Michael A Cohen: Richard Nixon at 100 ... Not Just Criminal, But Treasonous Too
US columnist Michael A Cohen is author of Live from the Campaign Trail: The Greatest Presidential Campaign Speeches of the 20th Century and How They Shaped Modern America.
This week saw the 100th birthday of America's 37th president, Richard Milhous Nixon.
With the benefit of hindsight, Nixon has one of the most remarkable political legacies of any figure in modern American history – winner of four national elections (as president and vice-presidential), on a presidential ballot every year but one from 1952 to 1972, and one of the most dominating political personalities of the second half of the 20th century.
Here was the man who "went to China", spurred détente with the Soviets, signed into law the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), took America off the gold standard and ended the Vietnam war.
Of course, on the flip side, he also prolonged the Vietnam war, obstructed justice from the Oval Office, used the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to go after his political enemies, launched an illegal war in Cambodia, waged a dirty tricks campaign against his opponents, placed Spiro Agnew a heartbeat from the presidency, kept an "enemies list", was recorded in the Oval Office describing Jews as "aggressive, abrasive and obnoxious" and Italians as not having their "heads screwed on tight", ended the Vietnam war with neither peace nor honor, was impeached by Congress, resigned the presidency and left a permanent stain on American democracy … and those are just some of this greatest hits.
Oh, and also, he committed treason...
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