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View Diary: Kennedy's greatest regret? (114 comments)

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  •  Nixon created the EPA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, dinotrac

    It's worth noting.

    •  My point (0+ / 0-)

      is that he didn't see the need to fight ideological battles on domestic issues.  He was also for wage and price controls to combat inflation.  

      He was fair more personally interested in foriegn policy...

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:38:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He also enacted goal-based affirmative action (0+ / 0-)

      and I think he did care very much about domestic issues, including health care.

      The man was not a monolith.

      Free speech? Yeah, I've heard of that. Have you?

      by dinotrac on Mon Aug 31, 2009 at 10:39:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He was pressured into that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fladem, polar bear

      It's not like he came up with the idea all by himself.

      From Richard Nixon, speeches, writings and documents Princeton Press

         What kind of president was Richard M. Nixon? On the domestic front, a startlingly indifferent one. He once famously labeled domestic policy "building outhouses in Peoria"; he believed such matters took care of themselves, without a president to guide them, and nearly set out to prove it. Later, the laws passed during his administration, and the bills he attempted to pass, earned Nixon a reputation as a sort of liberal. It would be more accurate to say that he took the path of least resistance, and that the conventional policy wisdom of the day was, simply, liberal. He paid closest attention to domestic policy-making when it involved a political constituency he wanted to punish or reward.

         He was sold, for example, on adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan's idea for a guaranteed minimum income to replace the existing welfare system when Moynihan assured him it would wipe out the social welfare bureaucracy, a Democratic political constituency. (In a strategy meeting for the 1972 election, he proposed either sabotaging its passage or implementation, either way preserving credit for caring about the poor without doing anything at all.) His federal drug control policies could never have survived in our own conservative era: for heroin addicts, they substituted medical treatment for punishment. Nixon's interest in reform was once again political: he hoped fewer heroin addicts would add up to a lower crime rates in time for his 1972 reelection campaign.

         His policy preferences also indicated a conflicted eagerness to please opinion-making elites. They praised his establishment of an Environmental Protection Agency, launched with an inspiring speech: "the 1970s absolutely must be the years when America pays its debts to the past by reclaiming the purity of its air, its water, and our living environment. It is literally now or never." But he shared his true opinion of the issue in an Oval Office meeting auto executives: that environmentalists wanted to "go back and live like a bunch of damned animals." Throwing conservationists a bone also suited another political purpose: the issue was popular among the same young people who were enraged at him for continuing the Vietnam War. In the end, the EPA was a sort of confidence game. The new agency represented not a single new penny in federal spending for the environment. It did, however, newly concentrate bureaucracies previously scattered through vast federal bureaucracy under a single administrator loyal to the White House--the better to control them.

      What a big liberal he was.

      Strangely enough, I spotted this on Rick Perstein's website.

      Talk about a bizarre turn of events.

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