Ron Reagan and Ron Christie discuss clashing portrayals of Ronald Reagan -- Perlstein's smart, shrewd charmer (The Invisible Bridge) and Cannon's under-informed raconteur (Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime). Consensus: he was a shrewd fabulist. And on the 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, both Rons lament the Watergate-ization of politics but disagree who's the better president -- RN or BO.
The Kennedy assassination opened a nation's eyes, Viet Nam gave us something to see, and, well, the crimes of Nixon pretty much sealed it. You might call it a reality check.
Forty years ago today, President Nixon addressed the nation to announce he would be resigning the next day -- the only time in US history this has happened. Today, President Obama announced the US will be dropping bombs on Iraq once again. That's a pretty heavy-duty amount of the past to contemplate, in one week.
There's an irony to how Ford ended up in the White House. The secretive nature of the Nixon White House was its ultimate downfall, but those chosen to rebuild the institution approached the transition with a similar level of secrecy.
Forty years ago, Richard M. Nixon made unprecedented constitutional history when he resigned the presidency amid the disgrace and scandal of Watergate. Yet Nixon endures. He stands as the commanding figure of American political life since the end of World War Two.
It has been widely reported that August 9 marks the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's resignation. What has received considerably less attention is that the date also marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of what may well be the stupidest thing ever written about Watergate: an op-ed column for The Washington Post by one Benjamin J. Stein.
In those early August days, events would reach a crescendo but none of us knew the final outcome, and that was Alistair Cooke's problem.
Liberals who foolishly thought they'd won on August 8, 1974, have spent most of the last 40 years on the defensive, failed by stubborn hubris as Vietnam became Iraq, as B-52s became drones, as segregation became the mass incarceration of young American blacks, as J. Edgar Hoover's FBI became the NSA of Dick Cheney... and Barack Obama.
On this anniversary, let's remember one great -- but too often overlooked -- Lesbian African-American House Representative from Texas who steered us through a Constitutional crisis 40 years ago with logic and passion.
Our long national nightmare may have ended on August 9, 1974, but many more very bad dreams were yet to come.
Brown was simply his own man who could embrace, identify with, and at times defend black activism. He clearly wanted the world to see and think of him as much more than an entertainer -- and he knew he'd be both praised and vilified for it.
M. Caldwell Butler, a five-term Virginia congressman in the 1970s, died recently, aged 89. He is noted for his vote to impeach Richard M Nixon in 1974, despite his Republican affiliation. They don't make them kind no more.
This conversation is much more revealing about Nixon that it is about Dean, who proved to be the last honest man in the White House. Dean's testimony before the Senate Watergate committee the following summer was the key to the downfall of Richard Nixon and his presidency.
Trying to shift the blame for Nixon's role in the Watergate cover up squarely onto his counsel, John Dean, is ridiculous in the extreme. Still, this is precisely what Nixon's son-in-law, Edward Cox, did on MSNBC this past Sunday morning, when, among other things, he referred to Watergate as a "small incident."
I sat down a few weeks ago with Rick Perlstein, author of Before the Storm and Nixonland, to discuss his latest, The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan.
It's been 40 years since the most reviled president of the 20th century resigned from office. What more fitting time than now to raise a glass to the man who did his job and did it so well he brought down a president of the United States?