A popular political phrase that was dropped into the modern vernacular in the last 30 years of the 20th century was, 'It took Nixon to go to China.' The concept behind the phrase, of course, is that it took an avowed anti-Communist to open the door of capitalism to a Communist nation.
Had a Liberal Democrat attempted such a thing, such a summit probably would not have been successful. Critics would have decried the whole thing as a Communist love-fest initiated by Liberals who tend to be apologists for Communists to begin with.
Fast forward to the first decade of the 21st century. It has taken a gun-friendly Republican President to trample on the firearms and ammunitions industry in this country.
We would have expected this from a Liberal Democrat. We were not expecting it from the Bush Administration, and perhaps this is precisely the reason we have been thus far ill-prepared to handle the onslaught of an out-of-control, rogue arm of the Justice Department--the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Caught totally by surprise, and thus woefully unprepared for an effective and swift defense, the firearms and ammunitions industry has found itself in a fight for its very survival.
The statistics will reveal just how devastating the attacks of the ATF have been.
Since 2002, a whopping 85% of firearms manufacturers in America have been forced to close their doors for good.
Note that the alarming rate of shut-downs of gun manufacturers by the ATF coincides with the election of George W. Bush.
However, the Clinton Administration is every bit as culpable. From 1994-2005, 80% of gun dealers were forced out of business. Eight of those years were under the Clinton Administration.
Nonetheless, the Bush Administration has done absolutely nothing to stem the tide of this alarming persecution, and if anything the ATF has actually turned up the heat in the last few years.
The statistic that nails the Bush Administration is that from 2001 until 2006, the number of gun dealers who have had their licenses revoked by the ATF has risen by 6 times the number of revocations in the previous six years.
In short, the Bush Administration has been no friend to gun owners.
One of the reasons why Richard Nixon was forced out of office is not simply because he lied about covering up the Watergate Scandal but that he betrayed many of his closest friends in the Congress. Nixon in many ways represented a betrayal of the very values that put him in office.
It was Nixon who implemented a wage-and-price freeze to deal with inflation--an anathema to libertarian, free-market Republicans. Instead of focusing on winning outright in Viet Nam after he inherited Lyndon Johnson's mess, Nixon instead brought an end to the conflict and pulled out our troops, resulting in one of the most cruel and heartless blood-baths in the history of the world, perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge.
Thus, when he needed help the most, Nixon had no friends left to come to his defense over Watergate.
Like Nixon, in many ways George W. Bush has represented a betrayal of the very values that got him elected. This is not entirely true, for there have been some triumphs, such as the tax cuts.
Yet Mr. Bush suffers from the same disease that seemed to plague Nixon, i.e., talking and acting like a conservative while supporting measures that fly in the face of every known conservative principle.
The gun issue is but one example. This Administration has presided over massive government expansion and spending, meddling in local schools by the Feds through the 'No Child Left Behind Act,' failing to fight the War in Iraq to win, and of course, the immigration amnesty fiasco.
One has to wonder if Mr. Bush believes in the Second Amendment as much as he says he does. Perhaps he actually thinks that governments are the only ones who should have guns. We can only base our conclusions on what we observe.
Many Americans, this writer being one of them, had high hopes in 2001 that Mr. Bush could be another Reagan. Sadly, unless major changes are made, it appears he will be more like Nixon.