Tricky Dick Nixon, that scandalous lying presidential criminal, who should by all rights have served time in prison right along with his thoroughly corrupt inner circle of political sycophants, was fondly remembered this week with full military honors, a flyover by a squadron of U.S. fighter jets, musical presentations by a U.S. Marine band, and a 21-gun salute, followed by the laying of a White House wreath from current President Barack Obama.at his tomb.
It was all part of a planned yearlong centennial celebration of the late 37th U.S. president Richard Nixon's birth 100 years ago run by the Richard Nixon Foundation and the National Archives which kicked off on Sunday at his presidential library in Yorba Linda, California - his birthplace.
Nixon holds the dubious distinction as the only American president to resign from office. Facing almost certain impeachment and conviction in the Senate, he left the White House in humiliating disgrace in 1974 over the infamous Watergate scandal and cover-up for which he was criminally responsible.
His political campaign operatives were caught red handed burglarizing his Democratic opponents' offices at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., during the tumultuous 1972 presidential election campaign, attempting to dig up dirt and bug their headquarters. He personally orchestrated the cover-up which followed and successfully stonewalled the resulting investigation until after his re-election.
It was during this investigation when he publicly uttered this famous line in a campaign speech to the American people: “I am not a crook.”
But he most definitely was a crook. He violated his oath of office. He covered up evidence of crimes. He committed his own crimes, and had it not been for the magnanimous gesture of a full pardon for those crimes by his successor, President Gerald Ford, only one month after the resignation, Nixon might have been serving hard time with the likes of his equally guilty co-conspirators, White House counsel, John Dean, Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, and number two advisor, John Ehrlichman.
The national outrage generated by the Watergate scandal was widely seen as undermining the American public's trust in the White House and in government in general. It was proof that American citizens should never place their trust in politicians and the government. Honesty and integrity in American politics and government is a rare commodity indeed.
Nixon campaigned on a promise to achieve "peace with honor" in Vietnam. Instead, after his election, he escalated the conflict by approving a secret bombing campaign against communist North Vietnamese positions in Cambodia. Finally, when it became obvious that Americans had had enough of the Vietnam War, he ended it abruptly allowing South Vietnam to go to the communist North.
Fifty-eight-thousand Americans were killed in Vietnam and Richard M. Nixon was responsible for many of those unnecessary deaths. When I think of Tricky Dick Nixon, those deaths are the first things that come to my mind, closely followed by the criminal means he employed to keep himself in office.
But today we are all forced by our government to commemorate Tricky Dick for his so-called greatest achievement -- his dramatic 1972 visit to China, which ushered in a new era of U.S. engagement with Beijing after decades of Cold War hostility. Now we are encouraged to remember this criminal as an underappreciated president and a foreign policy genius.
Of course, there never should have been any Cold War hostility in the first place, but never-mind that. When a President of the United States pays any kind visit to a foreign country, hobnobbing with government leaders, touring the countryside, and drinking toasts, he automatically becomes a foreign policy genius in the minds of the American sheep.
Naturally, during Sunday's elaborate ceremony at the taxpayer’s expense, the Watergate scandal was not even once mentioned. "To me, there's nothing to mention," Bruce Herschensohn, a friend and speech writer for Nixon, said after the delivering the keynote address. “That doesn't make (the Watergate scandal) right, but that's the way Washington operated," he added.
Right, don’t blame it on the crook; blame it on the environment in which he operated.
Thusly we now witness the resurrection of Tricky Dick.