The Instigator
1Historygenius
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
MrBrooks
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Richard Nixon was at least not a bad President

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
1Historygenius
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,460 times Debate No: 21634
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (6)

 

1Historygenius

Pro

I will be arguing that President Richard M. Nixon was, at least, not a bad president, but rather an average or possibly good one. Topics will be:

Environment
Economics
Relations with the Soviet Union
Civil Rights
MrBrooks

Con

I accept your challenge and look forward to your opening arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
1Historygenius

Pro

I thank my opponent for debating me, anyway lets starts.

Environment: In terms of the environment, Nixon did very well in protecting it. Nixon today has a strong eco-legacy. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 was passed. This was one of the first laws that established the legislative framework for protecting the environment and accomplished three important goals:
1. It outlined for the first time, a formal declaration of environmental policies and goals.
2. It required government agencies to place environmental impact statements for most federally funded programs so to make sure they did not damage the environment.
3. It created the first Presidential Council on the Environment in the Oval Office. (1,6)

In 1970, the EPA was created. The Environmental Protection Agency was the central authority to protecting the environment and before that there was none. The EPA writes and enforces rules governing human health and the environment. (1,3,6)

Next up: The Clean Air Act Extension of 1970. Nixon signed this bill into law after it was passed in congress. It was arguably the most significant pollution control bill in American history. (1,3,6)

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. This act was another bill of firsts — it was the first to protect marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, seals, walruses, manatees, sea otters and polar bears. In addition:
1. It granted governmental authority to reduce marine mammal casualties.
2. It created guidelines for the public display of captured marine mammals, specifically protecting dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean from injury and death from fisherman.
3. It regulated the import and export of marine mammals.
4. It established a system to allow native subsistence Alaskan hunters to kill whales and other marine mammals. (1,6)

Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. The Safe Drinking Water Act, originally passed by Congress in 1974 and signed by Nixon, was a turning pointing in the effort to protect the nation's lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands and other bodies of water. You should probably thank Richard Nixon for the clean drinking water by the way. This act protected drinking water and its sources from anything harmful. (1,6)

Endangered Species Act of 1973. It was created to protect species in danger of extinction as a result of human activity. This way we could strengthen our protection of endangered species. (1,6)

So Nixon protected the environment a lot.

Economics:
Nixon brought in the New Federalism System which cut the red tape by taking money and power away from the federal government and directed it straight to the states, making program funding more efficient. Nixon also increased federal funds for food aid and public assistance programs from 6.6 to 9.1 billion dollars while decreasing the military budget significantly. Richard Nixon also presented the only balanced budget from 1961 to 1998 when guess who came and balanced it? Newt Gingrich! And guess who cut the debt and presided only over a debt of 2.3 trillion dollars? Richard Nixon! (2,3,4,6)

Relations with the Soviet Union:
Nixon met with the USSR's leader Leonid Brezhnev to discuss increasing trade between the two nations and also reducing he number of nuclear weapons. Nixon succeeded! In 1972 when he and them signed the SALT Treaty (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), which would limit and eventually reduce the number of nuclear weapons that the U.S. and opponent nations would have. (3,5,6)

Civil Rights:
A Quaker, Nixon felt racism and segregation in the U.S. was a moral outrage. In 1971, he signed the Equal Rights Amendment desegregating public schools. He asked the Justice Department to bring sex discrimination suits under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and ordered the Labor Department to add sex discrimination provisions to the guidelines for its Office of Federal Contract Compliance. (3,6)

1. http://www.mnn.com...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://imadork.hubpages.com...
4. http://www.americaforpurchase.com...
5. http://www.weegy.com...
6. http://en.wikipedia.org...
MrBrooks

Con

President Nixon was the only president to resign from his office is disgrace. His implication in the Watergate Scandal undermined everything his administration accomplished. Worse still, it undermined the office he held and caused the American people to lose faith in their government. His policies were progressive in many respects, but many of those policies were half-measures that came too little too late or had to be reversed by future presidents, because they simply did not work.

On the issue of foreign policy, Nixon did take several steps in the right direction in the Vietnam War. He expanded the war into North Vietnam by bombing Hanoi and mining their harbors, which influenced the North Vietnamese greatly when it came to convincing them to discuss peace. These were half-measures however, what was really needed was a decisive military action in North Vietnam itself.

In his book, "Carnage and Culture," author Victor David Hanson argues that the Vietnam War was lost, because of half-measures and a tendency for senior policy makers to avoid decisive shock battles, which lead to a prolonged conflict and an erosion of public opinion. While Nixon did not start the Vietnam War, he did preside over the prosecution of five years of the conflict.

His policy of Vietnamization proved to be indecisive, and instead of expanding the war where it needed to be expanded (North Vietnam,) he illegally expanded the war into Cambodia and Laos. The bombing of the Ho Chi Minh Trail proved to be ineffective, and the ground campaign proved just how poor a policy Vietnamization was, when the American trained South Vietnamese ground forces were unable to achieve a decisive victory.

In regards to opening relations with China, President Nixon was merely taking advantage of the Sino-Soviet split. However, he did not capitalize on this new relationship with China. He failed to recognize that China and North Vietnam were traditional enemies, despite shared Communist ideals. If he had recognized that and capitalized on it, the Vietnam War may have turned out differently.

Even with all the blunders Nixon made in regards to foreign policy, he still could have achieved a limited victory in Vietnam if it hadn't been for Watergate. The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 were signed with the understanding that if aggression resumed between the North and South, American air power would break the back of a Northern offensive and support Southern forces. Due to the Watergate scandal all remaining popular support for this arrangement was lost, and Nixon's successor proved unwilling and unable to save South Vietnam.

D�tente proved to be short sighted as well. D�tente only succeeded in taking pressure off of the Soviet Union. In fact, once Nixon's D�tente was reversed by Ronald Reagan the Soviet Empire would crumble under the economic and political pressure placed on it by the United States a mere eleven years after the reversal of the policy. This is why Ronald Reagan is remembered as a great president, and Nixon is remembered as a disgraceful one.

In regards to the economy, Nixon again falls short. He caused the 1973 oil crisis, which lead to gasoline rationing for the first time since World War 2, by supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War-an action that proved unnecessary, since Israel managed to break through Arab lines before American supplies even arrived in Israel. When Nixon took office he recognized that President Johnson's Great Society programs had cause inflation, but he did little to repeal them until the election year arrived.

When the election year arrived he merely took temporary measures to reduce inflation, but these measures would later to lead to even worse inflation during his second term and during the term of his successor. In fact some economists make the argument that Nixon not reversing the Great Society programs and his mishandling of the foreign policy in the Middle East contributed greatly to Stagflation in the late 70's. Furthermore, Nixon's enactment of wage and price controls lead to food shortages in America.

Civil Rights is another category that Nixon is found wanting in. Nixon was an anti-Semite and a racist, whom only enforced the rule of law by desegregating schools. He was moving with the political climate, he was not spear heading a progressive agenda for civil rights, he was actually trying to avoid the issue entirely.

In conclusion, Nixon focused almost entirely on his foreign policy and so called Nixon Doctrine, only touching on the economy and civil rights agenda to garner enough support for reelection. Upon close observation it becomes apparent that his economic policies lead to further inflation, and supply shortages. Even his foreign policy was mismanaged. This all on top of the fact that he had to resign in disgrace, cementing himself in history as one of the most disgraceful and dishonest men to hold the highest office in the land.
Debate Round No. 2
1Historygenius

Pro

OK to start this out let's good back to when I first posted this debate I clearly said:
"I will be arguing that President Richard M. Nixon was, at least, not a bad president, but rather an average or possibly good one. Topics will be:

Environment
Economics
Relations with the Soviet Union
Civil Rights"

However, my opponent started out talking Nixon's resignation which was not a topic to be discussed. He then went into the Vietnam War which is another topic that was not to be discussed and he did talk about relations with China. For this, I ask for the point of conduct because I actually listened to the rules. I will still follow the rules and only talk about the 4 topics seen above.

My opponent left the environment argument totally un-talked about.

"D�tente proved to be short sighted as well. D�tente only succeeded in taking pressure off of the Soviet Union. In fact, once Nixon's D�tente was reversed by Ronald Reagan the Soviet Empire would crumble under the economic and political pressure placed on it by the United States a mere eleven years after the reversal of the policy. This is why Ronald Reagan is remembered as a great president, and Nixon is remembered as a disgraceful one."

I don't see many people say that Nixon was disgrace for helping in making the world safer. In fact, the SALT Treaty made the Soviets weaker because it limited the amount of nuclear weapons they could have. Reagan was brilliant in taking down the Soviets, but Nixon helped by making them weaker and also increasing relations with them. Remember, Reagan did not declare war on the USSR, but destroyed them peacefully with no fighting, just like Nixon. In the end, Nixon and Reagan both contributed to the USSR's defeat as did other presidents. The Soviets were already dying due to the high amount of money put into their military anyway. Also my opponent seems unaware that in a way there was two Cold Wars. The one that Nixon was in was the first and Reagan was in the second. Furthermore, Reagan also somewhat signed an arms limitation treaty, but it was called IRN. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with intermediate ranges, defined as between 500-5,500 km (300-3,400 miles). So it looks like Reagan also limited arms. We should also not forget that the pen is mightier than the sword. Anyway, I would like to point how my opponent typed out this paragraph. When referring to Nixon's policy with the USSR he said:

"This is why Ronald Reagan is remembered as a great president, and Nixon is remembered as a disgraceful one."

It kind of sounds like he saying that Nixon's foreign policy with Russia was the only reason why he is remembered as a disgraceful president. (1,2,7,8,9)

My opponent has also talked about Nixon and oil, but did you know in order to fix this Nixon signed a bill allowing construction of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline? Since the completion of the Trans Alaska-Pipeline System in 1977, the government of the state of Alaska has been reliant on taxes paid by oil producers and shippers. Prior to 1976, Alaska's personal income tax rate was 14.5 percent—the highest in the United States. The gross state product was $8 billion, and Alaskans earned $5 billion in personal income. Thirty years after the pipeline began operating, the state had no personal income tax, the gross state product was $39 billion, and Alaskans earned $25 billion in personal income. Alaska moved from the most heavily taxed state to the most tax-free state.

The difference was the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and the taxes and revenue it brought to Alaska. Alyeska and the oil companies injected billions of dollars into the Alaska economy during the construction effort and the years afterward. In addition, the taxes paid by those companies altered the tax structure of the state. By 1982, five years after the pipeline started transporting oil, 86.5 percent of Alaska revenue came directly from the petroleum industry. (3,4,5,6,9)

In terms of attempting the economy it was not Nixon's fault that there was a stalemate in congress. Nixon tried to his "New Federalism" which would devolve power from the federal government to state and local elected officials. In 1972, the U.S. Congress appropriated $200 million to the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund to support the program with the goal of conserving wild areas and saving the disappearing open spaces around the country's urban areas. Local governments were able to obtain 50-50 matching funds for new parks, playgrounds, and open spaces with priority given to the development and improvement of land already in public ownership. Special attention was given to projects that featured increasing the recreational use of the land. (9,10,11)

In terms of Civil Rights, my opponent already admitted he did great in enforcing the rule of law and integrating schools. That is good. Nixon sought a middle way between the segregationist Wallace and liberal Democrats, whose support of integration was alienating some Southern whites. So Nixon tried to compromise. He also endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment after it passed both houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the states for ratification.(9,12)

Also, my opponent has placed no sources for his arguments and even if he does post some on next round he failed to post some in the previous. I think that I should as well get the point of reliable sources.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://fairbanks-alaska.com...
5. http://www.taxfoundation.org...
6. http://alaskajournal.com...
7. http://www.state.gov...
8. http://www.atomicarchive.com...
9. http://en.wikipedia.org...
10. http://en.wikipedia.org...
11. http://en.wikipedia.org...
12. http://hnn.us...
MrBrooks

Con

I concede. I did not follow the guidelines of the debate, therefore I lose. I apologize to my opponent for not following the rules of the debate and congratulate him on a well deserved victory.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
You get the point if you win. It is rare that you lose when the other guy concedes, but it does happen.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
Because he conceded I get the point, not him. That is how it always goes.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Informative debate, a pleasure to read.

Totally weird ending. Pro opened with this: "I will be arguing that President Richard M. Nixon was, at least, not a bad president, but rather an average or possibly good one. Topics will be:

Environment
Economics
Relations with the Soviet Union
Civil Rights"

Then, late in the debate, Pro tried to construe that as meaning that Nixon was average or good if we only consider those four areas. But that's not an obvious interpretation. I read the OP as meaning that Pro would focus on those areas, to show that the good Nixon did was enough to overbalance the bad he did. That bad would include the attempt to steal the election, to defeat American democracy.

I was tempted to give Con a conduct point for Pro's attempt to change the topic late in the debate. But Con was utterly fooled; he even conceded. So maybe it was a good ploy?

Next time Pro could make a clear resolution: "Nixon was good in some limited ways, if we don't consider the ways in which he was bad." But nobody would take the other side of that.

Challenging that Nixon was good _on average_ and denying his opponent opportunity to shine light on the ways that Nixon was bad, well that doesn't seem to me kosher.
Posted by LiberalJoe 5 years ago
LiberalJoe
Not to mention he basically created workfare.
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
@16kadams did you know Nixon balanced the budget and cut the national debt?
Posted by Contra 5 years ago
Contra
Nixon improved the environment and foreign relations with China and the Soviets. His healthcare ideas had something to be desired (President of the first HMO's). The economy was weak too.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
he sucked! He was well in the modern sense an moderate liberal, he actually hurt everything you mentioned except the economy.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
lol
Posted by 1Historygenius 5 years ago
1Historygenius
@imabench what do you mean by hell of an argument?
Posted by Guitar_Guru 5 years ago
Guitar_Guru
Well the way he words the resolution and the way his opening sounds, Con has two possible Burdens. One is to prove Nixon was a bad president, or Nixon was a great president. Since the Pro says he's an average or possibly good one.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
1HistorygeniusMrBrooksTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by RandomName 5 years ago
RandomName
1HistorygeniusMrBrooksTied
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Reasons for voting decision: They were equal for most of it but I always thought Nixon was a good president and I still do. Have to give this one to genius.
Vote Placed by Xerge 5 years ago
Xerge
1HistorygeniusMrBrooksTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
1HistorygeniusMrBrooksTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: violated the rules conceded
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
1HistorygeniusMrBrooksTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: concession
Vote Placed by RougeFox 5 years ago
RougeFox
1HistorygeniusMrBrooksTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession