FRONT ROYAL, VA — Over the years, August has not been good to us.
But Mom always said, “try to find something nice to say about everybody.”
So, to paraphrase Richard Nixon, “let me say this about that.”
Congress goes on recess in August.
And now, getting back to Nixon, and August.
My southern liberal (some say they’re the worst kind) distant cousin incessantly needled me — his uninvited houseguest — in Dallas as his television blared the blow-by-blow of Nixon’s resignation forty long hot summers ago.
They even trotted out the old footage of Nixon’s “last press conference” after he lost the race for governor of California in 1962: “For 16 years, ever since the Hiss case, you’ve had a lot of fun. … a lot of fun. You’ve had a lot of opportunity to attack me, and I think I’ve given as good as I’ve taken.
“But as I leave you I want you to know,” Nixon told the press — “just think how much you're going to be missing. You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore. Because gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”
Yes. In the archived film, only one woman is visible in the packed room.
He might be long gone, but Nixon is the gift that keeps on giving — and the Left just keeps on kicking. While they swoon over Obama’s massive criminal enterprise, they swat at Nixon’s ghost as much in horror as in glee.
Benedict XV tried to keep Woodrow Wilson from succumbing to the British overtures to drag America into the war, but Baltimore prelate James Cardinal Gibbons feared that Americans would turn against Catholics forever if the Church opposed the war.
The man who nailed Alger Hiss and forever exposed the domestic Left for all to see will never be forgiven. The show trial is the longest-running charade in town, and the usual suspects keep on showing up, straining to concoct one more encore.
There is, thankfully, a sober alternative.
The Greatest Comeback, Pat Buchanan's new book which the Rubble will review presently, presents a healthy and welcome contrast to the repetitious drivel served up by media hacks who seem to be more ignorant with every passing August.
Not that I was a great Nixon fan. My father-in-law* ran against both Nixon and McGovern in 1972, offering the country “A Choice Not An Echo” redux.
He wanted his tombstone to read: “I got a million votes — that's a lot. I was alive — now I'm not.”
Alas, Arlington National Cemetery apparently frowned on the novel phraseology.
But enough of this hilarity. As far as Augusts go, we have also, and seriously, to consider 1914.
The War to End All Wars was a war indeed, but it never seemed to end. Perhaps it hasn't yet.
Some things haven’t changed. Pope Benedict XV did his best to bring the Great War to an early and amicable end — as amicable as a war’s aftermath can be — but to no avail.
Benedict tried to keep Woodrow Wilson from succumbing to the British overtures to drag America into the war, but Baltimore prelate James Cardinal Gibbons feared that Americans would turn against Catholics forever if the Church opposed the war.
…anti-Catholicism is much more sophisticated these days, and American Catholicism itself has seen better times. … Huge massacres and persecutions of Catholics on several continents receive scant public attention as they are drowned out by the noise of the liberal universe.
So Gibbons endorsed Wilson and the war, and Benedict was left high and dry — and Old Europe was destroyed forever.
Well, anti-Catholicism is much more sophisticated these days, and American Catholicism itself has seen better times.
And we’re not alone. Today Pope Francis has Catholics praying for peace in over a dozen time zones.
Huge massacres and persecutions of Catholics on several continents receive scant public attention as they are drowned out by the noise of the liberal universe.
Just when we think we've turned the corner, we confront another hard reminder that the Great War isn't quite over just yet.
Then there’s August 1945 — and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Their powerful punctuation certainly put an end of World War II, but not the Great War.
No, it careens onward like a rudderless barque on a stormy sea.
As Donoso Cortes once put it, evil never coasts: it demands acceleration — ever downward.
The man [Richard Nixon] who nailed Alger Hiss and forever exposed the domestic Left for all to see will never be forgiven. The show trial is the longest-running charade in town, and the usual suspects keep on showing up, straining to concoct one more encore.
Fifty years ago, Barry Goldwater won the California primary and won the Republican nomination for president in San Francisco. His running mate, Rep. Bill Miller, came to Notre Dame for a football game in a campaign stop in October.
University President Father Ted Hesburgh wasn’t elated. He tersely introduced his fellow Notre Dame alumnus to the press.
The first question: “Isn’t Goldwater an extremist?”
Miller: “Are you married?”
Miller: “Would you rather your wife be moderately faithful to you, or extremely faithful?”
End of press conference.
That was 1964. Ten years later, Nixon resigned. Ten years after that, Ronald Reagan won reelection in a landslide. And ten years after that, Republicans won both the House and the Senate in the last campaign that boasted at least a vestige of principle, based on the “Contract with America” — drawn up in Morton Blackwell’s Blue Ridge Mountain cabin, and now long forgotten.
Ten years later, in August 2004, George W. Bush held a triumphant convention that was all fear all the time. He won reelection, but not much else.
And 10 years after that — today — there is indeed plenty of fear to go around.
A lot of losers, and no winners.
*Editor’s Note: Dr. Manion’s father-in-law was former Congressman John G. Schmitz (R-Cal.).
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From Under the Rubble is copyright © 2014
by Christopher Manion.
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Christopher Manion served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College.
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