07 June 2005


So I was on the road last week, and caught a little television. Whaddaya know, thanks to Mark Felt's admission that he was Deep Throat, all the Nixon bagmen had come out to remind us what a great President Tricky Dick had been, too bad he got wrapped up in scandals like Bill Clinton was. Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings sets us straight. He summarizes the apologists.
I have encountered a few people who have tried to argue that Nixon didn't do anything that LBJ and Kennedy hadn't done before him. Some, I think, were not old enough at the time to recall, and have just heard, vaguely, that he did some bad stuff and concluded: well, most politicians do bad stuff; so what?
Then he gives us a few reminders of what Nixon was caught doing.
This is planning murder, arson, and of course burglary. In addition, there was a lot of financial corruption, and the use of the entire machinery of government -- the FBI, the IRS, you name it -- to go after those Nixon thought of as his political opponents.
This is not just "what all politicians do". This was different: a completely lawless White House whose corruption went way beyond normal.
I'd add how my personal theory about Nixon --- that he resigned because he feared that investigation would ultimately lead to his orders to illegally and secretly bomb Cambodia --- seems sort of quaint today. That story would never stick to the Bush administration.


TheWayOfTheGun said...

As evil as Nixon was, I'd gladly take him over the current band of assholes. I am not fond of murder, arson, or bugging shrink's offices, but I'm less fond of rampant terrorism, pollution, etc. Besides, HST might still be alive and writing if he still had Nixon to hate.

Jonathan Korman said...

Aye. As Wild Bill says, "the United States currently has, as Jack Womack so succintly puts it, a president who makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln."