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How did I manage to miss Nixon’s 100th birthday?

I’m bummed.

I missed Richard Nixon’s 100th birthday on Wednesday. Oh, he’s still dead, but all of us who are involved in any way with the news of the day are still indebted to him and his presidency.

Even though there are still some loyalists who believe he was railroaded out of office, it seems abundantly clear to me that, looking back on the personality of the 37th president of the United States, we have every reason to appreciate every chief executive since he resigned.

He will be remembered by historians, always, for Watergate, his downfall, and that’s too bad because Nixon in China and his opening of that Bamboo Curtain was monumental for U.S. foreign policy. Kruschev toyed with Kennedy and Gorbachev had Reagan for lunch, but Dick Nixon manhandled Mao.

However, his international successes and legislative triumphs are overshadowed by the fact that he was a crook and a racist and anti-Semitic and the paranoid keeper of an enemies list.

Almost makes you miss Newt Gingrich, doesn’t it?

I’m Pat McMahon.