Richard Nixon: Speeches, Writings, Documents

By Rick Perlstein; Richard Nixon | Go to book overview

8.
“When you go out to shoot rats”
(March 13, 1954)

On the campaign trail and in the Eisenhower adminis-
tration, Nixon's role was to serve as Eisenhower's
hatchet man: whenever there had been a dirty job to
get done, he had been there to do it—thus preserving
Eisenhower's political capital as the nation's warm and
wise national grandfather. In 1954, after years of bene-
fiting from Joseph McCarthy's fusillades against Dem-
ocrats, the Republican establishment judged McCarthy
had gone too far with his attacks on the army, and sent
Nixon to carry out the hit on TV—a surgical strike de-
signed to both neutralize a political embarrassment,
and preserve the notion of the Democrats as a party
that coddled Communists.

… We know from studying history of the past ten years that men like Alger Hiss and Harry White turned over secret papers to the Communists and we know that also they were in a position to exert influence for the Communists on policies of the United States.

We know that our atomic experts say that the Russians got the secret of the atomic bomb three to five years before they would have gotten it be

-83-

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