LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Posted November 11, 2020
The late impressionist David Frye had a routine where President Richard Nixon, as a high school football benchwarmer, urged his coach to let him in the game. “I have a plan that can win the game,” Nixon assured the coach. “And to this day”, moderated Frye, “that coach is still wondering exactly what Dick Nixon’s plan was.”
Those old enough may remember that Nixon had an equally secretive, albeit less comedic plan to end the Vietnam War, just one catch: you had to vote him into the White House for him to unveil his plan. Revealing it sooner, Nixon reasoned, would tip the communists off to our intentions.
If this campaigning strategy sounds familiar, it’s probably because you follow current events. “I have a plan for that” chirped Elizabeth Warren during the Democratic debates. Estimates on the Green New Deal range from $51-93 trillion, and Bernie Sanders suggested erasing all student debt.
But as Illinois Republican Sen. Everette Dirksen reputedly said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Remember when a billion dollars was considered a lot of money?
President Trump’s health care plan to replace Obamacare, a promise he’s made five times in 2020 alone is my favorite “secret plan” example. It’s always just a few weeks away, but will be worth the wait.
How does that saying go, “You can fool all of the people some of the time…”?
Nixon’s plan to end the Vietnam War was successful—for Nixon. It helped him get elected in 1968. The actual war ended differently.
When the smoke clears from the November 3rd election, we’ll better understand what we’ve learned since 1968—if anything.
Itasca, Illinois 60143