Sic Transit Vir

cognitivedissonance:

Rebloggable by request:

I’m visiting my dad and he’s insisting Obama starting the federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Help!

Anonymous

Meg at Cognitive Dissonance:

Nope. Thank this guy:

That would be Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the…

I will always remember Nixon as one of the worst ever, but he was playing a different game.  His era saw nothing like the degree of polarized obstructionist legislative gridlock we have today.

Nixon actually had to pay attention to his political opponents, understand them, negotiate with them, and meet them halfway on issues far more often than the GOP today would allow.  He also listened to people within his own party who were strong advocates for issues like family planning and the environment.  Along the way he put his name on much of the legislation that we now consider important modern progressive accomplishments.

So it was Richard Nixon who signed the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970, amending the Public Health Service Act.

Nixon got on the environmental bandwagon and signed the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.  NEPA established the modern mandate for Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements.  He oversaw the creation of the EPA, signed the Clean Air Act Extension of 1970, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  He originally backed the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, signed by Ford two months after Nixon’s resignation.

Nixon also issued Executive Order 11593, “Protection and Enhancement of the Cultural Environment” in 1971, which united the goals of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 with NEPA.  The order ultimately established modern cultural resource management by mandating that areas of “historical, architectural or archaeological significance” should be surveyed and protected alongside the environmental resources.

Forty years ago GOP leaders openly championed all these issues.  Some honestly believed in the causes; others played along to court voters by adopting reasonable sounding positions that might benefit the nation.  To see how much has changed since then, go read their state party platforms for a preview of what we might expect to come out of the national convention in Tampa this August.