Nixon Center Civility and Feting Senator Jon Kyl


nixon pointing.jpgI recently did an interview with the Daily Beast‘s Michelle Cottle on the erosion of comity in Washington. One of the interesting places that warring parties in DC still meet (and seemingly leave their guns and holsters with the concierge) is at Nixon Center annual dinners.
At several of these dinners, I would sit next to the late Daniel Schorr, one of Nixon’s enemies list favorites. The Commerce Secretary turned mega billionaire and fiscal crusader Pete Peterson whom Nixon fired has been a humorous figure at some of these dinners.
Brent Scowcroft and Chuck Hagel would attend and offer wry snark with a grin when Joe Lieberman and John McCain were in the room.
jon kyl flag.jpgOthers to whom the Center has paid tribute have included JCS Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and CIA Director George Tenet.
Even at the Nixon Center’s first major gala even in the spring of 1995 which I helped organize, then President Bill Clinton gave not only a major speech but attended the pre-reception meeting everyone there, sitting for the entire meal, giving an hour long speech, and then hanging out a bit after.
I’ll never forget a call I got from the intimidating former CIA Director Richard Helms who said in a very deep, foreboding voice: “Young man, we in Washington are often promised interesting and worthwhile meetings. Seldom ever deliver. You delivered.” And then he hung up.
Presidential time is one of the scarcest commodities in Washington and Clinton’s deployment of those hours and the respect the Nixon Center paid him then helped create an atmosphere that even folks with extremely different world views could wrestle over policy in a respectful, civil manner.
On March 8th, the Nixon Center will present US Senator Jon Kyl with its Distinguished Service Award — and I plan to be there to continue the tradition of diversity and civility at those dinners.
— Steve Clemons


3 comments on “Nixon Center Civility and Feting Senator Jon Kyl

  1. ManOutOfTime says:

    I can’t remember agreeing with a single position I
    ever heard Kyl express, yet I will take his
    departure as another sign of the GOP brain drain.
    If the Nixon Center is feting him he’s probably a
    decent fellow so Godspeeed. I will further take
    that as a sign of the continuing depletion of GOP
    decent fellows among those holding elected office.
    Now if those stubborn voters would just start
    rewarding Democrats for our ever-increasing stock of
    brains and decent fellows (and gals) … ;o)


  2. WigWag says:

    Kyl announces that he is not running for reelection.


  3. WigWag says:

    It seems somewhat ironic to me that an institute named for the champion of rapprochement between the United States and China, the co-creator of detente with the Soviet Union and the lead cheerleader for the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty would bestow an honor on Senator Kyl.
    Wasn’t the SALT agreement negotiated while Nixon was President a progenitor to subsequent Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties developed during the Administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush?
    In a very real sense, wasn’t it the most important precedent for the START Treaty ratified by the United States Senate this past December?
    My recollection is that Senator Kyl was the chief opponent of ratification of that treaty. I am all for civility. I just don’t understand why the Nixon Center would choose to honor Senator Kyl. What great achievement of Senator Kyl’s is being recognized?
    I do think it


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