Sunday, December 24, 2006

will 43 break the spell?

* chris sends along this 5 min youtube of nixon's resignation speech. do you think Bush's resignation speech will have a tenth of the grace(!) that nixon had? what do you think Bush will say at his?

btw - there havent been many recent (50 years) presidents who weren't impeached and/or didnt resign in disgrace and/or weren't subject to assassination attempts. clinton, bush 41 (arguably), JFK, reagan, carter, ford... who does that leave? LBJ, sorta?

that's quite a record for the Worlds Greatest Democracy (TM).

will 43 break the spell? (notwithstanding that lameass attempt in Georgia)


Don said...

do you think Bush's resignation speech will have a tenth of the grace(!) that nixon had? what do you think Bush will say at his?

"My administration and I plead not guilty, Mr. Chairman."

starroute said...

It only leaves out LBJ if you think that having to go on tv in early 1968, following the Tet offensive, and announce he would not be seeking reelection doesn't count as resigning in disgrace. (Though looking at the actual speech, I'll grant him that what then seemed like whitewashing the real extent of his rejection by the American people now comes across with a measure of grace that contrasts strongly with almost anything we've seen since then.)

Tonight, I renew the offer I made last August--to stop the bombardment of North Vietnam. We ask that talks begin promptly, that they be serious talks on the substance of peace. We assume that during those talks Hanoi will not take advantage of our restraint.

We are prepared to move immediately toward peace through negotiations.

So, tonight, in the hope that this action will lead to early talks, I am taking the first step to deescalate the conflict. We are reducing--substantially reducing--the present level of hostilities.

And we are doing so unilaterally, and at once.

Tonight, I have ordered our aircraft and our naval vessels to make no attacks on North Vietnam, except in the area north of the demilitarized zone where the continuing enemy buildup directly threatens allied forward positions and where the movements of their troops and supplies are clearly related to that threat.

The area in which we are stopping our attacks includes almost 90 percent of North Vietnam's population, and most of its territory. Thus there will be no attacks around the principal populated areas, or in the food-producing areas of North Vietnam.

Even this very limited bombing of the North could come to an early end--if our restraint is matched by restraint in Hanoi. But I cannot in good conscience stop all bombing so long as to do so would immediately and directly endanger the lives of our men and our allies. Whether a complete bombing halt becomes possible in the future will be determined by events.

Our purpose in this action is to bring about a reduction in the level of violence that now exists.

It is to save the lives of brave men--and to save the lives of innocent women and children. It is to permit the contending forces to move closer to a political settlement.

And tonight, I call upon the United Kingdom and I call upon the Soviet Union--as cochairmen of the Geneva Conferences, and as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council--to do all they can to move from the unilateral act of deescalation that I have just announced toward genuine peace in Southeast Asia.

[large snip]

These projected increases in expenditures for our national security will bring into sharper focus the Nation's need for immediate action: action to protect the prosperity of the American people and to protect the strength and the stability of our American dollar.

On many occasions I have pointed out that, without a tax bill or decreased expenditures, next year's deficit would again be around $20 billion. I have emphasized the need to set strict priorities in our spending. I have stressed that failure to act and to act promptly and decisively would raise very strong doubts throughout the world about America's willingness to keep its financial house in order.

Yet Congress has not acted. And tonight we face the sharpest financial threat in the postwar era--a threat to the dollar's role as the keystone of international trade and finance in the world.

Last week, at the monetary conference in Stockholm, the major industrial countries decided to take a big step toward creating a new international monetary asset that will strengthen the international monetary system. I am very proud of the very able work done by Secretary Fowler and Chairman Martin of the Federal Reserve Board.

But to make this system work the United States just must bring its balance of payments to--or very close to--equilibrium. We must have a responsible fiscal policy in this country. The passage of a tax bill now, together with expenditure control that the Congress may desire and dictate, is absolutely necessary to protect this Nation's security, to continue our prosperity, and to meet the needs of our people.

What is at stake is 7 years of unparalleled prosperity. In those 7 years, the real income of the average American, after taxes, rose by almost 30 percent--a gain as large as that of the entire preceding 19 years.

So the steps that we must take to convince the world are exactly the steps we must take to sustain our own economic strength here at home. In the past 8 months, prices and interest rates have risen because of our inaction.

[large snip]

Throughout my entire public career I have followed the personal philosophy that I am a free man, an American, a public servant, and a member of my party, in that order always and only.

For 37 years in the service of our Nation, first as a Congressman, as a Senator, and as Vice President, and now as your President, I have put the unity of the people first. I have put it ahead of any divisive partisanship.

And in these times as in times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand.

There is division in the American house now. There is divisiveness among us all tonight. And holding the trust that is mine, as President of all the people, I cannot disregard the peril to the progress of the American people and the hope and the prospect of peace for all peoples.

So, I would ask all Americans, whatever their personal interests or concern, to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences.

Fifty-two months and 10 days ago, in a moment of tragedy and trauma, the duties of this office fell upon me. I asked then for your help and God's, that we might continue America on its course, binding up our wounds, healing our history, moving forward in new unity, to clear the American agenda and to keep the American commitment for all of our people.

United we have kept that commitment. United we have enlarged that commitment.

Through all time to come, I think America will be a stronger nation, a more just society, and a land of greater opportunity and fulfillment because of what we have all done together in these years of unparalleled achievement.

Our reward will come in the life of freedom, peace, and hope that our children will enjoy through ages ahead.

What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.

Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.

With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country.

Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.

«—U®Anu§—» said...

Thanks for the reminder about LBJ and the Tet Offensive, starroute. It is this precise moment in history which makes me opposed to these police actions and wars the United States drags itself into, and I remember a subtle detail. Tet forced constituents to consider other criticisms of the war in Vietnam. There were many, but one of the most bitter was the news, originating from soldiers, that we were exterminating civilians, the very people we were supposed to be helping. Johnson got more than repudiation for such bad news, he got a full measure of personal hate from his constituents.

Regrettable to see that happen to any president, even a really bad one like Dubya, but it happens, and the president deserves it. As you recall, Vietnam didn't end until large American corporate interests complained to Nixon the war was hurting their overseas trade. Then the war ended promptly, without regard to the communist conquest which followed.

And we thought, "we'll always know better than to let this happen again." Except for a few brief, glorious moments in the 70s, it never ended, and the United States has become a divided country between those who believe in continuous war and those who don't.

LeeB said...

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! to alla'yous!!