Richard Nixon: Speeches, Writings, Documents

By Richard Nixon; Rick Perlstein | Go to book overview

22.
Two political statements (1970)

Richard Nixon considered ending the liberal hold on
Congress in 1970 a life-and-death moment for his pres-
idency. The White House undertook unprecedented ef-
forts to tip the election in their favor. Instrumental to
his plan was jump-starting the slow, unsteady process
of recruiting conservative Southern voters to the Re-
publican Party. He closed 1969 with a bid for their
favor by nominating for the Supreme Court a South
Carolinian, Clement Haynsworth, who was forced to
withdraw because of financial improprieties; then a
Georgian, G. Harrold Carswell, who quit under fire
for his segregationist past and poor record as a judge.
Nixon then went on TV to deliver a bitter speech claim-
ing that Northern snobs would not let anyone with
“the misfortune of being born in the South” serve on
the nation's highest court.

The broader strategy In 1970 was to tie the break-
down in law and order to the Democrats. The point
man was Vice President Spiro Agnew, who barn-
stormed the country saying things like, “To penetrate
the cacophony of seditious drivel emanating from the
best-publicized clowns in our society and their fans in
the fourth estate, yes, my friends, to penetrate that
drivel, we need a cry of alarm, not a whisper.” The

-209-

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