I didn’t dislike Richard Nixon. He was not the anti-Christ many would have us believe. He was a moderate Republican who understood that programs needed to be run better, not eliminated. Was he likeable? Not particularly. He appeared to ill-at-ease and insecure at times. He was always calculating his next move.
He did some good things. He advanced our relationship with China, supported family planning, and supported a myriad of environmental issues. He signed into law: The National Environmental Policy Act (1969), The Clean Air Act Extension (1970), The Water Quality Improvement (1970), The National Wilderness Act (1970), The National Resource Recovery Act (1970), and The Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments (1972). Additionally he pledged his support to The Safe Drinking Water Act, but it had to wait for Ford’s signature a few months after Nixon resigned in 1974.
Speaking of Gerald Ford, Nixon’s appointment of him the vice presidency is still held against the former president. Like Lyndon Johnson before him, he was reviled and hated over the Vietnam War. Protests, demonstrators, and Cambodia bombings and Kent State were critical black marks against his presidency. His right hand man, Henry Kissinger, did nothing to enhance his image. Richard Nixon provided pure political theater at the time of his presidency and has continued to do so, even after his death.
There as definitely the good, the bad and the ugly. Will history be kinder and gentler to Richard M. Nixon? I believe it already is.