In May of 1970, right after the Kent State shootings, when civil unrest across the nation had reached a fever pitch and opposition to the war had roared again to the forefront, Nixon woke his personal valet in the middle of the night. He grabbed a few Secret Service agents and set off for the Lincoln Memorial. There, he spent an hour talking with a large gathering of war protesters encamped around the monument.
The Time Magazine article from May 18, 1970, recalls the scene this way: "When the conversation turned to the war, Nixon told the students: 'I know you think we are a bunch of so and so's.'" Before he left, Nixon said: 'I know you want to get the war over. Sure you came here to demonstrate and shout your slogans on the ellipse. That's all right. Just keep it peaceful. Have a good time in Washington, and don't go away bitter.' The singular odyssey went on. Nixon and his small contingent wandered through the capital, then drove to the Mayflower Hotel for a breakfast of corned beef hash and eggs - his first restaurant meal in Washington since he assumed power. Then he withdrew to his study in the Executive Office Building to sit out the day of protest."
There will be a large anti-war protest in Washington DC on September 24th. Is it even conceivable that George W. Bush might remove himself from the White House that day to speak with the people who disagree with his leadership? The idea is laughable on its face.
Cindy Sheehan is not in a large crowd in Washington DC. She is not camped on the Lincoln Memorial. She waits for Mr. Bush in a ditch by the side of the road in Crawford, arguably the safest and most comfortable spot in America for this self-styled cowboy. Yet he does not emerge to speak to this woman who lost her son to his war. Somehow, it seems a safe bet that not even Richard Nixon would keep this woman waiting.