Nixon To Obama: A Comparison
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Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:59 am |
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A lot of people will liken the rise of Barack Obama to liberal
predecessors such as John F. Kennedy. While this is interesting,
Obama and Kennedy have very little to do with each other. Obama does
have some early parallels to another American president though it is
not Kennedy and really not Lincoln either. If you want a glimpse,
take this quick comparison between Obama and one Richard Milhaus
1. Nixon appointed university professors and people who disagreed
with him to his cabinet ie George Schultz and Henry Kissinger.
Daniel Patrick Moynahan was a member of Nixon’s staff. Obama has
appointed two previous rivals (Clinton and Richardson) to his
Cabinet and two Republicans as well.
2. Nixon inherited an unpopular war from a different party in Vietnam
and spoke of a plan to end the war. Obama like wise inherits a
unpopular war in Iraq started by another party.
3. Nixon was elected in 1968 which was an Olympics year. Nixon also
supported a détente with China. China hosted the 2008 Olympics. Obama
has taken pains to say that he would sit down with out pre-conditions
with Iran and has even taken steps to create an office to do so and
make contact with Iran (again a traditional enemy). It would be
interesting to see if the 2048 Olympics consider Tehran.
4. Nixon had as a right hand man H.R. Haldeman. Haldeman himself said
that “every President has to have a son of a bitch and I guess I’m
Nixon’s.” Obama’s right hand man Rahm Emmanuel has been described as
a total bastard by members of his own party.
5. Nixon supported the Pakistani side of the Indo-Pakistan war.
Obama not only supports greater diplomacy with Pakistan but also
supports entering Pakistan to help stop Taliban insurgency and
6. Nixon founded the Environmental Protection Agency and the Drug
Enforcement Agency. Obama held a seat on the Environment and Public
Works State Committee and has made alternative fuels one of the
tenets of his campaign.
7. Nixon endorsed the Anti-Ballistic missile treaty which specifically
curtailed the development of missile defense systems in space. Obama
has promised to not “weaponize space” and has come out against the
Future Combat Systems or FCS.
8. Nixon was the architect of the “Philadelphia Plan” which started
Affirmative action in the United States. Obama was the first black
president of the Harvard Law Review. Nixon did more for ‘actual
integration’ than any of his predecessors.
9.Nixon was famously mistrustful of the media.Obama’s camp is getting
pretty famously slow with the release of information about Rod
Blagojevich contacts especially through Emmanuel.
10.Nixon played basketball at Whittier College. Obama, an avid
basketball player, has played not only with Members of the New York
Knicks but also lettered in basketball in high school.
11. Nixon was a lawyer graduating from the Duke University school of
law. Obama was a lawyer attending the Columbia School of Law.
12. Nixon had two daughters. (Tricia and Julia)Barack Obama has two
daughters. (Malia Ann and Sasha)
13. Nixon entered the United States House of Representatives in 1947
in his mid thirties. Barack Obama entered the Illinois House of
Representative in 1997 in his mid-thirties.
14. Nixon was an avid pipe smoker. Barack Obama has tried to quit
smoking on several unsuccessful occasions.
15. Nixon wrote a best seller called Six Crises. Barack Obama wrote a
best seller called the Audacity of Hope.
16. The presidential approval ratings between Lyndon Johnson and
George W. Bush (both Texans) leading up to the wins by Nixon and
Obama are eerily similar.
17. Both of their Vice-Presidential appointments come from
essentially the same area. Joseph Biden was from Scranton,
Pennsylvania. Spiro Agnew was from Baltimore, Maryland. The total
driving distance between the two cities is less than 200 miles.
18. Both did their undergraduate work in California (Whittier for
Nixon and Occidental for Obama) before moving east for law degrees
(Duke for Nixon and Columbia for Obama).
19. Nixon won his Senate seat in 1950 and was on the ticket as Vice
President in 1952 not actually finishing out his term in the Senate.
Barack Obama was elected to the Senate in 2004, started campaigning
in 2006 and became President in 2008 not actually finishing out his
20. Both men were unusually close to their mothers. Nixon described
Hannah Nixon as a “quaker saint” and Obama described Ann Dunham
as “the dominant figure in my early life.” Neither woman would
actually live to see their sons take the Oath of Office.
21. Barack Obama is 6 foot 1 and 180 pounds roughly. Nixon was 5 feet
11 and 175 pounds roughly.
22. Nixon’s landslide win over Helen Gahagan in 1950 and Obama’s win
over Alan Keyes in 2004 both represented historic margins of victory
for a Senate race at that time. Nixon’s in the state of California
and Obama’s in the state of Illinois.
23. Both had surprisingly midwestern roots, Nixon’s mother was born
in Jennings County Indiana. Obama’s mother was born in Ft.
Leavenworth Kansas. Both women also moved west (California and
Hawaii) in later years.
24. Nixon and Obama were both elected in the same election cycle
forty years apart.
25. Obama’s first term will end on January 19th, 2013. If Nixon were
alive, he would have turned 100 eleven days before that.