Heh, thanks, Slayer. Walt, very cool opening line above, the Ceasar thing.
FWIW, I think Walt's a very smart guy and a formidable debater. I find the vast majority of his posts to be clear eyed and sober.
Where I differ with him is that Walt tends to focus exclusively on winning those debates. While I sometimes get polarized into pursuing that same 'victory at any cost' policy (or too mad to do anything else), I try hard to resist it.
When the better angels of my nature are in charge, I engage in debate to learn new things and better understand the reasons behind points of view different from my own. I suspect Walt views debate more like a boxing match, with each round scored and a winner totalled up at the end of the fight.
1. Back on Nixon Stuff.
Walt, it's important to note that Slayer's only proposing forgiveness, not forgetfulness, about Watergate. He's not saying the Watergate break-ins weren't crimes or that the cover-up was a good idea. He's just pointing out something I agree with: there's two sides to the Nixon ledger, and it seems unfair to consider only the bad side when evaluating the man.
For example, Walt, you and I both admire President Clinton, but I don't think either of us would say he didn't have a two sided ledger, himself. It's just that both of us believe his "bad" side of Monica, lying in a deposition, etc., is dwarfed by his long list of "good side" accomplishments.
If we agree that both sides of the ledger have to be considered when evaluating President Clinton, then wouldn't it be inconsistent for us NOT to weigh both sides of the ledger in evaluating President Nixon?
PS: I thought of another good point for Nixon: His was the final word in determining whether the Israelis or Arabs won the Yom Kippur war of 1973. When the Israelis were in big trouble and screaming for help, he ordered gigantic airlifts of US military hardware, which allowed the Israelis to fend off defeat and then turn the tide. Because Israel kicked such Arab butt in the '67 Six Day War, it's easy to overlook how close they came to losing the '73 Yom Kippur war.
You make some good points but you still get a thumbs down because Nixon was a criminal. Clinton was not. Clinton was entrapped into lying about sex. Nixon was paranoid and delusional causing him to give in to his worst instincts. I have forgiven Nixon but that doesn't mean he gets a high rating. Saying that other than watergate and Vietnam he was a good president is like saying that other than getting shot Lincoln had a good night at the play.
You are right that i would rather win debates than make friends. I believe in the truth.