Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beyond the Grave

More tapes released from the Nixon library reveal the late president’s true feelings about Roe v. Wade.

On Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence.

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

I can see why the GOP latched on to the religious fundamentalists to be their point people on the issue; obviously Mr. Nixon didn’t care about the “unborn” and was perfectly willing to kill a baby if it happened to be interracial. Nice.

He also commiserated with Billy Graham over the Jewish community being opposed to his evangelical campus ministries, saying they risked provoking anti-semitism — something Mr. Nixon was all too familiar with — and he knew the peace agreement in Vietnam wouldn’t last but signed it anyway because it showed all those anti-war Congressmen up; he viewed them as “treasonable.”

Every so often we need a reminder about just how utterly repulsive a man he was.