Barry Kelner is an acquaintance of ours, a Twin Cities banker whose wife worked in our law firm quite a few years ago. Barry has an op-ed in tomorrow’s Minneapolis Star Tribune; he wrote to point it out to us and kindly added that we inspired him to take the plunge into punditry.
Barry’s piece is titled: “30 years later, Nixon’s nemesis twists in the wind.” He recalls the tough times, for campus conservatives, of thirty years ago, as liberals like Dan Rather delighted in the downfall of Richard Nixon. The wheel, now, has turned in a variety of ways, as Barry notes:
[H]opes of correcting the historical record on Nixon were all but dashed by Watergate. For when he left the White House under that stain, liberals felt vindicated on all the other charges they had hurled at him as well.
Little did they know what 30 years could accomplish.
Today conservative columnists populate the op-ed pages of the New York Times (including Nixon speechwriter Bill Safire, no less!). National Review has been joined by a number of similar conservative journals, such as the Weekly Standard and the American Spectator.
Rush Limbaugh has spawned a series of national conservative talk show hosts with hefty elite Eastern credentials the left had assumed it owned — Michael Medved (Yale), Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett (both Harvard), and Dennis Prager (Columbia — yes!).
And most refreshing of all, private citizen Internet bloggers like the Twin Cities’ own Powerlineblog.com have recently demonstrated, with cogent analysis and dogged determination, the ability to force previously invincible Dan Rather and CBS to be accountable for their mistakes. Miracle of miracles!
No, 30 years ago I never dreamed that Richard Nixon’s name might again be invoked to enthusiastic applause, as it was last summer by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Republican National Convention. Nor did I expect to see his nemesis Dan Rather twisting in the wind as a result of his own lack of openness.
It would be wrong (to borrow a Nixon phrase), of course, to delight in another’s misfortune, but can anyone blame us if we pause — for just a moment — to savor the sweet irony of it all?