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/

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Nixon Foreign Policy Background

For Thursday, Hoff, ch. 6.

Be ready to start presenting (5-min) next week.

 "Nixon had promised as a presidential candidate in 1968 that he had a secret plan to end the war" (Schoen, p. 59).  


Nixon and Foreign Policy

In Foreign Affairs (Schoen 67; reread Matthews 256-257), Nixon deliberately sends a signal to Beijing:
Taking the long view, we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates and threaten its neighbors. There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation. But we could go disastrously wrong if, in pursuing this long- range goal, we failed in the short range to read the lessons of history.
Nixon (From In The Arena):

  • "In competing with Moscow, we will at times find it necessary to cooperate with allies and friends who do not live up to our democratic standards."
  • "Geopolitically, we should base our policies toward a country primarily on what its government does outside, not inside its borders."


Secrecy and the Pentagon Papers

Richard Nixon remembers the Pentagon Papers from UVA's Miller Center on Vimeo.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Nixon Foreign Policy I

What was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?  (It included Russia, but the two things were not the same.)  The rise and fall of the Soviet Empire:

Scary Nikita:



 Secrecy and the Pentagon Papers

Richard Nixon remembers the Pentagon Papers from UVA's Miller Center on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Nixon Domestic Policy: Poverty, Health, Inflation

Tuesday: Schoen ch. 2, Hoff ch. 5

Progress Against Poverty Stalled as the War on Poverty Started

Backstory:  The 1965 Moynihan Report

The Welfare Shift

For Fiscal 2019

  • Defense:  15.4%
  • Human Resources: 70.4%
Coda: Nonmarital births

Gary L. Freed, Anup Das, "Nixon or Obama: Who Is the Real Radical Liberal on Health Care?" Pediatrics 136 (August 2015)

Nixon National Health Strategy 19714ACA 20103,6
National Health Insurance PartnershipEmployer-Shared Responsibility
(1) Require employers to provide basic health insurance coverage for their employees, with the minimum requirement being to pay for hospital services, inpatient and outpatient physician services, full maternity care, well-infant care, immunizations, laboratory services, certain other medical expenses, and minimum of $50 000 in catastrophic coverage(1) Employers with at least 50 full-time employees must offer health coverage that is affordable and provides a minimum level of benefits to at least 95% of their employees and dependents. None of their employees can receive a premium tax credit to help pay for coverage on a marketplace; if so, the employer must make a shared responsibility payment
(2) The costs for this would be shared by employers and employees, with a 35% ceiling on employee contribution for the first 2.5 years, and 25% after that(2) Affordable coverage is defined as ≤9.5% of an employee’s annual household income
(3) Keep the range within which benefits can vary narrower than it has been, so competition between insurance companies will be more likely to compete on overall price of contracts(3) A plan provides the minimum level of coverage if it covers at least 60% of the total allowed cost of benefits
(4) Small employers are exempt from the coverage requirement and allow them to purchase insurance through the small business health options program
(4) Require the establishment of special insurance pools in each state that would offer insurance at reasonable group rates to people who did not qualify for other programs: the self-employed or poor-risk individuals
(5) Small employers with up to 25 employees and average annual wages less than $50 000 are eligible to receive a tax credit
MedicaidMedicaid Expansion
(1) Implement the Family Health Insurance Plan to meet the needs of poor families by eliminating the part of Medicaid that covers most welfare families. In its place, develop a new insurance plan that is fully financed and administered by the federal government. This federal health insurance plan would provide insurance to all poor families with children headed by self-employed or unemployed persons whose income is below a certain level. As family income increases, the cost-sharing would increase through a graduated schedule of premium charges, deductibles, and coinsurance payments(1) Provide funding to states to expand their Medicaid programs to cover non–Medicare-eligible individuals younger than 65 with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty line
(2) Guarantee all newly eligible individuals a benchmark insurance package that includes the minimum benefits for plans in the marketplace
(3) Finance the coverage for the newly eligible with federal dollars until 2016, and then gradually decrease the federal contribution to 90% by 2020
(4) Increase Medicaid payments in fee for service and managed care for primary care services to 100% of Medicare payment rates
Nixon Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan 19745
Employee Health Insurance
(1) Require all employers to offer all full-time employees health insurance, with employee contribution at 35% for 3 years, and then 25% subsequently
(2) Use federal subsidies to ease initial burden on employers
(3) Specific deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket limits under this insurance plan
Assisted Health Insurance
(1) Replace state-run Medicaid by implementing a federally administered insurance plan to cover anyone not offered coverage under the Employee Health Insurance or Medicare
(2) Individuals could also get this if they cannot get coverage at reasonable rates from other options

US inflation rate

Wage-Price Controls (Schoen 45-47):  A Rare Admission of Error
What did America reap from its brief fling with economic controls?  The August 15, 1971 decision to impose them was politically necessary and immensely popular in the short run.  But in the long run I believe that it was wrong.  The piper must always be paid, and there was an unquestionably high price for tampering with the orthodox economic mechanisms.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Nixon Policy: Race and Civil Rights

 Nixon and the Supreme Court (Schoen 33-36):

William H. RehnquistHarlanOct 22, 197168-26  No.  450CDec 10, 1971
Lewis F. Powell, Jr.BlackOct 22, 197189-1  No.  439CDec 6, 1971
Harry BlackmunFortasApr 15, 197094-0  No.  143CMay 12, 1970
G. Harrold CarswellFortasJan 19, 197045-51  No.  122RApr 8, 1970
Clement Haynsworth, Jr.FortasAug 21, 196945-55  No.  154RNov 21, 1969
Warren Burger3WarrenMay 23, 196974-3  No.  35CJun 9, 1969

In 1971 a corporate lawyer writes a memo to his friend, the head of the US Chamber of Commerce, calling for a conservative counter-establishment.
American business and the enterprise system have been affected as much by the courts as by the executive and legislative branches of government. Under our constitutional system, especially with an activist-minded Supreme Court, the judiciary may be the most important instrument for social, economic and political change.
Other organizations and groups, recognizing this, have been far more astute in exploiting judicial action than American business. Perhaps the most active exploiters of the judicial system have been groups ranging in political orientation from “liberal” to the far left.
The American Civil Liberties Union is one example. It initiates or intervenes in scores of cases each year, and it files briefs amicus curiae in the Supreme Court in a number of cases during each term of that court. Labor unions, civil rights groups and now the public interest law firms are extremely active in the judicial arena. Their success, often at business’ expense, has not been inconsequential.
This is a vast area of opportunity for the Chamber, if it is willing to undertake the role of spokesman for American business and if, in turn, business is willing to provide the funds.
As with respect to scholars and speakers, the Chamber would need a highly competent staff of lawyers. In special situations it should be authorized to engage, to appear as counsel amicus in the Supreme Court, lawyers of national standing and reputation. The greatest care should be exercised in selecting the cases in which to participate, or the suits to institute. But the opportunity merits the necessary effort.

According to data from the University of Michigan's American National Election Studies, the GOP won an average of 30 percent of the black vote between 1948 and 1960.  From 1964 t 2012, the average was just 5.6 percent.

But, but, but.... "You will be better advised to watch what we do instead of what we say"  -- John N. Mitchell (Schoen p. 26)

Nixon desegregates schools

Affirmative Action:  EO 11478

Shelby Steele (CMC P `96!) interviews George Shultz:

And for a "Holy Crap!" moment, read the 1972 GOP platform plank on equal rights for women:

In addition we have:
Required all firms doing business with the Government to have affirmative action plans for the hiring and promotion of women;
Requested Congress to expand the jurisdiction of the Commission on Civil Rights to cover sex discrimination;
Recommended and supported passage of Title IX of the Higher Education Act opposing discrimination against women in educational institutions;
Supported the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 giving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforcement power in sex discrimination cases;
Continued our support of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, our Party being the first national party to back this Amendment.
Other factors beyond outright employer discrimination—the lack of child care facilities, for example—can limit job opportunities for women. For lower and middle income families, the President supported and signed into law a new tax provision which makes many child care expenses deductible for working parents. Part of the President's recent welfare reform proposal would provide comprehensive day care services so that women on welfare can work.
To continue progress for women's rights, we will work toward:
Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment; Appointment of women to highest level positions in the Federal Government, including the Cabinet and Supreme Court;
Equal pay for equal work;
Elimination of discrimination against women at all levels in Federal Government;
Elimination of discrimination against women in the criminal justice system, in sentencing, rehabilitation and prison facilities;
Increased opportunities for the part time employment of women, and expanded training programs for women who want to reenter the labor force;
Elimination of economic discrimination against women in credit, mortgage, insurance, property, rental and finance contracts.
We pledge vigorous enforcement of all Federal statutes and executive orders barring job discrimination on the basis of sex.

Nixon, Race, Anti-Semitism, and Civil Rights

 Adam Nagourney, NYT, 12/10/2010:

Richard M. Nixon made disparaging remarks about Jews, blacks, Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans in a series of extended conversations with top aides and his personal secretary, recorded in the Oval Office 16 months before he resigned as president.

The remarks were contained in 265 hours of recordings, captured by the secret taping system Nixon had installed in the White House and released this week by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.


In a conversation Feb. 13, 1973, with Charles W. Colson, a senior adviser who had just told Nixon that he had always had “a little prejudice,” Nixon said he was not prejudiced but continued: “I’ve just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits.”
“The Jews have certain traits,” he said. “The Irish have certain — for example, the Irish can’t drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish.”

Nixon continued: “The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,” and his voice trailed off.

A moment later, Nixon returned to Jews: “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”


At another point, in a long and wandering conversation with Rose Mary Woods, his personal secretary, that veered from whom to invite to a state dinner to whether Ms. Woods should get her hair done, Nixon offered sharp skepticism at the views of William P. Rogers, his secretary of state, about the future of black Africans.

“Bill Rogers has got — to his credit it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,” Nixon said. “He says well, ‘They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on.

“My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” he said. “I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Research Paper

In this assignment, you will write a research paper on any Nixon-related topic of your choice.  Here are some options, but you are free to choose another, as long as it is Nixon-centric.  During the first two full weeks of April, you will each make a 5-minute Power-Point-free class presentation on your topic.  (You may post graphs or video clips on the class blog.)

  • Analyze a depiction of Nixon in a movie, novel, play, or TV show. What is the literary or political purpose of the portrayal?  Is it accurate, or at least true to Nixon's character?
  • Explain a major Nixon decision in foreign policy or national security.  What military, diplomatic and political considerations went into his choice?   And what do we know now that was not public knowledge at the time?
  • Choose any major figure in Nixon's life (not counting anyone you may have written about in the second assignment).  How did this person  influence Nixon's life and career?  Did this person serve as friend, foe, mentor, foil, punching bag -- or some combination thereof?  What did Nixon gain or lose as a result of the relationship?  In your answer, consider the historical circumstances that allowed this person to have this influence. 

Document your claims. Do not write from the top of your head.
  • Essays should be typed (12-point), double-spaced, and no more than six pages long. I will not read past the sixth page. As always, please submit papers to the Sakai dropbox as Word documents, not pdfs.
  • Cite your sources with endnotes in Chicago/Turabian style. Endnote pages do not count against the page limit.
  • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you.
  • Due date is 11:59 PM on April 16. I reserve the right to dock papers one gradepoint for one day's lateness, a full letter grade after that.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Setting and Character



The "Warmth" Memorandum (see also Matthews 282-283)

Nixon's self-awareness


"Kennedy's record in foreign policy, as Kissinger points out over and over again, was an utter disaster"

From the Senate Watergate Committee report (Matthews 280-281)

At about 1 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, 1969, Senator Edward Kennedy was involved in an automobile accident at Chappaquiddick, Mass. Later that morning, as news reports of the accident reached the public, Caulfield was directed by Ehrlichman to send Ulasewicz to the scene of the accident as soon as possible. Ulasewicz flew to Boston on the Eastern Airlines shuttle on July 19 and rented a car for the trip to Martha’s Vineyard and Chappaquiddick. Ulasewicz spent 4 days in the area on this first visit and reported back continually to Jack Caulfield in the White House, who passed the information on to Ehrlichman and others as it developed. Ulasewicz spent a good portion of the remaining summer and much of the fall of 1969 at Chappaquiddick trying to dig up politically valuable information from Senator Kennedy’s accident.

Start around 36:00 (audio from 1972)


"I realize that we have an insurmountable wall of opposition and indifference in the media"

Nixon sics Agnew on the media (START AROUND 4:00)

Evan Thomas provides a flashback:

November 1950, when Rep. Richard Nixon, not yet 40 years old, was elected to the U.S. Senate from California, he received an invitation to a Georgetown dinner party. Every Sunday night, columnist Joe Alsop assembled some of his friends, usually high ranking officials at the CIA and State Department, with a few journalists and politicians thrown in, to dine and drink (copiously) at his house at 2720 Dumbarton Ave. Alsop and his pals wanted to take the measure of young Nixon, who was seen as a rising star in the Republican Party. Alsop’s weekly dinner, known in his circle as “the Sunday Night Supper,” was intimidating to Nixon. Alsop’s friends had gone to Harvard or Yale and carried themselves with assurance. Nixon and his wife, Pat, who had little experience in high society, were visibly uncomfortable as they arrived, recalled Tish Alsop, the wife of Joe’s brother and fellow columnist, Stewart Alsop. It did not help that Nixon’s host forgot his name and introduced him as “Russell Nixon.” At dinner, Ambassador Averell Harriman, a crusty old school diplomat who was slightly deaf, loudly announced, “I will not break bread with that man!”

Retribution against the media 

Wartime President

In Anaheim, RN reacts to the San Jose incident (Matthews 288-289):

And now, I turn to an event related to all this, that occurred in San Jose yesterday. You saw it on your television screens, an incident in which you saw 3,000 people inside listening to the speakers and 1,000 demonstrators outside, demonstrators who shouted epithets, but, in addition to that, who hurled bottles and rocks and bricks, broke windows, damaged the President's car, damaged the buses, injured some of the people in those buses.
It was a violent demonstration. And as that demonstration was concluded, there were those that were trying to indicate what it meant.
I want to give you tonight my judgement as to what that demonstration meant.
I say to you tonight, it is time to draw the line. I do not mean a party line. Because, when I speak of a line, I am referring not just to Republicans or Democrats, I am referring to a line between those who understand this problem and deal with it effectively and those who do not.
You recall what happened at the University of Wisconsin, where someone was killed in a lighted building. Listen to what the Wisconsin State Journal said in an editorial. "It isn't just the radicals that set the bomb in the lighted, occupied building who were guilty. The blood is on the hands of anyone who encouraged them, anyone who talked recklessly of revolution, anyone who has chided with mild disparagement the violence of extremism, while hinting that the cause was right all the time."

Everything Converges (start around 4:50)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Early Nixon Administration


Organizational Structure

RN had a pretty darn good record on Native Americans.

RN and the Environment:

What triggered the movement?

Nixon policy

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Nixon Presidency Begins

Nixon and Leaders


Nixon and Moynihan (Hoff 54-55)


As Hoff explains (27-44), Nixon was very pro-Native American:


No joke.


Okay, this one is a joke (though basically true):

Winter Soldier

No, the title does not refer to the Marvel character.

 Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) sponsored the "Winter Soldier Investigation" in early 1971. It alleged US war crimes and atrocities in Vietnam. A documentary film followed.

Grant found this video:

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Nixon's Favorite Meal: Cottage Cheese with Ketchup

I found this article about Nixon's favorite meal, cottage cheese with ketchup, linked in a more recent article.  To each his own, I guess. 

The 1968 Race and the Aftermath

Electoral Map

Image result for 1968 electoral map

Vote by groups (enlarged view)
Nixon supported the idea.  Repeat, Nixon supported it.
No one subject more profoundly involves the issue of popular sovereignty than the method of electing the President. For almost two centuries the system of the Electoral College has somehow worked, albeit just barely at times, and at other times even doubtfully. Every four years the American democracy places a large, unacceptable, and unnecessary wager that it will work one more time, that somehow an institution that never in any event functioned the way the framers of the Constitution anticipated, will somehow confer the Presidency on that candidate who obtains the largest number of votes. The Electoral College need not do so. Indeed on occasion it has not done so. But far more importantly--whatever the popular vote--it need not confer the Presidency on any candidate, if none has a majority of the electoral vote.
Our ability to change this system in time for the 1972 elections is a touchstone of the impulse to reform in America today. It will be the measure of our ability to avert calamity by anticipating it.
As I stated in my October 1969 message, I originally favored other methods of reforming the electoral college system, but the passage by the House of a direct popular election plan indicated that this thoroughly acceptable reform could be achieved, and I accordingly supported it. Unfortunately, the Senate has not completed action. Time is running out. But it is still possible to pass the measure and to amend the Constitution in time for the 1972 elections.

Nixon cabinet

Notice something about the demographics?

Image result for nixon cabinet 1968

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Fall of 1968

For next time, Nelson, ch. 8.

Review from last time: Why Agnew?  

  • Contrast with Lodge
  • Bailed from Rocky
  • Again: Attacked civil rights leaders  (and see who was mayor of Baltimore)
  • MD:  Slave state that was in the Union
  • No vetting.  He was taking bribes.  Mitchell probably knew.
  • Gaffe machine -- quickly discredits self.  From his 1996 obituary:
  • The nine-week election campaign did little to polish Mr. Agnew's image, marked as it was by a series of gaffes. He spoke of ''Polacks,'' and of a ''fat Jap''; he accused Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, of being ''soft on Communism,'' a comment that drew rebukes even from fellow Republicans. Although billed as the Nixon camp's urban expert, Mr. Agnew disdained visits to ghettos, saying, ''If you've seen one slum, you've seen them all.''

 Lessons from 1960:

  • Management
  • Schedule
  • Media
  • Debates



  • Convention
  • Hawks v. Doves


  • Inaugural address
  • In 1963, literally stood in the schoolhouse door.
  • Strong at first, leaks support to Humphrey
  •  LeMay (Nelson 206)
  • In 1968, David Broder wrote of George Wallace:
    • What strikes you about that message — and I am trying to be as restrained as possible— is its steady and repetitive incitement to violence. Wallace may not be tougher on law and order than Nixon or Humphrey, but he verbalizes the wish to lash out against those who offend in a way that more restrained and responsible leaders would never do in an age of violence such as we live in...If any anarchist (the Wallace word for "demonstrator") lies down in front of a Wallace motorcade, "it will be the last car he ever lies down in front of."  If students fly the Viet Cong flag in a Wallace administration, "I would have me an Attorney General that would drag them in by their long hair and ..." You rarely hear the last words of Wallace's threats, because they are lost in the roar from his crowd. "Crowd" is perhaps too polite a word. When Wallace has finished his harangue, the emotion is closer to that of a lynch mob -- a pack of angry, frustrated men and women, who see his cause, not just as a chance for victory but as a guarantee of vengeance against all who have affronted them for so long.


Why does Humphrey close?