By Sarah Katherine Mergel (auth.)
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Extra resources for Conservative Intellectuals and Richard Nixon
Agnew, a vocal advocate for the rule of law from a border state, appealed to conservatives and R IC H A R D N I XO N: A N E L E C TA B L E C O N S E RVAT I V E ? 25 southern voters. William F. 51 For many conservatives—those leading the movement and those casting ballots at the convention—Nixon may not have been the ideal conservative candidate, but he was a respectable choice. Russell Kirk posited that Nixon won the Republican nomination for three reasons: (1) his speeches were more compelling than Romney’s or Rockefeller’s; (2) his domestic political experience and foreign policy expertise convinced most Republicans he could lead the country; and (3) his tireless efforts campaigning for the Republican Party in the 1960s paid off.
Nixon implemented three means for appeasing American opinion of the conf lict in Vietnam. First, he withdrew American troops through the Vietnamization program, which turned more responsibility over to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). 16 Finally, Nixon appealed to the patriotism of average Americans with his calls for support from the silent majority— average taxpaying citizens. On November 3, 1969, the president explained why the United States became involved in Vietnam and why it was important to win the peace.
24 Conservatives applauded Nixon’s silent majority speech largely because they so disdained the antiwar protestors. ”25 Ernest van den Haag, a frequent contributor to National Review, concluded that merely pulling out of Vietnam would not stop discontented youth from protesting; questioning the broader values of society, they would protest about something else. 26 As the second year of the Nixon administration began, conservative intellectuals once again called for decisive action from the president.
Conservative Intellectuals and Richard Nixon by Sarah Katherine Mergel (auth.)