Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Can You Believe It: Nixon Worse Than Previously Thought

First of all, you have to get past the notion that someone is vain enough to want to record everything they say. The first person that comes to mind, if you are aware of history at all, is Richard Nixon. All of us who are old enough remember the Watergate affair, and the key role that tape recordings of Nixon and his cronies' conversations in the White House had in bringing down the president. What I didn't know, and I suspect you didn't either, was that Nixon's predecessor in the Oval Office Lyndon Johnson also recorded himself in the midst of his duties. And it's because of these recordings that we now know Richard Nixon is a worse scumbag than we ever suspected. I mean, we knew that he was an evil guy, that his little engine of revenge and meanness never stop chugging. We know that he trampled all over the Constitution while  he was president.

But as this article shows, Nixon was up to his nefarious tricks before he was elected president. The gist of it is this: during the 1968 presidential campaign against Hubert Humphreys, Nixon through an intermediary tried to get the South Vietnamese leaders to sabotage the peace talks which had just begun in Paris, and which, according to the article, were off to a promising start. Nixon, who was promising a "secret plan" to end the Vietnam war "with honor" during the campaign, did not want to see the peace talks succeeding or give Lyndon Johnson a chance to call another bombing halt. (Full disclosure: to my everlasting shame, I have to fess up to voting for Nixon in 1968 – still under the spell of my hyper conservative father, but that's no excuse – largely on the basis of this "secret plan" because like many American youth at the time, I loathed the Vietnam war and I wanted us out of there and just as soon as possible. This is still one of the great embarrassments in my life to have to admit this, but I can say with pride that I have not cast a ballot for a Republican ever since.) Long story short, LBJ found out about this and put kibosh on it, threatening Nixon with charges of treason for interfering in foreign affairs. Quite a gripping tale. All the details are in the story.

So if you didn't particularly like tricky Dick Nixon before, your feelings are going to be substantiated. and if you did like Dick Nixon before, no amount of truth about the scoundrel will probably change your mind.
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