Headline: What Joe Biden can learn from Richard Nixon’s playbook
Sub-headline: As it did 50 years ago, the US economy finds itself at a turning point
While the ‘spell of Nixon Nostalgia’ lasts, the reader should consider this:
Headline: Edward M. Kennedy: The Man Who Killed Health Care Reform
Sub-headline: Don’t cry for me, Martha’s Vineyard.
Nixon strongly believed that a national health insurance plan was crucial. In that 1974 State of the Union Address, he declared that “the time is at hand this year to bring comprehensive, high quality health care within the reach of every American”. Actually, this statement is not surprising considering Nixon’s personal history of poverty and family illness. (He lost two brothers to tuberculosis, the illnesses dealing a heavy blow to the family finances, and in fact proposed a national health insurance bill when he arrived in Congress in 1947.) Nixon sounds very much like Obama, when he said in 1974 that he did not want to see “other families of modest means…driven …to bankruptcy because of the inability to handle medical care problems of a catastrophic type”.
However, the “liberal” opposition, spearheaded by the lobbying of the then-powerful AFL-CIO and United Autowokers, proved too much for an administration spending significant energy on defending against the rising tide of the Watergate affair.
Kennedy did begin secret negotiations with the Nixon White House, but he fell prey to the pressures of the unions, as labor leaders wished for a single-payor system which they felt would be rather easily achieved once a Democrat was elected to the presidency in the face of the Watergate scandal. Many felt that Kennedy would be that Democrat, and therefore he had no business throwing a lifeline to the sinking Nixon administration.
This probably not what political technocrat Jeffrey Garten, nor his enthusiast Ms. Foroohar, had in mind but it is an object lesson in American political hypocrisy ,manifested by both Parties!