What stood out to me in my latest reading of Monica Crowley's Nixon in Winter was something that Nixon said on pages 71-72, about a speech that he gave concerning the Soviet Union when he was campaigning for U.S. Senate candidate Christine Todd Whitman in New Jersey:
"'A speech is a
conversation----remember that. It's important that you connect with the
audience even if they have no idea what you are talking about. It's
hard to talk about, say, Soviet reform with people who are not clued in
to it as well as you are. It's hard to bring your arguments down to a
level they can understand. It's not that they're not smart; it's just
that foreign policy isn't their bag. And it's hard to simplify it when
it's your bag. But you've got to do it, or you're going to lose them."
Nixon tried to highlight to the American people and their leaders
during the 1990's was the importance of aiding Yeltsin and the
development of a free market economy in Russia. Otherwise,
ultra-conservatives could take over in Russia, launching a new Cold War,
which would effect Americans because of the money that it would take to
Foreign policy is not exactly my bag. Nixon thought
that foreign policy was more interesting than domestic policy, and I can
understand why one would feel that way. There's arguably more to know
when it comes to foreign policy----there are more countries, more
cultures, more histories, more economies. When one studies domestic
policy, however, he or she is looking at only one country: the United
States. And yet, then again, come to think of it, there's a lot to
learn when it comes to domestic policy, too: the policies of the various
50 states, how a proposal would impact different people, a proposal's
positives and negatives, and the question of whether or not the U.S. can
successfully apply ideas that other countries have tried (i.e.,
national health insurance).
For some reason, I'm more interested
in domestic policy than I am in foreign policy. I'm not sure why.
Perhaps it's because it affects me. And yet, even when I was a child
and was not entirely clear about how public policies affected me
personally, I was still more interested in domestic policy than foreign
At the same time, I do enjoy reading what Nixon has to say
about foreign policy, for he's a lucid thinker and an engaging writer.
Nixon said about trying to break things down caught my eye, too, since
that is a challenge for me. Often, when I make a point, it can easily
come across as a bunch of verbiage. What I need to work on is breaking
things down for my audience, which is smart (in fact, smarter than me on a lot of things), but which wants to hear
things in an accessible manner.