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Richard Nixon, hero of the American Left

 

Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly."

— Richard Nixon, August 8, 1974

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ON APRIL 27, 1994, outside a small home in Yorba Linda, California, President William Jefferson Clinton delivered the final eulogy at the funeral of Richard Milhous Nixon. At first, the speech seemed to abide by the unspoken rules of decorum that had informed every eulogy before it: praise the former president in broad terms; highlight his triumphs in foreign policy. Pay homage to his enviable family life. Do not, under any circumstances, say “Watergate.”

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