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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ONLY NIXON COULD GO TO CHINA

"The problem with vice is not so much the sin, as the character of the people one meets to practice it."
Len Garment, counselor to President Nixon, quoting Oscar Wilde on Nixon's involvement with the coverup of the Watergate Burglars.

Rumpole has read "Richard Nixon The Life" by John A Farrell and pronounces it a very satisfactory, if a bit too short biography of the 37th POTUS. Farrell's distinction is that this is the first major biography after the successful lawsuit in 2007 to release over 37,000 hours of white house tapes. The writing is crisp and at times superb. For example: "It was that spring, with little note, that Truman dismissed Franklin Roosevelt's qualms about aligning the US on the wrong side of an anti-colonial war of independence and approved the first multimillion dollar aid package for French Indochina.
Thusly, the spectre of Vietnam, which came to define Nixon, was subtly introduced. 
And...
"Nixon moved to New York in June 1963 to lay him down and bleed awhile" in discussing Nixon's loss of the 1962 race for governor in California. 

And ... in discussing 1968...
"As the world went mad around him, Nixon had shown touch and timing in his campaign to claim the Republican nomination.

All of this relevant to those of us who believe (unlike the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue)  that those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.

And while we remember but do not honor the birth of the greatest war criminal of the 20th century on April 20th- a man who under the banner of German nationalism led his nation to ruin and a world to war, we also remember on April 22, the death of Richard Milhous Nixon- who in 1994 ended a remarkable life with a career filled with Shakespearean or Grecian like tragedies, triumphs, defeats, and ultimately a comeback of sorts and some peace. 

The 37th POTUS was a remarkable and complex man whose life is well worth much study. 

From Occupied America,  where "Only Nixon could go to China", and a deposed president once, incredibly,  told David Frost "If the President does it, it means that it is not illlegal", Fight The Power. 


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

For those who want a good historical read on Nixon, check out his autobiography, RN, as well as the three volume one by Stephen Ambrose. There was a good one by Leonard Garment, his lawyer/confidant and Brooklyn Jazz impresario that is a quick and light read. Additionally, there are some interesting post Watergate conspiracy books that absolve Nixon for the Watergate sins and lay the blame on John Dean and the liberal intellectual establishment that saw its power at risk. The best of these is Len Colodny's Silent Coup. The premise is that John Dean's wife Maureen was a Washington call girl and Dean engineered the break in to steal information Democrats had on her. Maybe all nonsense but fascinating reading. You are right to mention the complexity of Nixon. His portrayal by the media was grossly unfair. He was the most intriguing president of our time and probably in American history, warts and all.

Anonymous said...

The interesting thing about Nixon is that he was raised in an era where political dirty tricks and shenanigans were part of the game. It is believed that fraud cost him the 1960 presidential election which he refused to complain about because it would be seen as whining and famously stated that Kennedy had "stolen the election fair and square". By the time he won the 72 election the old bag of tricks were no longer acceptable and they consumed him and his presidency. For all of his electioneering faults he was a brilliant strategist and a courageous leader who thought outside the lines and proposed many groundbreaking programs. Everybody remembers the opening of China but he was the man who established the epa.

Anonymous said...

Another recommended read, Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Msde Man, by Garry Wills

Anonymous said...

To see the real Nixon, listen to the White House tapes. He was anti Black, anti Semitic , and a total asshole