Wednesday is the 100th anniversary of Richard Nixon's birth. He remains a controversial figure, and not just on the political left. Last year, I was covering the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington when I came across a stall selling old political pins. Unable to resist, I bought one with a picture of Tricky Dick giving his best crocodile smile beneath the classic slogan "Nixon's The One!"
I slipped it on at a party later that evening and was surprised by the results. None of the young conservative activists had a nice word to say about Nixon and many were quite hostile. To them, he was the archetypal Republican in Name Only—a liberal in conservative clothing. While most Americans probably remember him only for Watergate or Vietnam — and many liberals still revile him as a war-bating, divisive anti-communist—from a conservative perspectivehis politics were disappointingly moderate.