At the Huffington Post, Ray Brescia writes of the phrase “Now, More Than Ever,” or NMTE:
Interestingly, it was not George W. Bush who introduced the phrase to the political discourse. In fact, it was another Republican President, Richard Nixon, who used the NMTE phrase in his re-election effort in1972. In that campaign, Nixon played on people’s fears and used the phrase to reassure the voting public that he was a steady and trustworthy hand at the rudder during turbulent times. And we all know how that turned out.
Actually, the phrase had been in political use for more than a century. For instance, the 1860 GOP platform said that the causes calling the party into existence “are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph.”
Neither was it novel for an incumbent to stress his own experience while raising doubts about the opposition. Accepting the Democratic nomination for a third term, FDR said:
The Government of the United States for the past seven years has had the courage openly to oppose by every peaceful means the spread of the dictator form of Government. If our Government should pass to other hands next January-untried hands, inexperienced hands—we can merely hope and pray that they will not substitute appeasement and compromise with those who seek to destroy all democracies everywhere, including here.
As for stirring fear, nothing that RN said during the 1972 campaign could have topped FDR’s assault against the GOP in the waning days of the 1940 race:
Something evil is happening in this country when a full page advertisement against this Administration, paid for by Republican supporters, appears—where, of all places?— in the Daily Worker, the newspaper of the Communist Party.
Something evil is happening in this country when vast quantities of Republican campaign literature are distributed by organizations that make no secret of their admiration for the dictatorship form of government.
Those forces hate democracy and Christianity as two phases of the same civilization. They oppose democracy because it is Christian. They oppose Christianity because it preaches democracy.
RN 1970: A photograph by portraitist Merrett Smith.
Compassionate, Bold, Courageous,… Zest for the job (not lonely but
awesome). Goals — reorganized govt. Idea magnet….
Open Channels for Dissent…. Progress — Participation
Most powerful office. Each day a chance to do something memorable for someone.
Need to be good to do good….
The nation must be better in spirit at the end of the term. Need for joy, serenity, confidence, inspiration.
Add element of lift to each appearance… Hard work — Imagination –
Compassion — Leadership — Understanding young –Intellectual expansion…
Cool — Strong — Organized — Temperate — Exciting …
Excitement — Joy in Life — Sharing. Lift spirit of people –
Pithy, memorable phrases.
As 2009 comes to an end, here is a brief (and highly selective) look back forty years ago — to 1969. Many other important and memorable events occurred — but their photos haven’t yet reached the internet.
On 20 January 1969, RN was inaugurated as the thirty-seventh President of the United States.
36 and 37: The Nixon and Johnson families followed the tradition of meeting at the White House and traveling together to the Capitol. As RN, PN, and Julie and David Eisenhower, and Tricia Nixon with LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson.
For the Inaugural Balls, PN wore a “mimosa silk satin gown with matching embroidered collar and cummerbund. Over the gown she wore a gold and silver embroidered jacket, encrusted with Austrian crystals” The gown, which was designed by Karen Stark for Harvey Berin, can now be seen at the Nixon Library.
Julie and David Eisenhower with RN and PN at one of the Inaugural Balls.
The Official Presidential photo chosen for use throughout the Federal government.
RN settled in with his Cabinet — pictured here in the West Wing’s Cabinet Room…….
….and in the White House — where David and Julie join RN, PN, and Tricia for a meal in the Family Quarters’ Private Dining Room.
26 January : RN and PN invited Rev. Billy Graham to conduct an ecumenical worship service on their first Sunday in the White House. RN, PN, and Tricia (who lived in the White House during 1969) posed on the North Portico with Ruth and Billy Graham.
February : RN was pictured on the 21 February cover of LIFE at the Winter White House in Key Biscayne, relaxing while he prepared for his trip to Europe. The trip also made the 28 February cover of TIME:
23 February : RN and PN depart for Europe. As PN talks with Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, RN shakes hands with Senator Edward Kennedy.
One of the highlights of RN’s first trip to Europe was his meetings with President DeGaulle. After the official greetings, he introduced members of his official party (left to right, Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman, Domestic adviser John Ehrlichman, National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, and Secretary of State William Rogers.
2 March : RN met with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
Only a few weeks later, on 31 March, RN had the unexpected and sad opportunity to meet Charles DeGaulle again when the French President flew to Washington to attend President Eisenhower’s funeral.
31 March : President Eisenhower’s funeral in the Naitonal Cathedral.
7 April : As manager Ted Williams watches, RN throws out the first ball at the Senators-Yankess opener. The smiling Marine aide at RN’s shoulder is Jack Brennan.
29 April : RN hosted a 70th birthday party at the White House for Duke Ellington.
26 April : Wally MacNamee captured RN crowning Tricia Queen of the Azalea Festival in Norfolk, Virginia.
21 May : RN announced the appointment of Warren Burger as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
8 June : RN met in Guam with President Thieu of South Vietnam. On this trip, RN announced the Nixon Doctrine.
13 June : In the Rose Garden, Tricia and Julie present RN with a miniature surfboard in advance of his trip to the new Western White House in San Clemente, CA.
29 June : Along with DC Mayor Walter Washington, PN greeted Stevie Wonder for the kick off the the Capital’s “Summer in the Park” program.
2 July : Although the Eisenhowers weren’t living in the White House, Julie volunteered as a White House Tour Guide during the summer of ’69.
8 July : RN welcomed the Lion of Judah — Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie to the White House.
24 July : President Richard Nixon flew to the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to welcome Apollo XI astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin back home from the Moon.
30 July : Dirck Halstead photographed RN’s visit to combat troops at the First Division base at Di An, northest of Saigon.
PN visited with patients at the 24th Evacuation Hospital. Here she shakes hands with PFC. Thomas Casimere Jr., 21, of New Orleans, LA.
15 August : RN (complete with surfboard and “Surf’s Up” shirt) was at the Western White House in San Clemente when TIME’s cover pictured some of the issues and personalities that characterized his first half year in the White House.
25 September : RN welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir to the White House.
31 October : On Halloween, Tricia Nixon hosted a mask party at the White House for underprivileged children from the Washington DC area.
14 November RN, PN, and Tricia Nixon returned to Florida to witness Apollo XII launch.
19 November : RN bid farewell to Japanese Prime Minister Sato in the Rose Garden. In the Rose Garden: On Prime Minister Sato’s last day in Washington —21 November 1969— RN announced plans for the return of the Ryukyu Islands —including Okinawa— to Japan. The reversion took place on 15 May 1972.
December : PN welcomes children to a White House Christmas party.
December : RN, PN, and Tricia in front of the White House Tree on their first Christmas in the White House. PN chose a “National Flower Tree,” and arranged for disabled workers in Florida to make the ornaments of velvet and satin balls, each featuring a different state’s flower.
29 December : Tricia Nixon and her escort Edward Cox arrive at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
All in the Family: Tricia’s 2 year old Yorkshire terrier Pasha, Julie’s 7 year old miniature poodle Vicki, and RN’s year old Irish setter King Timahoe had their own decorations, stockings, and Christmas tree in the Family Quarters in December 1969.
The First Family in 1969: The Nixon family posed for a portrait on 15 June in the Yellow Oval Room of the Family Quarters.
In A Life in Full, his biography of RN, Conrad Black surveys the situation at the end of the Nixon Administration’s first year, on New Year’s Eve 1969:
Nixon had withdrawn another 50,000 men from Vietnam by year’s end, bringing U.S. force levels down 115,000 to 435,000, easily beating Clark Clifford’s target of 100,000 fewer by the end of 1970, the level of mid-1967. He had driven the anti-war movement to the political fringe, and no one could say that he was not pursuing a coherent policy in Vietnam, solidly supported in the country.
The first family went to California for the holidays. Nixon had been innovative and effective in many areas and was the undisputed master political tactician of recent American history. His popularity surged after his December 8 press conference to an astounding 81 percent. This was a levitation, certainly, but was more genuine than Newsweek’s jubilant banner in October of “Nixon in Trouble.”
The silent majority had spoken, and the nation was much quieter than when Richard Nixon was preparing to be inducted into the presidency he had won by a wafer-0thin margin a year before. A terrible decade for America, which had started with the sun setting on the tranquil complacency of the Eisenhower era, ended in slowly reviving serenity. The United States had its president to thank for that.