(Ben Sargent cartoon via Gocomics.com)
Speaking of Republican shenanigans, this week’s NIXONLAND discussion will take place Sunday evening at 7pm EDT, so people have a chance to take advantage of the later sunsets.* Chapters under discussion will be “Trust”, “If Gold Rust”, and “The Presidential Offensive” — closing with the unmasking of a murderous sociopath who ensnared wide-eyed Midwestern innocents into a web of deceit and terror. Also, Charles Manson.
*Stock phrase would be ‘nice Spring weather’ but we’re not seeing much of that here in New England. What’s the weather like in your neighborhood tonight?
Labor poured unprecedented resources into the Democratic campaign going into the home stretch, registering 4.6 million voters, sending out 115 million pamphlets, establishing 638 phone banks, fielding 72,000 house-to-house canvassers and 94,000 Election Day volunteers. Humphrey nabbed 15 last-minute points from Wallace among unionists. He also ran a lachrymose print ad: “Don’t let him buy the White House” over a picture of a smiling Richard Nixon. “No man has ever paid more trying to be President… “
Well, there’s a fitting epitaph for our own Ragged Dick Nixon.
And in these chapters the rest of the CREEPSTER band of brigands falls into place: Haldeman, Erlichman, Kissinger. Do I actually remember a period crack about “two German Shepherds and a German Jew”, or is that post-Watergate?
Some things never change on the (D) side of the aisle, either:
Reasoned [Humphrey’s] chief political deputy, “Nothing would bring the real peaceniks back to our side unless Hubert urinated on a portrait of Lyndon Johnson in Times Square before television — and then they’d say to him, “Why didn’t you do it before?”
What’s your impression of the Triumph of the Richard?
When Nelson Rockefeller arrived, he claimed he had almost twice as many firm delegates as Reagan. The standing ovation John Wayne had just received put that notion rather in doubt.
Over and over again, delegate Ronald Reagan had visited on his recent Southern tour told him they might switch their votes to him if he were a declared candidate. At 4 pm Reagan returned to Miami Beach and stepped up to the press conference microphones and announced that this was what he now was.
Harry Dent, Strom Thurmond’s man, said he’d never seen anything like what happened next. Reagan enthusiasts appeared out of nowhere. Reagan was queried for his reaction: “Gosh, I was suprised. It all came out of the blue.”…
… If one were willing to consider ‘four years of non-stop underground campaigning’ as “out of the blue”. I’ll admit I never knew how far back St. Ronnie had started to run for his eventual ascension; if we’re gonna talk about what-ifs: What if Nixon’s paranoia hadn’t been stoked by his “friends'” continual assaults on his right flank? (All we ever seem to hear about is the Original DFHs trying to garrote him with their love beads from the other side of the aisle, which is, after all, the purpose of a two-party system.)
What’s your take?
(Ohman via gocomics.com)
Anybody got plans for the weekend that don’t involve watching college basketball?
Reminder: This week’s NIXONLAND book discussion, Sunday afternoon 4pm EDT, chapters 13-15 (“Violence”, “From Miami to the Siege of Chicago”, and “Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1968”). Bring your bad memories…
He wondered why he had to go into all this. “I assumed any superintendent would issue instructions to shoot arsonists on sight and to maim the looters, but I found out this morning this wasn’t so and therefore gave him specific instructions.” [Mayor Daley] added, “If anyone doesn’t think this is a conspiracy, I can’t understand.”
Daley really had a gift for vocalizing the unconscious projection, didn’t he? There were many who saw ‘a conspiracy‘, but quite a few assumed it was The Authorities against the rest of America. I know that Conspiracy Theorizing as a way of life is usually credited to JFK and the grassy-knoll chalkboarders, but Dallas was just a point — it was the ‘twin’ assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy that turned those bullet points (sorry) into a line of thought.
I was ensconced in a blue-collar, very white NYC parish in 1968, so all I (or, I think, most of my parents’ generation) knew about Dr. King’s assassination was what we could read in the newspapers. While there certainly wasn’t much sympathy for the civil rights crusaders among those cops, firemen, civil servants, small-business workers & their wives (estimate: 50% Irish-Catholic, 35% Italian-Catholic, 5% other Catholic, 10% Jewish), I also recall an outspoken fury at the “dumb Southern rednecks” who condoned the assassination — it was seen as allowing their temper at a personal annoyance to potentially spark a much more dangerous outpouring of violence.
And, of course, Bobby Kennedy’s assassination locked that fear into a permanent state of mind. Everybody in my neighborhood “knew” it was going to happen, after the fact — “They had to take out one of OURS to balance the scales”. The only question was whether Sirhan Sirhan was the tool of “the Coloreds” or of the Elite than ran the country and the world as their private fiefdoms. And if the simplest explanation was that a shadowy ruling class was running the rest of us for a puppet show, the remaining issue was: Should you drop out of the system entirely, give up on all hope of political action (such as, for instance, voting) as a way of improving one’s chances? Or should you do whatever it might require to join the ruling class’s shock troops, and “get yourself a piece of the action”?
From commentor Bootlegger:
March Madness is upon us (at the very least if you have 8 and 9 year old boys who are chased indoors by the rain you are going mad).
Register now for the Balloon Juice NCAA tournament pool, brackets will be ready for pickin’ on Sunday.
I also created a pool for the women’s tourney here.
Reminder: This week’s NIXONLAND discussion group meets Monday evening, 8pm Eastern Daylight time. Chapter under review: “The Sky’s the Limit”.
Gail Collins’ evisceration of “Eye of the Newt” is entertaining:
Anyway, you can see how the topic of Gingrich’s home life would come up. Generally, he doesn’t seem all that thrilled by the invitation to explain himself. But he was very chatty on the Christian Broadcasting Network. Perhaps this was because of the way the interviewer, David Brody, phrased his question.
“Talk about a forgiving God?” he asked.
Newt was quite forthcoming about both God’s readiness to forgive him and the much, much better lifestyle he has embraced now that he’s found true love with Wife No. 3, converted to Catholicism and “learned an immense amount.”
People, can we all agree now that men who spend their early and middle ages betraying women right and left are not allowed to get credit for discovering the joys of monogamy at about the same time that they receive their first Social Security check? …
Gingrich offered up his analysis of the cause of his sexual indiscretions when he appeared with other presidential hopefuls at an event in Iowa sponsored by the Faith and Freedom Coalition. This is a group established by the former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, who is recovering from a fall from grace himself. Reed’s involved secretly working with the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to block a ban on Internet gambling. Which I do not believe is the sort of thing you can blame on a heavy schedule and the flag.
And finally, if you are living on the left-hand coast (or just generally feeling apocalyptical) Farhad Manjoo at Slate reviews earthquake survival kits.
Turns out I have another commitment this Sunday afternoon, so I’m gonna have to reschedule this week’s book discussion (“The Sky’s the Limit”) to Monday evening, March 14, at 8pm EDT (Eastern Daylight-Savings Time).
The other alternative, since I know we’ll all be sleep-deprived and extra-cranky Monday, would be to set up a “placeholder” post to pop up at the usual time, and let you guys talk amongst yourself without me.
If you have strong opinions either way, please let me know in the comments.
And yet more evidence (as if it were necessary) that nothing in today’s news is new:
In October  the formation of an anti-antiwar group was announced by WWII hero General Omar Bradley and former senator Paul Douglas.[…] [Members of the new Citizens’ Committee for Peace with Freedom in Vietnam] included Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower. They said they were speaking “for the great ‘silent center’ of American life.” Douglas said he’d come up with the idea himself and emphasized, “We are not supporters of a president or of an administration.”
He lied. The committee had been invented by a White House aide, John Roche, who promised in an “EYES ONLY” memo to the president, “I will leave no tracks.”… The ruse succeeded. The media reported the group as spontaneous. Letters to the editor gushed, “The riff-raff have held center stage long enough and the performances grow more sickeningly disgusting with each added publictiy stunt… ” Maybe the letters had been manufactured at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Roche had promised the president “letter-writing squads.”
Shades of No Labels, as well as you-know-which-group(s)!
Not to mention poor dumb George Romney getting assailed by ‘mysterious pamphlets‘ asserting that “Supreme Court Declares Romney Not Qualified Under the Constitution” because he’d been born while his American parents were living in Mexico. Birtherism, a meme to be raised against whatever this election cycle’s variety of “exotic un-Americanism” might be…
What struck you about these ‘new paradigms’? What do you remember from those days?
(Tech note: You can edit your comment by right-clicking on the ‘Edit’ button to open a new tab/window and working from there. Another FYWP glitch… )
By the beginning of 1967, the war in Vietnam had ended America’s ‘consensus’ for good.
Is there a word that means the opposite of nostalgia — something to describe the acrid taste at the back of one’s tongue when confronted with a vivid retelling of events recalled with loathing?
Although, since I was too young to notice pre-primary candidates outside my parents’ Democratic
faith party, I never previously realized how much Willard “Mitt” Romney’s campaigning style owes to his wounded Franklinian vanity. Nixon’s willingness to crawl through whatever rancid sewers of innuendo and misdirection necessary to activate the collective lizard brains of the American voting public seem to have permanently marked young Willard.
(Tech note: You can edit your comment by right-clicking on the ‘Edit’ button to open a new tab/window and working from there. Another FYWP glitch… )
Best wishes and stout companions to all attending today’s solidarity rallies, and condolences to those kept away by inclement weather and the myriad other irritations of daily life.
As a reminder, this week’s book discussion of NIXONLAND involves Chapters Eight and Nine, a mere thirty pages. Come join the conversation Sunday at 4pm EST, and still have plenty of time to get ready for Oscar-watching.
And if you want something shorter to read over brunch, may I recommend Dahlia Lithwick’s Slate post on “The Case of the Poisoned Lover“?
A question for those who are reading along in NIXONLAND: Two chapters or three for next week’s discussion? “The Bombing” and “Summer of Love” are only 30 pages between them, but it’s not easy reading for those of us who lived through the period Perlstein’s describing. On the one hand, I don’t want to dump too much on our collective psyches during these dreary February evenings; on the other hand, if we tackle a third chapter (“In Which a Cruise Ship Full of Governors Inspires Considerations on the Nature of Old & New Politics”), we’re that much closer to reaching the 1968 conventions…
In either case, same time same place next week, Sunday 2/27, 4pm EST still good?
The Times had sacralized a Nixon con job. The fuse had been lit. And now, the fireworks began.
Why there are book groups: It’s getting harder and harder for me to keep reading, because for all his multitudinous flaws, I’ve always had a soft spot for Lyndon Baines Johnson. We won’t see a dispassionate LBJ biography until after the men who still remember their draft lottery numbers are no longer in charge of the universities and the publishing houses, but if Harry Truman can be rehabilitated, I can still hope to live long enough to see the 20th century’s most underrated President re-evaluated as he deserves…
“Fooling the people has become the name-of-the-game for a good many Republicans in Congress,” Johnson said, craning out his neck. “They have no constructive programs to fight inflation. They have no program to ease racial tensions. They don’t know what to do about crime in the streets, or how to end the war in Vietnam. But they do know that if they can scare people, they may win a few votes!”
Swap out the relevant clauses for “crime on Wall Street”” and “end the war in Afghanistan“, and the only difference is that today’s Republicans have the marketing research to know exactly how win votes by scaring people. Speaking of depressing — 45 years and counting, and the Low Information Voters among us are still stampeding staunchly into the slaughterhouse through whichever chute the Republican flaggers spook them.
What do you think?
Herewith Nixon takes great strides in assembling his retrograde cast of trolls, thugs, and shills — Pat Buchanan, Bill Safire, the Haldeman/Ehrlichman ‘twins’, Maurice Stans — the Merry CREEPSters who would do so much damage to our country for the next forty years and counting.
But I didn’t know that the smart money, or at least the large money, was going to the media-friendly figurehead and grinning sociopath now known as St. Ronnie as early as 1966:
Nixon… wanted Ronald Reagan to be in his debt should Reagan win the [California] statehouse. At the same time, conservatives were already talking about Reagan as a presidential prospect — so Nixon stood to benefit mightily if Reagan pledged before the national political press corps not to run in 1968…
Reagan dashed off a note thanking Nixon for “your very good suggestions”, then jetted east. In Pittsburgh he was the guest of right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. In Gettysburg his host was General Eisenhower — who said “you can bet” Reagan would be a presidential prospect if he beat Pat Brown. (The bastard, Nixon had to be thinking, kicking Dick Nixon once more.)
If we didn’t know what horrors he’d be responsible for, you could almost feel sorry for Tricky Dick, once again out-maneuvered by a fellow Orthogonian with just enough pretty-package “charm” (and so little of Nixon’s prickly self-respect) to sell his favors to the hateful Franklins for all the plaudits denied to RMN no matter how hard he worked or how dirty he was willing to fight…
What say you all?
Herein emergeth both “Nixon the Loser” and “The New Nixon” (same as the old Nixon, but with embedded viral marketing). What say y’all?
Have to admit, this is also where Perlstein starts to run crossgrain to my own prejudices:
Went one of the Stevenson/Galbraith jeremiads… “Our nation stands at a fork in the political road. In one direction lies a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland. America is something different.”
Of course, saying a President Nixon would unleash the bomb was also slander and scare, and spared not the innuendo. Adlai Stevenson and his learned speechwriter had coined a useful word, Nixonland. They just did not grasp its full resonance. They described themselves outside its boundaries. Actually, they were citizens in good standing… [I]t only stood to reason that if you believed your opponent was neither sensible nor sober and would do anything to win, and that his victory would destroy civlization, a certain insobriety was permissible to beat him.
I have no opinion of Adlai Stevenson (which is the way my people say: I have a conviction that Stevenson is too minor a character to bother having an opinion about), but I would argue that Galbraith was indisbutably correct to assert that “Nixonland” was (is) a sociological construct in opposition to all that is best and decent behind the concept of “America”. Of course, this is because I’ve spent my entire life on the Galbraithian side of the divide… and I blame the
Stench Artists Nixonians for its very existence…
First off, another reminder: NIXONLAND discussion group tonight, 9pm EST, “The Stench”. Now aren’t you curious enough to come lurk and see what you’re missing?
Second, since I know many of us are geeks and some of us are gamers, how come no love for this particular Superbowl ad?