Wednesday - March 6, 2013 at 12:41 am

The following is from a speech given by Patrick J. Buchanan during the Richard M. Nixon Centennial celebration in Washington, D.C., on January 9, 2013 – Source: NixonFoundation.org

We are here tonight to celebrate the centennial of a statesman, a profile in courage and an extraordinary man we are all proud to have served: the 37th president of the United States, Richard Milhouse Nixon.

Years ago, Meg Greenfield of The Washington Post wrote that she belonged to what she called “the Nixon generation.”
“What distinguishes us as a group,” she said, is that “we are too young to remember a time when Richard Nixon was not on the political scene, and too old reasonably to expect that we shall see one.” Greenfield was distressed about this.

Yet her thesis rings true. We are the Nixon Generation. We were born into and lived through what Bole Dole called “the Age of Nixon.”
And what a time it was — and what a man he was.

Home from the war in 1946, Richard Nixon was elected to the 80th Congress and swiftly became its most famous member. For he would exhibit early on an attribute that would mark his whole life: perseverance.

Because he believed a disheveled ex-communist named Whittaker Chambers, and because he distrusted an establishment icon, Alger Hiss, Rep. Nixon persevered to expose the wartime treason of Hiss.

By 1948, he was an American hero, so popular the Democratic Party did not field a candidate against him. In 1950, he captured a Senate seat with the largest majority in the history of California.

Yet the same people who just loved Harry Truman’s “Give ‘Em Hell” campaign of 1948 whined that Nixon played too rough.

In the Taft-Eisenhower battle of 1952, an internationalist, the Boss stood with Ike and, at 39, was the vice presidential nominee — and a man of destiny.

Then it was that the establishment first moved to bring him down. They hyped a phony story about a political fund, alleged it was for Sen. Nixon’s personal benefit, and instigated a hue and cry for Gen. Eisenhower to drop him from the ticket.

Nixon’s decision to defend his record and integrity in the “Checkers” speech, though mocked by his enemies, remains the most brilliant use of television by a political figure in the 20th century.

In the 1950s, he redefined the vice presidency as a force in foreign policy, braved a lynch mob in Caracas, became the first vice president to travel behind the Iron Curtain and confronted Nikita Khrushchev’s bluster in the “Kitchen Debate.”

By 1960, he had no serious challenger for the nomination.
After the closest election in a century, about which there hung the aroma of vote fraud in Texas and Illinois, he went home to California to run for governor. After a brutal primary, he was gaining on Gov. Brown when the Cuban missile crisis broke his momentum, and the Boss went down to his second defeat — and looked to be out for the count.

Believing he had nothing to lose, he came down from his suite the morning after that defeat to deliver to the press words that will live in infamy. As Cactus Jack Garner said, “He gave it to ‘em with the bark on.”

He was now thought to be finished. ABC put together an instant documentary titled, “The Political Obituary of Richard M. Nixon.” The featured interview in the obituary was political analyst Alger Hiss.

But, as Mark Twain said, reports of his death were premature.
Moving his family to New York to practice law, Richard Nixon entered what he would call his wilderness years.

But after the Goldwater-Rockefeller bloodbath in 1964, with the party bitterly divided, the Boss volunteered to introduce the nominee at the Cow Palace and did so in one of the finest addresses he ever delivered.

But after he brought that contentious convention together with his introduction, Sen. Goldwater proceeded to tear it apart again, declaring, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

Dwight Chapin was in the limo that carried the Boss away from the Cow Palace. He has told me what the Boss said about Sen. Goldwater’s speech. But there is no need to repeat those discouraging words here.

Almost all the other name Republicans abandoned Goldwater. The Old Man stood by him. He traveled the nation, working longer and harder for Goldwater and the party than the senator himself.

After the crushing defeat that fall, the Republican Party was reduced to one-half of the Democratic Party’s strength: 140 House seats, 32 senate seats, 17 governors. The Republican Party was a house divided and a house in ruins. It was an open question whether it would survive

And now began the greatest comeback in American political history.
When I arrived in New York to join the Boss in January 1966, his staff consisted of three people: I occupied one desk in the office outside his own. A second occupant was Rose Woods, and the third, a “Miss Ryan” — more exactly Patricia Ryan Nixon, the future first lady of the United States, from whom I used to bum cigarettes.

The altarpiece of that year was Richard Nixon’s six-weeks war against what LBJ called “My Congress.” Alone of the national Republicans, the Boss campaigned across the country — in 35 states and 80 congressional districts. In November, his bold prediction of a 40-seat Republican gain in the House proved conservative. We won 47.

After a year off, traveling the world, came the campaign of 1968, the most divisive year in American history since the Civil War.
Consider all that happened that year.

As we flew to New Hampshire the last day of January, the siege of Khe Sanh was at its height, and the Tet Offensive had just begun. Four weeks later, Gov. Romney quit the race. Sen. Eugene McCarthy then stunned the nation by capturing 42 percent of the vote against Lyndon Johnson. And Robert Kennedy declared for president.

On March 31, the Boss asked me to monitor the president’s speech on Vietnam on a car radio at LaGuardia — to brief him when he arrived back from visiting Julie at Smith. At the end of the speech, President Johnson announced he would not run again.

Four days after this political earthquake, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis. Washington and 100 other cities exploded in riots that lasted days and required tens of thousands of troops.

In early June, a week after our Oregon primary victory, I got a 3 a.m. call from our Bible Building headquarters. Robert Kennedy had been shot in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen. I called the Boss. Julie and David had been watching TV and already awakened him.

That August, the Democratic Party came apart in a bloody brawl between police and protesters in the streets of Chicago. And so it went in that dramatic and divisive year. But at its end, Richard Nixon was president of the United States.
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