OPINIONSrnGo Figurernby Arnold Beichmanrn”A politician… one that would circumvent God.”rn—^William ShakespearernNixon: A Lifernby ]onathan AitkenrnWashington, D.C.:rnRegnery Publishing;rn633 pp., $28.00rnIn preparing my review of this rivetingrnbiography, I gathered samples of whatrnhas recently been written about RichardrnM. Nixon, and I must say they make arnbewildering collection. Here are a few:rn”A monster of a million disguises.”rnAndrew Kopkind, the Nation.rn”A chief executive who had gone off thernrails.” The Economist.rn” . . . a visionary along the lines of arnWoodrow Wilson.” Robert Scheer, thernNation.rnArnold Beichman is a research fellow atrnthe Hoover Institution, Stanford University,rnand author, most recently, ofrnAnti-American Myths: Their Causesrnand Consequences.rn”. . . the most innovative and successfulrnforeign policy president of the 20th century.”rnJonathan Aitken, the Economist.rn”… one of the most hated—perhaps thernsingle most hated—of the political figuresrnin the United States over the pastrnhalf century.” Thomas Sowell, Forbesrnmagazine.rn”… he earned the special affection andrnadmiration of U.S. conservatism withoutrneven significantly advancing their cause.”rnWilliam Buckley, National Review.rn”… Nixon probably produced the mostrndeft and creative foreign policy performancernby a president in this century.”rnU.S. News.rn”… [he built] appeasement… into detente.rn…” Theodore Draper, Commentary,rn1976.rnIn three presidential elections—1960,rn1968, 1972—Nixon received more ballotsrnthan anyone else in American history:rn113 million. For trivia a/iciondcfos,rnthis item: in 42 years, Nixon got 56 Timernand 54 Newsweek magazine covers. Inrnhis 20 years of exile, he wrote nine bestsellersrnand achieved a global status thatrnno other living ex-President—Bush,rnCarter, Ford, or Reagan—can begin tornmatch. On the other hand, he picked inrn1968 a bribe-taker for the vice presidency,rnone who later pleaded guilty tornfederal income tax evasion. In 1960, hernhad offered the vice presidential nominationrnto Nelson Rockefeller; whenrnRockefeller turned it down, he gave thernnomination to Henry Cabot Lodge. Arnbad track record on vice presidential candidatesrnfor so experienced a politician.rnLet me confuse the Nixon image evenrnmore. Recall the I960 presidential electionrnin which John F. Kennedy receivedrn34.2 million (49.7 percent) and Nixonrn34.1 million (49.6 percent) votes. Thernmargin between the two candidates wasrn112,881, less than one-tenth of one percentrnof the total. There was evidence ofrnelectoral fraud in Illinois, Texas, NewrnMexico, and Missouri. Despite the evidence,rnNixon rejected the advice ofrnfriends and allies to demand a recount.rnIn the event, his inaction gave the electionrnresult a legitimacy it would havernSEPTEMBER 1994/29rnrnrn