To the Editor:
President Obama, like President Nixon, is being plagued by dirty election year tricks played by members of their administrations. Both scandals are serious. Therefore, when judging these presidents, Americans should rate them on their accomplishments during their lifetimes. I will present Nixon’s accomplishments and maybe someone else will come up with President Obama’s lifetime accomplishments.
During his presidency, Nixon negotiated major nuclear arms reduction treaties with the Soviet Union, reduced Cold War tensions by opening formal relations with China, expanded Social Security and Medicare benefits to seniors, increased benefits for the aged, blind and disabled by $5 billion, took 9 million low-income families off the income tax roles, established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), signed the Clean Air Act, signed the Endangered Species Act, signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), ended public school segregation in the South, implemented the “Philadelphia Plan” – the United State’s first significant affirmative action program, campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), signed the Title IX Act – creating equal opportunities for women in sports, and ended the Vietnam War.
In the 1972 presidential election, Nixon won 49 states and received 60 percent of the popular vote. In February of 1974, Nixon sent Congress a comprehensive plan for health care reform that was rejected by the Democratic leadership. Senator Kennedy later said one of his biggest mistakes was not supporting Nixon’s health care plan.
In retirement, Nixon remained active in the political arena until his death in 1994. He visited many countries, gave counsel to many world leaders and wrote many books describing his political views. President Clinton met openly with Nixon and regularly sought his advice. In 1986, after a trip to the Soviet Union, a Gallup poll ranked Nixon as one of the 10 most admired men in the world.
Over the years, Republican presidents, like Richard M. Nixon, have shown that they can work with members of the Congress, in regular order, to accomplish great goals.