Nixon and “Forgotten” Middle Class; Cindy Sheehan for Congress …

by on October 22, 2008


You discuss Barack Obama in terms of changing the Nixon “script” by addressing middle-class woes. No question Obama’s way ahead of John McCain here, but is it correct to characterize this new Democrat as turning “the clock back”? And strange to look to Nixon, the disgraced, almost impeached father of modern divisiveness, the Southern strategy, and misleading, highly distorted campaigning — considering Obama represents the opposite in tone and togetherness.

And to play the skeptic, for now there’s no new intact paradigm, just campaign promises, not quite enough yet to “deliver for the middle-class” and forestall a “shift to the Republicans for the foreseeable future.” That will take years and years and is anything but certain, with this right-leaning country and resistance to share resources (thus the McCain nonsense rejecting “spreading the wealth” when it means no more than fairer taxation, not “welfare” giveaways).

Of course, Obama doesn’t exactly share Nixon’s (non-minority) constituency and, especially since Reagan, the GOP has torpedoed middle-class economic interests. Obama, I’m sure you agree, offers far more than new scripts but transformative messages that fit the historic shift you identify: 1) that government can and must be made to work again, for as many as possible (with another New Deal); and 2) we are one people whose nationality is strengthened, not weakened, by vital partnerships, both domestic and international (that problems, certainly terrorism, global warming and pandemics, or of late banking, must be approached collectively).

For me, that means (1) restoring the Constitution, thus my support for an ex-Constitutional Law professor (without another embarrassing FISA vote, of course, or support for Signing Statements); and (2) reestablishing full contact with close neighbors and those in the world whose interests we share. Yes, Nixon did some of that with China but less so in how long he took to leave Vietnam.

No, I don’t see Obama as a radical break so in that sense your historical perspective is valuable. But God, Obama is such a refreshing change in tone and intellectual subtlety from the “ignorance is good” Republicans — unlike the knowledgeable Nixon — that the very high expectations Obama raises loom, as always, as both blessings and potential shortfalls.

Robert Becker
Mendocino CA

Dear Editor:

Cindy Sheehan, 8th District Congressional candidate, embodies all we are yearning for. She is for a peace not imposed by militarism. She is for the restoration of our constitutional rights (especially our fourth amendment right to privacy). She is for economic fairness (bail out the working class not the corporate class). She is for universal single-payer health care. And most important she is for the end of wars of exploitation.


Denise D’Anne
San Francisco

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