Richard M. Nixon: Politician, President, Administrator

By Leon Friedman; William F. Levantrosser | Go to book overview

Part II
Major Domestic Policies and Hard Decisions

In this part of the book we present discussions of the substance of policies, primarily domestic in nature, acted on during the Nixon Presidency. Although it is more and more difficult to separate domestic policy from foreign policy, we have attempted here, somewhat arbitrarily, to do so without losing sight of the close relationship between the two.

Perhaps the popular notion is that since President Nixon seemed to concentrate his attention primarily on foreign affairs, he had considerably less concern for domestic matters. It may therefore be somewhat surprising to see the scope and depth of actions and proposals on policies related to the role of the states in the federal system, social welfare and the family, civil rights, and the environment. The bridge between domestic and foreign affairs is probably more easily recognized in economic policies, which are also featured in this part.

The cornerstone of the Nixon Administration's approach to a revised relationship between the federal government and the states was established with the program for revenue sharing, hailed as the "New Federalism." David A. Caputo's paper provides the basis for an exchange between Richard P. Nathan and Paul H. O'Neill. Both theory and practice are considered in this dialogue.

In the area of social welfare we find perhaps the most surprising proposals, calling for the first major changes in a system in place since the New Deal period. Joan Hoff-Wilson and Carl Lieberman provide papers on the successes and failures encountered in a Congress controlled by the opposing party and suspicious of the major changes being suggested. Two seasoned veterans of these skirmishes, Robert H. Finch and Elliot L. Richardson, come to grips with the realities of changing and implementing social welfare policies.

Not unexpectedly the panel on civil rights reflected some rather sharp differences of opinion and strong criticisms of the Nixon Administration. The papers by Alvy L. King and Hugh D. Graham portrayed some inconsistency and incoherence in the Nixon approach, coming after the gains of the late fifties and

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