Monday, May 12, 2008

"Ethically they show themselves to be cynical and unscrupulous."

"Intellectually, they are slovenly. In emotional terms, their rare expressions of compassion are overwhelmed by their prevailing attitudes of manipulation and distrust. Their language is cruel, obscene, cliché-ridden and mechanistic."

The NYT reads the transcripts from Richard Nixon's White House and is duly appalled. The word that strikes obliquely is mechanistic. Are we so concerned that men are becoming machines? Is Nixon's problem that he is not human enough or that he is too human?



Al Gore said...


Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Al.

ricpic said...

It's important to keep in mind that the NYTimes, then as now the mouthpiece of the Establishment Left, viewed Nixon through the equivalent of today's Bush Derangement Syndrome. He was viscerally hated.
This is ironic in that Nixon wasn't remotely a man of the right. He was a big government Republican who never once attempted to cut any of Johnson's Great Society programs and in fact increased their size. He also extricated the U.S. from Vietnam, only not at the pace the Left was braying for.
Then what was his unforgivable crime? He was an anti-communist. Worse, he was an anti-communist who had actually outed an actual communist, Helen Gahagan Douglas, when running against her for congress.
This was the never to be forgiven sin. Tells you something about Times & Co. But Nixon's an ogre. We all know that.

Paddy O. said...

Nixon seems, from my perspective of not having been born until about five months after this article, wasn't human enough.

The man was capable and brilliant, but he was so not whole. There was this great gap in his soul, maybe somewhere where a faith of some kind really should have found a home. Without it he was adrift, never really grounded and it absolutely sunk him.

LBJ, on the other hand, also a vulgar man, seems too comfortable being himself. He was an example of being too human.

Clinton, as well. Too human. His brilliance was trashed because if it.

Nixon had all the wrong kinds of flaws. He didn't seem to trust himself or be able to relate right with others. It was all like he was this little tiny, emaciated soul wearing an oversized Nixon outfit. His skill and brilliance couldn't overcome this inherent lack of self.

Ron said...

Forgiving my vanity if you will, I wrote a novel with this line in it:

"Since the beginning of time, every creature that ever existed has had what God has called a Nixon Moment, the moment when Paranoia, Cynicism, Intelligence, and Will form a pill so sour, that the act of swallowing it produces absolute clarity about
one's self and one's future."

just for your amusement...

Anonymous said...

Nixon wasn't so bad. His flaw was in his choice of staff. They committed a crime and he committed a crime trying to cover it up. He wasn't a conservative - he was a middle-of-the-roader who came through on his peace-with-honor campaign promise. Johnson's Great Society was an abomination that had been set inexorably in motion and Nixon didn't have the time, political capital or perhaps the inclination to clean it up. Among many other initiatives Nixon's administration put through CETA, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, which was an improvement over the Great Society mess(with the exception of Medicare and Medicaid) fostered by Johnson.

Maxine Weiss said...

You're German. Germans don't usually like to take up space.

Surely, there must be an efficient way to fully integrate this blog with the existing one ?

section9 said...

Richard Nixon sitteth at the Right Hand of the Father.

Up there with the Big J.

He will return again on the Day of Judgement with the Big J to smite the Liberals.

Everybody needs to look busy.

Spread Eagle ® said...

Anyone who lived through the era knows that Watergate dominated everything in 1974. At least through September of the year.

I agree with most of what ricpic says. Nixon was probably the most competent president of the 20th century. He understood and commanded the world stage like Bobby Fischer at the chessboard. Nixon was pretty good at domestic matters too, excepting the foray into the wage and price controls thing in 1971. He followed some bad advice on that one. Of course Watergate began as and was fueled by a partisan witchhunt, but Nixon didn't handle it well at all. Nixon's problem, his failure, his ultimate undoing, was his obsession and paranoia about those who were out to get him. It clouded his judgment.