Source:Richard Nixon Presidential Library– President Nixon’s OMB Director Richard P. Nathan.
Source:The New Democrat
“August 08, 2011: Nixon administration officials discuss RN’s national policy to transfer power from the federal government to state and local governments.
Location: Richard Nixon Presidential Library
Edwin Harper, Nixon White House Domestic Council Assistant Director;
James Falk, Nixon White House Domesctic Council Associate Director;
Richard Nathan, Assistant Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Nixon;
Shirley Anne Warshaw (moderator), Professor of Political Science, Gettysburg College.
Organized by Nixon White House Associate Director Geoffrey C. Shepard, the forums are co-sponsored by the National Archives and the Richard Nixon Foundation.”
From the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
I think to understand what Richard Nixon’s vision for what they called the New Federalism, you have to understand the political climate of the 1960s, the 1970s, and even the 1950s, when Richard Nixon was Dwight Eisenhower’s Vice President. And then you also have to understand what the Republican Party was like back then as well. Otherwise the New Federalism, the concept of a public safety net coming from a Republican President, will look very alien and foreign to you. It might look like a hip-hopper at a Mississippi country music festival, or something so out of place like that.
During the 1960s, we had President John F. Kennedy’s vision for the New Frontier, where he wanted to use the Federal Government to help people in need, help themselves. Then we had President Lyndon’s B Johnson’s Great Society, where they believed so American should have to go without and that it was the job of the Federal Government to make sure that everyone is taken care of.
When Richard Nixon becomes President in January, 1969, he didn’t come back to Washington to destroy the New Deal or Great Society. He didn’t have the power to do that with a Democratic Congress (House and Senate) with solid majorities in it. And he didn’t thinking eliminating those programs would be good politically or on policy grounds either. But he believed as a Republican that the country needed a choice and not have a Republican President that governs as a Progressive Democrat.
This might sound hard to believe with Watergate, the plumbers and all the constitutional civil liberty violations that the Nixon White House was guilty of in the early 1970s. But ideologically, Richard Nixon was a Progressive Republican. He had a lot more in common with Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey, Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, then he ever had in common with Robert Taft, or Barry Goldwater, or Ronald Reagan. Nixon believed in progress and using government to help create that progress. But he wasn’t a Socialist either or even a Democratic Socialist.
The New Federalism is the Progressive Republican vision of the public safety net in America, where you would have public programs available for people who truly need them, but they would be designed to move people out of poverty, with educational and work requirements, as well as time limits on then. And they would be run by the state and local government’s. But by the Feds, unlike with the Great Society and New Deal.
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