Friday, December 10, 2010

Kathy, No More Meetings With People, Please

From the Wall Street Journal's anthology of items from yesterday's release of documents and tapes by the Nixon library in Yorba Linda:
A five-page memo by Mr. Nixon describes his personal habits for dissemination to “friendly columnists and authors,” and sets out the president’s loathing for social breakfasts, social lunches, social cocktails and social dinners, because they take time away for “long-range, broad-scope thinking,” and that he doesn’t feel he can afford to spend five hours playing golf for the same reason.
So Nixon didn't like people? On the contrary. But social interactions, except for those that made almost no demands on his emotional energy, were exhausting, as with all strong introverts. This listing ranks Nixon as an ENTJ on the Myers Briggs scale, but that can't be right. RN was definitely INTJ:
[M]any INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk...
And then there's small-minded talk. The Journal and others interpret a page of chief of staff Bob Haldeman's notes as a presidential order that the administration's Jews be banned from working on Middle East issues. Nixon's passions about Jews and their politics are well-documented and not pleasant to behold. And he was at his worst when talking with Haldeman. In this case, it sounds like Nixon was sounding one of his leitmotifs, which was that his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, who was Jewish, couldn't be objective about the struggles and negotiations between Israel and the Arabs. Unless someone can dig up evidence of an order being issued and carried out, it's probably just hot air, plus an additional insight about the fascinating collaboration-cum-rivalry between the two towering strategists of detente.

As these releases continue, and we get further away from Nixon days, reporters will need to brush up on their history. Here's what the Journal says about the newly released page of Haldeman notes. Note that they have the personnel all wrong. Haldeman was chief of staff; Alexander Haig was Kissinger's aide:
Mr. Nixon ordered his chief of staff, Alexander Haig, to exclude all Jewish-Americans from policy-making on Israel, according to formerly classified notes taken by White House aide H. R. “Bob” Haldeman on a meeting with the president in July 1971. “No Jew can handle the Israeli thing,” the notes read. Later in the one-page excerpt, Mr. Haldeman writes, “Forget the Jews — they’re against” the administration.
They should check this stuff with Rupert Murdoch. He knows.

Hat tip to Maarja Krusten

1 comment:

MK said...

Well said. I definitely would consider RN an I, not an E, in Myers-Briggs. Haldeman's diary includes Nixon's observation, "This would be an easy job if you didn't have to deal with people." I understand what he means! We all have our quirks. As to quiet time, I know a federal executive who once said that executives don't get nearly enough of it, that they rush from meeting to meeting and never have enough down time to think things through. RN was wise to schedule some for himself, although it seems he always tinkered to some degree with his schedule, what was working and what wasn't. I'd do the same thing in his position!