James Reston, a leading voice on the NEW YORK TIMES, has just quoted with approval a statement in the WALL STREET JOURNAL that President Richard Nixon’s “misfortune is that his words are not widely believed anymore.” So what else is new?
The only mystery is why it has taken such prestigious observers so long to discover what conservatives have known for four years, namely that Nixon’s words are not believable. The recent equivocations about the Watergate tapes are only peripheral evidences of the credibility problem which had already manifested itself on so many other issues of more immediate and vital concern to the American people.
On October 24, 1968, in a nationwide radio speech, candidate Richard Nixon solemnly promised to “restore our objective of clearer military superiority.” Last year, he repudiated his own words in the SALT Agreements by binding the United States to a 3-to-2 military inferiority in nuclear missiles and submarines. He even scrapped Lyndon Johnson’s missile defense program, thereby leaving our cities defenseless.
In Nixon’s 1968 campaign literature, he solemnly opposed price and wage controls as “an abdication of fiscal responsibility. Experience has indicated that they do not work, can never be administrated equitably and are not compatible with a free economy.” Yet, President Nixon has inflicted us with four Phases of price and wage controls.
Candidate Richard Nixon promised that he “would not agree to admitting [Red China] to the UN.” Yet, President Nixon not only agreed to, but pushed, the entry of Red China into the United Nations, and failed to veto the ouster of the Republic of China.
Candidate Nixon promised “to reverse the irresponsible fiscal policies which produce [inflation].” Yet, he has not reversed, but increased, those irresponsible fiscal policies, giving us the largest peacetime deficits, more foreign giveaways, two devaluations of our dollar, and the highest interest rates in history.
On November 20, 196?, candidate Nixon said it “makes no sense to give credit to the Soviet Union.” The I968 Republican Platform on which Nixon was elected stated emphatically: “Only when Communist nations prove by actual deeds that they genuinely seek world peace and will live in harmony with the rest of the world, will we support expansion of East-West trade.” The Soviets are not genuinely seeking world peace, either in Vietnam or in the Middle East yet the Nixon Administration has been aggressively promoting trade financed by the American taxpayers. He has given hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayers’ money in subsidies and loans to provide the Soviet Union with American wheat, industrial plants and technology.
Lies about Watergate are dishonorable; but lies which cover up the deliberate deterioration of our defenses and our dollar affect the physical and financial security of every American citizen. It is not only President Nixon’s misfortune that “his words are not widely believed anymore.” It is the country’s misfortune, too.