Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Nixonian Comeback for Newt?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Nixonian Comeback for Newt?

Article excerpt

Dear Newt:

Now that you're gone you are getting lots of advice. The polls would tell us that most people would like to see you disappear from public life. Americans will be happy if you just go back to teaching - anything but being in politics.

But in an informal questioning of some of our journalist breakfasters I found that they all thought that some way, somehow, "Newt will be back." So do I. Some of these observers say they think you will be running for president if the opportunity emerges. They, like Washington Post columnist David Broder, see your big chance coming in 2004, if in the meantime Al Gore or some other Democrat has become president. I differ on the timing - and that's what this letter is all about. I think you should "lie down and bleed for a while" (As that Scottish warrior did in that old ballad) and then, as he did, stand up on the battlefield and fight again. But "again" - for you - should be "very soon." I agree with what some of my colleagues are saying about your looking to Richard Nixon for your rehabilitation plan. But I think that Nixon - were he in your shoes - would be running for president next time around and not waiting for six years. And I'll tell you why. I was one of only a handful of reporters who was with Nixon in 1960 when, shortly after his narrow loss to Kennedy for president, he made a tour of the country to raise funds to pay for his campaign debts. Nixon was bitter. He said he had been "robbed," that it was only mob-produced votes in some of the big cities that had given his opponent the slender victory. But he was not, as some historians have described him, in the throes of despair. It soon became clear to those of us who sat with him on these plane rides that a surprisingly rejuvenated Richard Nixon was beginning to think about a comeback. And very soon Nixon was taking on Pat Brown for governor of California - and, again, being thumped badly. …

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