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View Diary: Ahnold the Liernator (118 comments)

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  •  Forget this "lie" (none)
    The substance of this quote is laughable.  It's loaded with distortions, which others here have pointed out.  Here's my three-pronged assault on his paean to Nixon:

    1. Nixon was not Reagan.  Nixon was the Eisenhower breed of Republican.  He believed in basic statism, even if the Republicans had to call the full New Deal socialism as a matter of course.  I'm not trying to lionize Nixon or revise him into a liberal, but he's no real precursor to Reagan, who, after all, lead a revolution.  If there was a Reagan revolution, how could Nixon's policies have been nearly identical? Nixon might've personally desired national healthcare, but I'm not sure.  He also believed the Vietnam war was a mess, but -- being a corrupt politician -- worked to prolong it past '68 so Humprehey couldn't run on closing the deal.  He was serious about "peace with honor", which means "peace without admitting our gigantic fuck-up."  I don't think Reagan shared that view of Vietnam.  So Nixon is not Reagan, despite the attempts to mess with history and carry today's scripts into the past.

    2.  Austria was not socalist.  Arnie is again trying to play off a present right-wing belief -- that Western Europe is socialist.  Compared to us, that's more or less true.  But please suffer the fool who wants to distinguish between then and now.  The strict statism of the Soviets was to the east, and Austria shared too much with America to be "socialist" by contrast.  Then, the paradigm was Communist or free, and they were free.  Nor was Humphrey a socialist -- another link in the chain of easy, but inaccurate assumptions that ill-informed Republicans might make.  On economic issues, Nixon and Humprey were similar.  But if you combine all the distortions and implications of these two points, you jam history into a modern right-wing script.  No complexity.  

    And the third point, my favorite ...

    3) Nixon was too paranoid to have any respect for law.  Wasn't Arnold flummoxed that the man who converted him to the virtues of the right wing had little moral fibre as a politician?  Didn't he wonder that the man who spoke so pleasingly about free-enterprise (even though he really didn't so much) could also hang with the likes of E. Howard Hunt and Charles Colson, breaking laws as a matter of course?  That didn't trouble Arnold?  That didn't trouble the delegates?  The man who made America seem like the land of opportunity had no respect for our democracy, but that's no problem?  Sorry, but even though I admire Johnson's efforts in The Great Society and his finesse in advocating civil rights laws, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is a smear on his time in office that I won't forgive or overlook.  I would never speak of him as the kind of man I admire, the way Arnold treated Nixon.  


    "Let every person make known what kind of government he would respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it; we are people first, and subjects after."

    by Human Rights on Wed Sep 01, 2004 at 11:48:23 AM PDT

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