign-end launch of the peace conference.

Click here to read the full article at National Review Online.

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