“We will move forward together, or not at all,” said President Obama in his State of the Union address. Readers of this blog may have noticed that this line echoed one from RN’s 1969 inaugural: “To go forward at all is to go forward together.” The similarity is not a coincidence. RN took office after a turbulent year that included violence against political figures. On the day after his victory, he said: “I saw many signs in this campaign. Some of them were not friendly. Some were very friendly. But the one that touched me the most was — a teenager held up the sign ‘bring us together.’ And that will be the great objective of this administration, at the outset, to bring the American people together.”
Government reorganization was a major theme of President Obama’s address. It was also a major theme of the Nixon Administration. RN said in his 1971 State of the Union:
Based on a long and intensive study with the aid of the best advice obtainable, I have concluded that a sweeping reorganization of the executive branch is needed if the Government is to keep up with the times and with the needs of the people.
I propose, therefore, that we reduce the present 12 Cabinet Departments to eight … Under this plan, rather than dividing up our departments by narrow subjects, we would organize them around the great purposes of government. Rather than scattering responsibility by adding new levels of bureaucracy, we would focus and concentrate the responsibility for getting problems solved.
The sweeping reorganization did not pass, but RN did make an important innovation when he reconfigured the Bureau of the Budget into the Office of Management and Budget that we know today.