Sunday, December 12, 2010

With Friends Like These

Rick Moran at the conservative "American Thinker" castigates the left for its obsession with Richard Nixon and then adds:
A crook, a weak and venal man who enriched himself at taxpayer expense, Nixon was perhaps the most unlovely of our presidents. His spying on Americans and electoral shenanigans placed him beyond the pale. Resignation was too good for him. He should have been impeached, tried, and convicted.
He says the left's being harsh? Moran actually misses the point about yesterday's New York Times article, which was its acknowledgment that Nixon appeared to despise liberal U.S. Jews while admiring Israelis. The political nuance doesn't excuse his anti-Semitic statements, but it puts them in a different category compared to those of his aide Bob Haldeman and friend Elmer Bobst.

Moran's epitaph mentions none of Nixon's accomplishments, though some leaving comments on his post do. And "enriched himself at taxpayer expense" is a bum rap. As co-executor of Nixon's estate, I can assure you that if he had been stealing, it was the greatest of his incompetencies. With the exception of a disallowed tax deduction on the donation of his pre-presidential papers (which he took because his predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, suggested it), Watergate exposed no evidence of personal corruption. Based on working with him for 14 years, I'd say the idea that people thought otherwise may have been what stung him most of all. It's the main reason he made such a show of giving up his Secret Service protection in 1985 and announcing that he would pay for his own security. He also refused to take honoraria for speeches or sit on corporate boards.

Moran amply proves Nixon's dictum that his friends on the right were always tougher than his enemies on the left.

1 comment:

MK said...

I'll be blogging about some of this later on today (writing the post now but it'll take awhile as I'm including some publicly available documents). My take will center more on the archival angle but I'll touch on some of the issues you've raised in your good posts.

For better or worse, some people write with discernment and others do not. Just as RN used overly broad images of some ethnic and racial groups in some of his private conversation (captured on the tapes and later revealed), so, too, do some people paint him with overly broad strokes or with a skewed image. To say he was personally corrupt in financial matters just doesn't fit the known evidence, as you so well point out. But for anyone on the left or right who seeks comfort in exaggeration or comic book images, it might "feel right" nonetheless. That approach doesn't work with data oriented people, of course!