New Nixon Tapes Are Always a Delight

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The new Nixon tapes released this week include a couple moments that neatly summarize Nixon’s flaws and foibles.

The wickedness:

— On July 1, 1971, Nixon instructs Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman to have someone break into the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.:

“I can’t have a high-minded lawyer … I want a son-of-a-bitch. I want someone just as tough as I am. … We’re up against an enemy, a conspiracy that will use any means. We are going to use any means… . Get it done. I want it done. I want the Brookings Institution cleaned out and have it cleaned out in a way that has somebody else take the blame.”

The inferiority complex:

— On May 18, 1972, Nixon talks to Henry Kissinger about the National Security Adviser’s meeting with Ivy League college presidents regarding the war in Vietnam:

NIXON: “The Ivy League presidents? Why, I’ll never let those sons-of-bitches in the White House again. Never, never, never. They’re finished. The Ivy League schools are finished … Henry, I would never have had them in. Don’t do that again … They came out against us when it was tough … Don’t ever go to an Ivy League school again, ever. Never, never, never.”

And there are a couple moments that foreshadow the current GOP. At one point Nixon tells Haldeman to freeze out the same paper that was the target of so much Palin-anger in 2008, saying, “We made the same mistake [Dwight] Eisenhower made, but not as bad as Eisenhower made, because he sucked the Times too much … Goddamn it, don’t talk to them for a while.”

And the superficial appeals to the working class that mask an indifference to its actual needs is the same today as it was back then:

— On Dec. 9, 1972, Nixon talks to Colson about the appointment of building trades union leader Peter Brennan as secretary of labor:

NIXON: “The idea, they finally think the appointment of a working man makes them think we’re for the working man.”
COLSON: “That’s precisely it.”
NIXON: “They talk about all the tokenism. We appoint blacks, and they don’t think we’re for blacks. Mexicans. They don’t think we’re for Mexicans. But a working man, by golly, that is really something.”

Something makes me think Nixon would have approved of Joe the Plumber. (Hat tip MSNBC)

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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