Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, seemed to have a political rivalry in the Republican Party even though ideologically they were pretty close. They were both basically Progressive Republicans. Certainly Governor Rockefeller was, but Rockefeller and Nixon were very similar on economic policy and probably foreign policy as well. They were both cold warrior anti-Communists who believed in a strong national defense and protecting America from Communist Russia with a strong national defense. They both supported the civil rights laws of the 1960s and the environmental protections of the 1970s.
And yet the way that the media back then would talk about Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, you would think they both came from different ideologically wings of the GOP. As if one was a Conservative and the other was a Moderate or Liberal. When the fact was both were basically Progressive Republicans in the classical and real sense. Not the stereotypical big government socialistic sense that Progressives especially in the Democratic Party today get labeled as. It was Senator Barry Goldwater who was a Conservative-Libertarian Republican who strongly differed from the Rockefeller’s and Nixon’s in the Republican Party ideologically.
But when Meet The Press interviewed Governor Rockefeller in 1960, they were asking him questions implying that Rockefeller and then Vice President Nixon, were different ideologically. And that Rockefeller wasn’t sold on the candidacy of Vice President Nixon and wasn’t sure if he was going to support Vice President Nixon against Senator John Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election. But the fact is Rockefeller and Nixon, were both essentially Progressive Republicans at least on economic and foreign policy, as well as social issues, who politically at least could’ve been strong running mates for a presidential election.