Sock It To Me Nixon You Lefty Liberal

I doubt anyone thinks of Richard Nixon as a liberal. I know I don’t. However, the United States has shifted so far to the right today that many of the actions taken by staunch conservatives a few decades ago appear liberal by today’s standards. And, that is the point of this post. Many of today’s conservatives, especially the neocon right wing nut jobs, but even today’s relative moderates think that today’s definition of conservative is the same as it ever was.

This is not the case. This nation has shifted so far to the right that we can’t even see the center anymore.

As proof, I intend to take an icon of conservativism, Tricky Dick, and show that today, he would be viewed as liberal, though probably not truly bleeding heart. According to the Richard Nixon wikipedia page, Nixon did some things that would still be considered conservative today. However, he is also credited with all of the following:

  • imposed wage and price controls.
  • indexed Social Security for inflation.
  • created Supplemental Security Income.
  • created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • created Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • promoted the Legacy of parks program.
  • implemented the Philadelphia Plan, the first significant federal affirmative action program.
  • dramatically improved salaries for US federal employees worldwide.
  • signed a bill that lowered the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 miles per hour to conserve gasoline during the 1973 energy crisis.
  • established the Office of Minority Business Enterprise.
  • On February 6, 1974, he introduced the Comprehensive Health Insurance Act. Nixon’s plan would have mandated employers to purchase health insurance for their employees, and in addition provided a federal health plan like Medicaid that any American could join by paying on a sliding scale based on income.

Britannica Online confirms some of these but gives far less detail.

My point though is not whether Tricky Dick was a good president or not. My point is that anyone taking these stances on so many issues could not possibly be considered conservative today. And yet, there was no doubt that he was considered conservative at the time. As the objects in the universe that are far away can be considered red-shifted because they appear redder from here based on the Doppler effect of the light coming from them, so too can this country now be considered right-shifted, severely so in my opinion.

The New York Times, once a symbol of the establishment along with the Wall Street Journal, without changing their stance on politics, is now considered a liberal rag. Both Clintons and Barrack Obama are considered liberal despite both of them being significantly right of the old center.

Where are today’s true liberals? His name is Dennis Kucinich. And, no one even bothers to give him any media coverage, even when he wins the debates. Once, NBC did not even report a winner for the debate to avoid naming him as the winner. They just call him unelectable and we drink the Kool-Aid.

Here’s an interesting article from Harper’s Magazine of someone else’s opinion of the right-shifting of the United States. I have NOT verified the facts in the article and make no claims of its veracity. However, it is an interesting read. Thanks to Tony for the reference.

Tentacles of Rage: The Republican Propaganda Mill

Lastly, I got the title of this from the fact that The Big Dick actually appeared on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. He even said the classic Laugh-In line …

Thanks to Rose for a comment over drinks that gave me the idea to write this post.

UPDATE: Curious where you fit? Take the Political Compass Test. This is the best version I’ve seen and offers comparisons with some famous world leaders. (I should probably put quotes around leaders since W is in the list.)

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11 Responses to Sock It To Me Nixon You Lefty Liberal

  1. The Right/Left political division is a false choice. The two-party duopoly is a form of Hegelian dialectism. There is minimal difference between the parties. Look at all of the right-wing reforms Clinton passed. Look at how Bush exploded the national debt and the budget. It is a two-sided coin and it does not matter which end lands up. Only through a third or fourth party will their dynasty be defeated.

    Go Green – Cynthia McKinney in ’08

  2. Misanthropic Scott says:

    johnnypeepers,

    You make a good point. However, as the last 8 years have shown, there is still a significant difference between the democraps on the right and the extreme right wing neocon nut jobs of the repugnican party. And, that difference is unfortunately too important to ignore at this crucial time.

  3. BubbaRay says:

    I never thought Tricky Dick a really bad president, other than he got caught doing what so many others have done before and since. Take a look at all the dead people that voted for LBJ and his “Great Society.” LBJ, the man who escalated VietNam. Tricky Dick, the man who pulled the troops. That’s just one example. There are many others too numerous to mention.

    Mom always taught me, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

    LBJ — …

  4. Misanthropic Scott says:

    I’d like to convince myself that he was worse on the topic of wiretapping than other presidents before him. I have no idea if this is true. With innocence assumed until proven otherwise, I’ll give others benefit of the doubt.

    I agree about Nam though. Certainly today’s repugnicans would not have pulled out.

  5. Misanthropic Scott says:

    I should also cross reference this to another shorter post about the right-shifting of the nation that I posted on cagematch.

  6. toolkien says:

    I don’t think that there is any question that Nixon was Statist and that is about the only real debate to make. Either someone believes that government cures everything or they don’t. Conservative and Liberal notions are becoming too blurred to tell the difference. All I need to know is someone coercing me to do act differently when all I am doing is living my life peaceably and freely? Nixon crammed a load of government down the throats of the people, just as everyone before him and most everyone after him. Reagan paid lip service to defeating the leviathan but merely began the papering over of the shortfall between spending and taxation. And every President since has overseen economic policies damaging to the health of the US to the point now that we have a $54TRILLION accrual basis debt, inability to borrow much more without damaging our economy any more, and cannot cut interest any more to fool people into running headlong out to the stores to spend money they don’t have. The only way out is flushing the system with new credit which will only lead to massive inflation. But we got here not just because of “Tricky Dick”, this is a result of seven decades of Statism and not one President since FDR’s foundation laid in the 30’s has made any headway against it. Prattle on about neocons and ultra-right wingers and whether Dems or Repubs have anyone’s real interest at heart. That’s just what they want. and the Statist center of both parties forge ahead with destructive policies to the individual and his/her freedom.

  7. theonlysanepersonhere says:

    Its ridiculous to even consider thinking that the country is ridiculously conservative. i want to know where who ever wrote this was educated so i know to never move or go there for either my own or my childrens education

    • No. I don’t think this country is at all conservative. That would imply little change. I think this country is full of radical right wing nutjobs who are anything but conservative. By your tone, I expect that you fit that category.

  8. theonlysanepersonhere says:

    And btw, no one thinks nixon was conservative at all. Anyone who has a brain knows that the had a libral agenda. whoever writes this blog should quit life because its not even worth living if your this dumb and theres no use in trying to fix yourself

  9. themostinsanepersonhere,

    Obviously you haven’t been to this site before. On this site, when people want to discuss things, they may do so in a heated manner, but at least try to back up their statements a bit. Give it a try. You might actually find that you can make a point that way.

    Until then, the fact that Nixon was an icon of conservatism in his day is extremely obvious to those of us who actually remember those years. I wonder who you think was truly conservative. Bush Sr. who doubled the national debt in just four years? Radical right wing war-monger son of his who ran up even more debt and started more wars? Is that borrow-and-bomb fiscal irresponsibility and murder your idea of conservatism?

    As for where I was educated, check my books list … if you have the attention span to read a book. Because, like you, I was educated in this country and did not learn nearly enough in school. Unlike you, as an adult I have continued my personal education through a large number and variety of lectures, books, news sources, and magazines.

    Remember, if you’re going to bother to post here again, the definition of conservative is resistant to change. Or, feel free to specify whether you mean fiscally conservative, i.e. someone who recognizes that bills must be paid and budgets balanced. So, who do you consider conservative?

  10. Aj Janssen says:

    Ya he is a liberal, started the war on marijuana/minorities!

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