Richard Nixon was a virulent anti-communist who once, remarkably, claimed that his political opponent was "pink right down to her underwear."
As a red-baiting junior congressman, Nixon established his anti-communist credentials on the House Un-American Activities Committee. His decades-long political career — from congressman to President — was marked by savaging opponents for being too soft on communism.
Then Nixon went to China.
Nixon used his deep bank of anti-communist credentials to establish a historic diplomatic breakthrough with the world's most populous communist country.
He achieved what his predecessors did not. Only Nixon could go to China.
The hardest problems today will require the right leaders to break ranks like Nixon.
Conservative leaders will have to break ranks to deal with climate change.
Liberal leaders will have to break ranks to deal with runaway spending.
Business leaders will have to break ranks to deal with economic stagnation.
Technology leaders will have to break ranks to deal with privacy, disinformation, and digital addiction.
It is never popular for leaders to break ranks. But leadership is about results, not popularity, and we need a whole lot of broken ranks these days.