The New(t) Nixon

Doyle McManus bets the former speaker won’t succeed as Nixon did in 1968 but the similarities are striking.

When Richard M. Nixon ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968, he faced a daunting problem: A lot of voters just didn’t like him. Nixon had made his name in politics as an angry, partisan hatchet man, famous for lashing out against Democrats and the news media.

The question remains whether Gingrich can do chastened as well as Nixon, who bested Romney’s dad in securing the Republican nomination.

Gingrich is trying to engineer a turnaround in a matter of months. Nixon was methodical and diligent; Gingrich — Old Newt, at least — is mercurial and undisciplined.

Perhaps, but I’m not sure mercurial and undisciplined are seen as negatives in today’s GOP.

There’s Something About Nixon

I can’t explain my soft spot for Richard Nixon. Don’t get me wrong — his politics were toxic and I’m by no means a defender. But he’s just so damn interesting. Maybe I just miss the days when we had smart, albeit amoral, politicians (his strategic manipulation of the USSR and China was brilliant; the bombing of Cambodia, beneath contempt).

How ironic that Nixon, who hated the “elites” more than anyone, would probably be dismissed as an elitist by today’s populist conservatives.