About This Blog

I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:

· To post questions or comments;

· To follow up on class discussions;

· To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

Syllabus: https://gov124.blogspot.com/2021/01/cases-in-american-political-leadership.html

Statement on viewpoint diversity: https://heterodoxacademy.org/teaching-heterodoxy-syllabus-language/

Thursday, May 6, 2021


 Enter Clinton at 43:00


See, esp. 1:30

The citation on p. 212 of Schoen

Bush 43, second inaugural:" So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Triangulation v. Base Politics

Polarization 1994-2017


Roger Stone at The Spectator:

It’s well known that I have a tattoo of Nixon on my back. It’s not a political statement, but a daily reminder that in life, when you get knocked down, when you strive for something and you fail, when you are disappointed and discouraged, you have an obligation to get up off the canvas and get back in the fight. It’s about resilience and persistence.

‘Until one has been in the deepest valley, one cannot appreciate the majesty of the highest mountain top,’ Nixon said. ‘A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is only finished when he quits.’

After my release on bail, I flashed Nixon’s famous ‘V for Victory’ sign on the courtroom steps. Two years of fake news reports that I would be charged with Russian collusion, conspiracy and treason have neither destroyed my spirit, nor my resolve to fight for exoneration. Like Nixon, I am not a quitter. This November, I will fight for total exoneration in my trial. I am not guilty, and I intend to prove it.

A jury found him guilty.

Trump pardoned him. 

Nixon Goes to China
Vinita Gupta and former Sen. Tom Daschle at NBC:
It is both the tragedy and irony of contemporary American politics that former President Barack Obama is impugned as a radical leftistfor reprising, in more moderate tones, the legislative health care legacy of a fiscal conservative, President Richard Nixon.

  • From In the Arena: "Politics is battle, and the best way to fire up your troops is to rally them against a visible opponent on the other side of the field.  If a loyal supporter will fight hard for you, he will fight twice as hard against your enemies.”
  • From the farewell to the WH staff:  "Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself."

Psalm 146:3-4

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.

Cautionary tales.  Life does not come with a soundtrack

Nixon, Major League Baseball, and the ‘72 Campaign


Pinstripe Alley, a blog providing news coverage of the New York Yankees, recently published an article highlighting Richard Nixon’s connection with MLB stars and the role they played in his re-election campaign in 1972.

In the summer of ‘72 a reporter questioned the President about his favorite MLB players. Despite being an Orange County native, Nixon named New York Yankee legends Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle, who was an avid outspoken Nixon supporter, among his favorites.

In October of ‘72 the Nixon campaign received word from former MLB stars Bobby Thomson, who wanted to endorse Nixon. Thomson had cemented his name in baseball lore when he hit the famed “Shot Heard ‘Round the World'' to win the National League Pennant and send the New York Giants to the World Series in 1951. At the same time former MLB pitcher Ralph Branca also told the White House of his intention to endorse the President. Incidentally, Branca was pitching for the Brooklyn Dodgers when Thomson hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

While these endorsement offers may have seemed silly to some, the White House fully embraced them. An internal Nixon administration memo expressed excitement about the endorsements of Thomson and Branca. It also made note of the public support of Yankees legend Babe Ruth’s widow Claire. The memo even recommended that the campaign reach out to the widow of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig; though no contact was made.

While these events likely played little to no role in Nixon’s landslide victory in the 1972 campaign, they remain interesting nonetheless.

** The information contained in this blog post was first published by Kevin Winterhalt of Pinstripe Alley (Richard Nixon leans on Yankees legends to help his re-election campaign. - Pinstripe Alley)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021



Nixon and his Successors

Image result for nixon presidents funeral stie:.gov

Chance, circumstance, and careers:

Ford:  "There's a change that's come over America..."

A speech that Carter probably wishes that he had never made:

Hard to picture Nixon giving this speech:

"So what did you think of him?" I asked Richard Nixon after his first meeting with Bill Clinton.
"You know," Mr. Nixon replied, "he came from dirt and I came from dirt. He lost a gubernatorial race and came back to win the Presidency, and I lost a gubernatorial race and came back to win the Presidency. He overcame a scandal in his first campaign for national office and I overcame a scandal in my first national campaign. We both just gutted it out. He was an outsider from the South and I was an outsider from the West."
 He thought the Whitewater affair could pose serious problems. When I pointed out that the poll numbers reflected no damage to Mr. Clinton's popularity, Mr. Nixon observed that Watergate had not hurt him either, until the televised Senate hearings. "The American people don't believe anything's real until they see it on television," he said. "When Whitewater hearings are televised, it will be Clinton's turn in the bucket."

Enter Clinton at 43:00


See, esp. 1:30

The citation on p. 212 of Schoen

Bush 43, second inaugural:" So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Triangulation v. Base Politics

Polarization 1994-2017


Sunday, May 2, 2021

"When Nixon Taped Joe Biden"

The sinister name of the article "When Nixon Taped Joe Biden" deceives readers. The article also links a tweet containing Nixon's 1987 note to Donald Trump.  I've noticed that parallels between Nixon and Trump dominate the media, and even when journalists associate Nixon with other presidents (Biden, here), those journalists still manage to reinforce the Nixon-Trump parallel. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Ford, the Pardon, and RN's Last Campaign

For next Tuesday, Schoen, ch. 7-8, and afterword.

Thursday class next week will be brief.

Ford coins a phrase.

Footnote #1091 of the Mueller report (p. 178):
A possible remedy through impeachment for abuses of power would not substitute for potential criminal liability after a President leaves office. Impeachment would remove a President from office, but would not address the underlying culpability of the conduct or serve the usual purposes of the criminal law. Indeed, the Impeachment Judgment Clause recognizes that criminal law plays an independent role in addressing an official's conduct, distinct from the political remedy of impeachment. See U.S. CONST. ART.l, § 3, cl. 7. Impeachment is also a drastic and rarely invoked remedy, and Congress is not restricted to relying only on impeachment, rather than making criminal law applicable to a former President, as OLC has recognized. A Sitting President's Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution, 24 Op. O.L.C. at 255 ("Recognizing an immunity from prosecution for a sitting President would not preclude such prosecution once the President 's term is over or he is otherwise removed from office by resignation or impeachment.").

Ford pardons Nixon.  The proclamation:
I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.
Ford takes the extraordinary step of testifying:

The people disapprove

Fast forward to 2001:  Ford receives the JFK Profile in Courage Award for the pardon.  He says:
President Kennedy understood that courage is not something to be gauged in a poll or located in a focus group. No advisor can spin it. No historian can backdate it. For, in the age-old contest between popularity and principle, only those willing to lose for their convictions are deserving of posterity's approval.
Ted Kennedy(!!) says:
I was one of those who spoke out against his action then. But time has a way of clarifying past events, and now we see that President Ford was right. His courage and dedication to our country made it possible for us to begin the process of healing and put the tragedy of Watergate behind us. He eminently deserves this award, and we are proud of his achievement.
After the pardon,  phlebitis nearly killed RN, then it nearly bankrupted him.

 The 1974 election and the recession of 1973-1975

Nixon Goes to China (again) in 1976.  (Schoen 304)

Frost/Nixon (see Schoen 305-307)

RN  -- the book -- was ... controversial (Schoen 307-308)

From Leaders (1982):
At first glance, it may seem surprising that so many of the great leader during this period were so old. And yet on reflection it is not surprising. Many had a "wilderness" period. The insights and wisdom they gained during that period, and the strength they developed in fighting back from it, were key elements in the greatness they demonstrated later.
Newsweek 1986 (Schoen 315)

Meet the Press in 1988

1988:  Work starts on the Nixon Library  Two years later, it opens -- amid controversy, of course.

Nixon advises Bush 41 on the Gulf War

Nixon returns (by video) to a GOP convention:

But the campaign was not entirely successful:

Retrospective Job Approval Ratings of Last 10 U.S. Presidents

Tuesday, April 27, 2021





Nixon Checks Out

February 6, 1974 House of Representatives authorizes House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether grounds exist for the impeachment of President Nixon.

February 22, 1974:  The House Judiciary Committee issues a report on constitutional grounds for impeachment.  One of the writers of the report is Hillary Rodham.

March 1, 1974:  The Watergate Road Map -- “Grand Jury Report and Recommendation Concerning Transmission of Evidence to the House of Representatives” -- goes to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia under seal. Chief Judge John Sirica then provides it to the House Judiciary Committee.  It does not become public until October 11, 2018.

April 16, 1974 Special Prosecutor issues subpoena for 64 White House tapes.

April 30, 1974 President Nixon submits tape transcripts to House Judiciary Committee.

July 24, 1974 Supreme Court unanimously upholds Special Prosecutor's subpoena for tapes for Watergate trial.

July 27, 1974 House Judiciary Committee adopts article I of impeachment resolution charging President with obstruction of investigation of Watergate break‑in.

July 29, 1974 House Judiciary Committee adopts article II of impeachment resolution charging President with misuse of powers and violation of his oath of office.

July 30, 1974 House Judiciary Committee adopts article III of impeachment resolution, charging the President with failure to comply with House subpoenas.

Garrett Graff in Politico:
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.”
August 5, 1974:  Rep. Charles Wiggins (R-CA), Nixon's ablest defender on the House Judiciary Committee, says that the smoking gun tape has convinced him to support impeachment.

August 6, 1974: At the regular Senate Republican Conference lunch, Goldwater says: "There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House -- today!"

August 7, 1974, Goldwater goes to the White House with House GOP Leader John Rhodes and Senate GOP Leader Hugh Scott. (Start around 4:00)

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August 9, 1974 President Richard Nixon resigns.

The farewell:  watch from 11:00 to 9:30

September 8, 1974 President Gerald Ford pardons former President Nixon.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Watergate and the Fall, Part II

FOR NEXT TUESDAY:  Hoff, conclusion, Matthews epilogue, Schoen ch. 9.


Theories about the Break-in (Hoff ch. 10) -- including a lurid theory about John Dean.

Antisemitism and Mark Felt (Hoff, p. 321)

The role of the Kennedy family

October 1973 Yom Kippur War  Airlift and Defcon 3

October 12, 1973:  Nixon announces his intention to nominate Gerald Ford as vice president.

October 19, 1973 President Nixon offers Stennis a compromise on the tapes; that is, Senator John Stennis (D‑Miss.) would review tapes and present the Special Prosecutor with summaries.

October 20, 1973 Archibald Cox refuses to accept the Stennis compromise. President Nixon orders Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox, but Richardson refuses and resigns in protest. Acting Attorney GeneralRobert Bork fires Cox. These events come to be known as the "SaturdayNight Massacre."  And once againeverything circles back to the Cold War:
Mr. Richardson recalls that the first thing Mr. Nixon said when he entered the Oval Office to resign was a reference to Leonid I. Brezhnev, the Soviet leader.
“Brezhnev would never understand it if I let Cox defy my instructions,” the President declared.
“I'm sorry that you insist on putting your personal commitments ahead of the public interest,” he quoted Mr. Nixon as saying.

October 26, 1973 press conference

November 1, 1973 Leon Jaworski named Special Prosecutor.

November 17, 1973  Nixon speaks to AP managing editors

November 21, 1973 Senate Committee announces discovery of 18 1/2 minute gap on tape of Nixon‑Haldeman conversation of June 20,1972.

Final Days (more on Tuesday)