Yesterday a St. John's friend invited me to speak to her and her fellow AP students at Mission Viejo High School. They're studying the power of ideology in our political and cultural life and wondered how Richard Nixon fit into the picture. I argued that Nixon embraced just one ideology, anticommunism, which he transcended -- or, rather, leveraged -- in order to make the world safer by virtue of his openness to constructive relationships with communist regimes in Moscow and Beijing.
I took along some show-and-tell items, including this late-1980s photo of me (with hair and spectacles) loitering behind Muhammad Ali, Nixon, and former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath. Nixon had given up his Secret Service protection in 1985, so in crowded rooms it sometimes fell to his private guard or me to take the point. At this event, a fundraiser in Manhattan for a Nixon friend's medical charity, I was edging forward, my eyes over my shoulder on the boss, when I ran up against a brick wall that turned out to be the former heavyweight champion of the world.