Espionage, Collusion, and the Rehabilitation of Richard Nixon

Let me state my heresy right up front: Richard Nixon was a good man.  In fact, he was a great president.  Process that, then read on.

Communism, Espionage, and Pumpkins

In 1948, at the height of the Cold War, a California congressman accompanied a former American communist spy into a pumpkin patch to retrieve a cache of stolen secret documents.  These documents, later named the "Pumpkin Papers," became the evidence that ultimately led to the perjury conviction of another American communist serving Moscow from the highest levels of the State Department.


Hollowed-out pumpkin at Chambers's farm hiding two rolls of microfilm, given to investigators,
December 2, 1948.  Page from stolen classified documents, dated January 6, 1938.

The repentant spy was Whittaker Chambers, who had secretly defected from the American Communist Party while maintaining contact with his underground network.  His "pumpkin patch papers" resulted in the political "Trial of the Century."

The convicted spy was Alger Hiss, former aide to Franklin Roosevelt's secretary of state and acting secretary-general of the United Nations Charter Conference in 1945.  Hiss was instrumental in giving "damaging concessions" to the Soviet Union at the postwar Yalta Conference.  He won praise from the Soviet delegate to the U.N. Conference for his "impartiality" toward the Russian government.

The California congressman who received the Pumpkin Papers was Richard Nixon, a resolute anti-communist crusader.  During his first term in Congress (1947-48), Nixon was determined to identify and expose communist subversion inside the U.S. government.  His steely anti-communism earned him the undying contempt of left-leaning newspapers in the 1950s.

Nixon's Downfall and the Vindictive Media

Fast-forward to 1973-1974.  An embattled President Nixon was waging a losing fight for his political survival.  His cover-up of the Watergate scandal was unraveling.  When a contingent of Republican senators told Nixon he didn't have the votes to avoid impeachment and conviction, he knew the end had come and resigned his presidency on August 8, 1974.

A jubilant liberal press corps celebrated Nixon's resignation as a great victory for "progressive" democracy and virtually canonized Washington Post reporters Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  The establishment liberal media have reveled in their destruction of Nixon for the past 40 years.  To liberals, this "historic achievement" was the peak of their "glory days," and they've used it to demonize Republicans and conservatives, trumpet their moral superiority, and continue their "long march through the institutions."

Donald Trump and Russian Collusion

With the election of 2016, the progressives' glory days may be coming to an end.  Since the upstart Trump was elected president by "deplorable" Americans, liberals have thoroughly unmasked themselves by their hysteria and lies.

Since Trump's election, the "Trump-Russia collusion" story has dominated virtually every news cycle in the MSM.  But is it believable that the left has suddenly abandoned its century-old love affair with international communism?  Not likely.  More likely, the Alinskyites in the Democrat party recognized a "never waste a crisis" moment.  Like a virus in search of a weakness in the body, the left created an opportunistic infection and injected it into the body politic.

Using a phony "Russian dossier" commissioned by Hillary's campaign and written by a washed up British spy, the DNC (colluding with the FBI and the Deep State) manufactured an equally phony narrative that Trump had "colluded" with Russians to...well, to do what, exactly?  Mesmerize millions of Hillary-supporters into voting Republican?  Hack into thousands of county voting machines to erase paper ballots and check the other box?  Expose Hillary as a serial liar and traitor and email-eraser?

Walter Duranty and the Treason of the Press

The history of American left is full of historical revisionism, but the magnitude of this "Russian reversal" is vaster than Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy."  Consider: in 1932, New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.  His dispatches deliberately covered up the Soviet government-created famine of 1932-1933 in the Ukraine.  An estimated 4 to 5 million Ukrainian "kulaks" (independent farmers) and peasants were starved to death when the Soviets confiscated their crops and appropriated their land under their genocidal policy of "forced agricultural collectivization."

As this human catastrophe was unfolding, Duranty wrote: "There is no famine or actual starvation nor is there likely to be" (November 15, 1931).  Two years later, when the famine had run its deadly course, Duranty continued his campaign as "Stalin's Apologist" and wrote: "Any report of a famine in Russia today is an exaggeration or malignant propaganda" (August 23, 1933).  This master malignant propagandist of the left has been quoted by an on-site observer as saying:

What are a few million dead Russians in a situation like this[?] Quite unimportant. This is just an incident in the sweeping historical changes here. I think the entire matter is exaggerated.

Holodomor Memorial, Kyiv, Ukraine.
("Death by Forced Starvation" of millions via Stalin's artificial famine, 1932-33.)

Fast-forward 71 years to 2003.  Ukrainian-Americans were demanding that the Pulitzer Committee revoke Duranty's prize, but the committee refused.  Under pressure, the New York Times issued a tepid and vacuous statement acknowledging Duranty's reporting as "misleading."  When asked to return the prize, the "Newspaper of Record" lamely responded, "The Times does not have the award in its possession."

Here we are in the deepest waters of the swamp.

The Camouflage of Hating Nixon

What do we make of 70 years of the left's extreme hatred of Richard Nixon?  Over the past century, liberals have created a mythological "evil empire of conservatism," embodied in their white-hot hatred of Nixon and now President Trump.  With Hillary's defeat and the belated eruption of all the Obama-era scandals, leftists have finally been exposed as the evil empire of liberalism.  The monster in their mirror is themselves.

I won't make excuses for Nixon's crimes: the break-in, wiretapping, and theft at the DNC offices; the hush money, the enemies list, the abuses of power.  Nor will I minimize Nixon's cover-up and obstruction of justice.  However, I think it's important to see Nixon's career in the fullest context of his 30 years in public service.

More importantly, I find it ironic and despicable that liberals have masked their much greater abuses of power, extensive corruption of our political and civic institutions, and systematic dismantling of our Constitutional Republic behind their destruction of a political enemy over 40 years ago – all while projecting a phony moral superiority over decent, hard-working Americans they despise but will never understand: Hillary's "basket of deplorables."

The Crimes of Hillary Clinton and the Progressives

The ironies are abundant.  Hillary Clinton, a primary face of the Democratic Party for decades, was fired from her staff position on the House Judiciary Committee for lying and unethical behavior during the Democrats' Watergate investigation.  (See here, here, and here.)  In collusion with her husband, Bill; other Democrats; and the Russians, Hillary Clinton has abused her power in countless corruptions: her war on women her husband exploited and raped; her betrayal, lies, and cover-up in the Benghazi attack; her illegal server and destruction of 33,000 emails under subpoena; her sale of classified secrets, bribes, and extortion for $145 million; and her approval of the sale of 20% of America's uranium to Russia while secretary of state.

That's a lot of criminality and collusion – with Bill, the Democrats, the MSM, and the Russians!  Now they're blaming Trump for their own Russian collusion.  Compared to the scope and severity of their crimes, Nixon was just a schoolyard bully.

The Legacy of Richard Nixon

Let me restate my heresy: Richard Nixon was a flawed man but a great president who did enormous good for the country he loved.  His successful prosecution of communist agents in high government positions during the Cold War made him a target of the left for his entire career.  His historic opening of China to the West, détente with the Soviet Union, ending the draft, and winding down the Vietnam War are major accomplishments he deserves to be remembered for.

Nixon is long overdue for an objective re-evaluation.  His abuses of power and cover-up of Watergate at the end of his political career have overshadowed his extraordinary legacy for far too long.  Let a fair-minded historian write a new biography of this damaged but great historical figure and release him from the infamy of his final years.

...and rescue him from the calumny of "compassionate progressives" guilty of far larger crimes and treasonous actions.