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Cedar Rapids Gazette Newspaper Archive: August 14, 1974 - Page 8

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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   Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - August 14, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa                                Post-mortem on a presidency The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wed., Aug. 14, H7-) Hate-your-enemy sentiment ruled By Rowland Evans and Robert Novak WASHINGTON The malignaney that finally destroyed the presidency of Richard M. Nixon was ex- posed at its very outset following the 196X flection when the President-elect es- tablished temporary headquarters al Manhattan's Pierre hotel. One Republican politician newly enlisted on Mr. Nixon's staff was surprised in his first close-up observa- tion of the new President by a uniquely unpresidential aspect of his discourse: the intensity with which Mr. Nixon at- tacked his "enemies" particularly liberal Republicans and the press. Far more than mere advocacy of primitive conservatism, this aide felt Mr. Nixon was displaying genuine, deep-seated hostility Those resentments smouldered and grew over the long hard political road that Mr. Nixon traveled to the White House, where they were fed by his new struggles against congress and (he des- pised press. Instead of declining under the actuality of presidential power, Mr. Nixon's animus grew in direct proportion to his political success even after his record 1972 landslide. From those animosities came the abuse of and the lawlessness that destroyed him. This self-destructive inner passion might seem to conflict with the portrait of Mr. Nixon painted by the secret White House tape recordings as the supreme public relations practitioner, preoc- cupied with scenarios, images and gamesmanship. The tapes do reveal incessant discus- sion of public relations unrelieved by is- sues or serious ideological considera- tions. One longtime Nixon associate, a top White House presidential aide in the early Nixon days puts it this way: Most Presidents stick to the business of government for their first three years, then campaign for re-election in the fourth year; Mr. Nixon governed for six months at most, then turned his whole attention to re-election for the next 3M> years. Nevertheless, Mr. Nixon was never truly a political pragmatist, seeking only a majority. Far from it. His games- manship was heated out of proportion by the fires of hostility to his enlarging circle of "enemies." This exotic mixture of public relations and hate is pointed up by the fateful transcript of his June 23, 1972, conversation with H. R. Haldeman. That transcript will have its place in history as the "smoking gun" of the Watergate conspiracy. But parts of the transcript, though irrelevant to Water- gate, betray the underlying cause of the Nixon presidency's ruin. Mr. Nixon's lack of interest in issues is stripped bare. When Haldeman informed the President about British devaluation of the pound, Mr. Nixon replies: "I don't care about it. Nothing we can do about it." Although federal revenue-sharing has been heralded as his greatest domestic accomplishment, Mr. Nixon tells Haldeman: "There ain't a vote in it there's no votes in it. Bob." But the transcript shows that the President was no super-pragmatist interested only in votes. About to launch the most successful Republican courtship of the Jewish vote in history, Mr. Nixon is concerned about daughter Julie's visit Jacksonville, Fla., museum because: "The arts you know they're Jews, they're left wing in other words stay away." While his aides were ardently wooing rank-and-file and leadership support in organized labor, Mr. Nixon was preoc- cupied that daughter Tricia had been greeted at an Allcntown, Pa., speech by "20 or 30 thugs labor thugs out boo- ing" referring later to the "Allentown Bullies club." Aides who fed Mr. Nixon's passion against his enemies, such as Bob Haldeman, prospered. Those who did not were sneered at behind their backs. Faithful servitor Herbert Klein is con- demned by Mr. Nixon for being "unor- but his real sin was lack of hate. "He's just not our guy at all, is asks the President. repilcs Haldeman. Whatever credits history gives Richard Nixon will be measured by his actual personal contribution lo foreign policy initiatives China, Moscow and ending the Vietnam war. But former Nixon lieutenants now say he never did really understand what Vielnamizalion was all about, dismissing it just as he did devaluation of the pound or revenue- sharing. Certainly he cared far less about Vietnamization than about his raging hostility to "enemies." In a 11171 book about the Nixon presidency, we called him "a man with an infinite capacity for keeping a per- manent menial ledger of the ills done him over the years." By keeping that ledger up to date and taking positive action lo redress its balance Richard M. Nixon destroyed his presidency and brought his country to Hie brink of chaos. Putillthflrt-Hall Svndlctile Opinion Page Views Ideas Insights Judgments Comments Martyrless finish closes the book By Roscoe Drummond WASHINGTON Have no doubt about it, the recovery of the na- tion's poise and peace is going to come faster than anyone dared hope. The great danger was that Richard Nixon would remove himself from the presidency in the image of an injured martyr who had done no wrong and that, without a senate trial and verdict, the divisive turmoil over Watergate would continue to poison tho political life of the country. But that which many feared most that resignation would continue a lacerating controversy rather than ter- minate it is not, it appears, going to come upon us. These are the reasons: 1. Mr. Nixon resigned with grace and without bitterness, and it is amply evident that the congress and the country want to close the book without further ado over impeachment. Own Admission 2. There is no basis for bitter-end Nixon supporters to claim or to feel that he was unjustly, unfairly or peremptorily hounded out of the While House on unproved charges. There is no valid basis for continued debate on this score because Mr. Nixon himself has admitted enough responsibility for his own down- fall so that the issue is settled with finality. 3. The country is fortunale to have President Gerald Ford as Mr. Nixon's successor because his transcendent forte is reconciliation. He is Ihe very em- bodiment of reconciliation and goodwill and decency. The leaders of congress are responding to that spirit of unity with evident sincerity. Most Americans will respond the same way. I believe lhal Richard Nixon has done his parl in stepping down in a manner which sufficienlly accepts the verdict of congress to vote his removal if he had not removed himself. That's enough. He doesn't have to grovel and he didn't. He wouldn't know how. But he did affirm that he had commit- ted "wrong" acts. He did affirm thai he Roscoe Drummond decided to resign because he had "lost so much of his political base" in congress thai he could nol govern effectively. This was only another way of saying that his defense against impeachmenl had crumbled and thai his resignation was just one step ahead of the verdict the senate was about to bring in. Bitter truth He did more than that. In the stalement released by the White House after making public the June 23 tapes, Mr. Nixon admitted that he had com- mitted acts cited in the articles of im- peachment. He affirmed that he had act- ed to abort (he Walergale investigation six days after the break-in and that, as (he first step toward coverup, be had directed that the FBI not go further into the case. This assessment of Mr. Nixon's Wa- tergate role is not the subjective judg- ment of some reporter, nor is it the in- terpretation of the special prosecutor or of the house judiciary committee. II is Mr. Nixon's own assessment of what he did. Because (his is Mr. Nixon's verdict, the senate does not need to render its ver- dict. It is a verdict which can and should be accepted as final. Now we can begin to bind up the wounds of the nation by looking abend, nol backward. Patterned Note from teacher on lillle girl's report card: worker, intelligent bill talks loo much." Nole from tho father on Ihe back of Ihe card: "Come up some lime and nieel mol her." lull Power-zeal, pal- protection, doom By James J. Kilpatrick SCHAIllll.F.. Va What is lo be said of the history that now overwhelm-, us? Carlyie said it, and Kinersiin too History is biography That is all the explanation one can offer, thai is ;ill the explanation lilt-re is In seeking lo understand the resigna- tion, we have lo look beyond the biography of Kichard Nixon. Watergate was .i confluence, a great flowing together of :i hundred streams of biography. Together they formed a river of pollution; separately they might have flowed as placidly as the stream at the foot of White Walnut hill. The country is the best place to think upon these things. My office windows look upon the mountains. These old hills endure; and they provide assurance that our republic will also endure. We are in the late summer of Ihe garden, with plants going to seed, and the seed renewing. The succession nf the presidency will move forward as steadily as Hie turning of the leaves. There was the biography of John Mitchell and of his tormented wife Martha. In the spring of 1972. when the Watergate break-in was being hatched, 111? ordinarily phlegmatic Mitchell was a man preoccupied by personal If his biography had been otherwise, lie might have imposed the unequivocal veto that would have aborted the blunder. Taut spring We know almost nothing of the biography of Gordon Liddy. "He must be a little the President remarked to Bob Haldeman. It may be a fair appraisal, but it is all part of biography. James J. Kilpatrick Liddy was the strong man, the ringleader, the forceful personality whose persistence could not be turned aside. And because Liddy was Ihe kind of man he was, the burglary went forward. In the characters of Haldeman, and of John Dean, John Ehrlichman, Jeb Magruder and the rest of the President's men, we find the raw stuff of history. Were they plastic men, easily molded? Or weak men? Or men flawed by loo much loyalty? They were what they were. The historians who will strive one day to get it all in perspective will see these events as the lenglhened shadows of the men who made them: Archibald Cox, John Sirica, Elliot Richardson. We will study the lives and ambitions of-two young reporters. Who would have sup- posed thai the biographies of men named McCord, Barker, Gonzalez, Caulfield, and Ulasewich would figure in the his- tory of the presidency? In the end, though, we are driven back to the biography of Richard Nixon. His- tory will treal him more genlly lhan men do now than I do now. The engulfing disappointment dominates my own horizons like a thunderhead over Red Oak mountain. Nixon was ambitious; in itself, it is no sin to be ambitious. A strong man, he sought power; but effective government demands that strong men seek powerful office. He was a man who would not abandon friends who served him poorly; but an excess of loyalty, with no more, is not an impeachable offense. Detached The curious thing about Nixon the aspect of hisM'haraeler that will baffle biographers is that this most realistic of men constantly lost touch with reality. He was a man of the law, but in his creation of the plumbers he put himself nutside the law. He was a modest man, well versed in the reality of poverty; but in the improvements lo his homes lie yielded to fantasy. Knowing his own vulnerability, he armed himself at every point; and thus lie made every point vulnerable. Keenly sensitive himself, lie had little sensitivity for Ihe people and the congress. Behind a public mask of self-assurance, as the transcripts disclose, was a human being desperately struggling for an unattaina- ble security. Now, in disgrace, he returns to private lift. _ ur to whatever privacy history will allow him. In his own strange way, Nixon loved his country and revered his office. No biography would be complete thai deal! with Watergate and resignation alone. There will be lime enough, when tin- seasons change and spring comes again, to write of (his hs Iranquility. The im- porlanl history now revolves around the biography of Gerald Ford. Wtntunolon Sloi bv'Hlirnlo Wouldnt you reaUv rather have custom covered furniture Kenwood Mouse SOFAS, LOVESEATS AND CHAIRS. Choose the fabric, pattern and color. Choose from Traditional, Mediterranean, French Provincial, Colonial, Italian or Contemporary. Choose from Thomasville, Henredon, Clyde Pearson, Selig, North Hickory or Conover. If you can wait for delivery, save 20% OFF L, the manufacturer's suggested price! Kenwood house interiors SHOWJiOOMSi 405 SECOND ST. SE DOWNTOWN HOURS, WEEKDAYS 9 'Til 5, MONDAYS THURSDAYS 'TIL 9 FREE PARKING NEXT TO STORE FREt DEUVERV SET-UP FREE INTERIOR DESIGNER'S ASSISTANCE EXTENDED TERMS miUBLE Kenwood's Guaranteed Price Policy If within 30 dayi of purchase date the iden- tical merchandise can be bought for Usi the difference in price plui 10Y. will be refunded. 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