Today’s Republican Party has devolved into the screaming codger on the street corner, only that screaming guy sometimes takes a day off. Over the decade, they have drifted further and further to the right and do-nothing obstruction. So much so that former President Nixon, the paragon of modern conservatism, would be considered a lefty by today’s Republicans. Moreover, he would be waterboarded and sent to Gitmo.
So here are 5 VERY Liberal Things Nixon Did That Would Have Him Banished By Today’s Conservatives:
1. Normalizing relations with Communist China
Although much of Nixon’s foreign policy was best remembered for his aggressive bombing of Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, he was quite wily and progressive in this area. In 1972, China was as foreign and anomalous as today’s North Korea. Every Democratic president feared visiting the then very undeveloped communist country. Now, when presidents are having troubles at home it’s considered good politics for them to go abroad. However, such trips are to visit ally nations. Some might have considered it a cynical move to distract from all the problems he was having at home, but who visits china? Indeed, a very liberal and progressive act on Nixon’s part. Hell, look how much sh*t President Obama has gotten over Cuba.
2. Creating the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
There isn’t a single major government agency that today’s Republicans don’t want to drown in a bathtub. The EPA is a huge one. Calling them neanderthals wouldn’t make much sense since half of them don’t even believe in evolution for f*ck’s sake! They deny climate change and have rejected and cap-and-trade deal on the environment. And yet President Nixon, a man who was by no means John Muir (Google it), saw it fit to create an agency that oversaw an industry hell-bent on unregulated pollution. That is insanely liberal.
3. Detente with the Soviet Union
Before we realized how utterly incompetent the Russians were, the Soviet Union was once our most implacable foe and greatest threat to world peace. We all saw how oppositional (even treasonous) today’s GOP was to the nuclear deal that President Obama finally forged with Iran. So can you image how freaking obstructionist they would be to a president seeking a period of calm and rapprochement with a bitter enemy?! Despite much noise from hardliners, Nixon negotiated arms deals and resisted confrontation.
4. Proposed a National Health Care Plan and a Negative Income Tax for The Poor
It wasn’t Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton who were the first ones to discuss a single-payer national healthcare, but rather Richard Nixon. Of course, this was a time when Washington was not beset by idiot teabaggers and even dumber Americans. So unusually liberal was Nixon’s proposal that not even did the late Ted Kennedy, the Senate’s Liberal Lion, get behind it. In fact, Kennedy would later say how much he regretted his decision.
5. Proposed Negative Income Tax for The Poor and Expanded Food Stamps
While today’s Republicans shame the poor and vote to cut every single form of economic assistance possible, freaking Richard Nixon proposed a negative income tax–something that would help the poor. And perhaps the biggest liberal thing yet, Nixon expanded food stamps and enacted supplemental security income for those with disabilities and the elderly.
In sum, Nixon was a trick d*ck and the Watergate scandal forever destroyed public trust in government. But it’s important to note some of the very liberal things a very conservative president did.
Featured image via Keystone/Getty Images