(45.) RICHARD M. NIXON (1913-1994)
Republican Nixon/Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.
Defeated by Democrat John F. Kennedy/Lyndon B. Johnson, 1960
“Richard Nixon is a political figure who has consistently neutralized the efforts of friends and foes to mold him into a form alien to his own nature.”
Nixon exposed Alger Hiss, and the political stature he gained brought about his selection as running mate for General Dwight D. Eisenhower, which in turn put him in line for the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1960. From his political beginnings, Nixon realized that most ideological phrases are meaningless, that many who claim to be conservative are not, and conversely, liberals do not always ring true. He said, “A man’s approach to the issues is the important thing.”
His rule of action for the Soviet Union, if they were honestly concerned with ending the Cold War, was: “Hard deeds are what the world wants to see.”
There is belief that if Nixon had refused John Kennedy’s challenge for television debates, the result of the election might have been different. Regardless, the two young leaders made a clean and interesting race, and each finished with the respect and goodwill of the electorate.