On page 166 of Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990, Stephen Ambrose says that Richard Nixon “liked Israel because of its underdog status and ‘screw you’ attitude toward the rest of the world.” Yet, on the very next page, Ambrose quotes Nixon saying that “The time has come to quit pandering to Israel’s intransigent position.” Moreover, in two books by Nixon about foreign policy that I read, Nixon appeared to be rather balanced on the issue of Israel and the Palestinians. What this teaches me is that it’s possible for one to have a gut-level, reactionary feeling, along with a more reasonable stance.
We see this sort of thing with Nixon on other issues. Nixon liked Vice-President Spiro Agnew’s bold rhetoric, yet Nixon didn’t always think that Agnew’s approach was politically prudent. In volume 2 of Ambrose’s trilogy, Ambrose narrates that Nixon sometimes had a “Off with their heads” approach to government, as he demanded mass firings. But Nixon’s aide H.R. Haldeman would do nothing in terms of carrying out Nixon’s orders for firings, and Nixon would cool off.
I have reactionary, gut-level feelings, and I have the thoughts that I can back up by reason. There are many times when I would like to vent on this blog with my reactionary, gut-level feelings. But I rarely do so, at least not nowadays. That may be good, or that may be bad, in terms of this blog. It’s good because I don’t come across as an ignoramous. It’s bad because many people like to read bloggers who shoot from the hip and generate controversy.