web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

The Nixon Fascination

Nixon-020312

Americans never seem to tire of Richard Nixon, the man who strode the nation’s political stage for three decades, as congressman, senator, vice president and president, only to see his career come crashing down when his involvement in the Watergate scandal led to his resignation – the only U.S. president to so step down – in order to avoid certain impeachment.

More than thirty-seven years after he left office and eighteen years after his passing, Nixon’s legacy is still debated more intensely than that of most other presidents. The flood of articles and books on Nixon – on his psyche, his image, his politics, even the movies he watched and what they tell us about him and his era – shows no sign of abating anytime soon.

In 2008 the big political book of the year was Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland, a nearly 900-page opus that endeavored to explain how Nixon put his stamp on the nation in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This month Nixon is back in the news with the publication of an entirely different kind of book, the gossipy Nixon’s Darkest Secrets by former radio reporter Don Fulsom.

Love him or hate him (and it’s sometimes difficult to remember that despite his indisputable dark side and the fear and revulsion he inspired in millions, an uncountable number of his countrymen supported him with an almost unquenchable passion), Nixon in death has remained every bit the intriguing figure he was in life. And with the passage of time – and the revelation that presidents before Nixon had engaged in many of the same activities that ultimately brought him down – the old antipathies may have softened, if only a bit.

Some, like Ben Stein, a young Nixon speechwriter who went on to make a lucrative Hollywood career for himself as one of the more recognizable faces (and voices) on television and in movies, has never wavered in his defense of Nixon.

“Can anyone,” Stein has asked, “even remember now what Nixon did that was so terrible?…. Does anyone remember what he did that was bad? Oh, now I remember. He lied. He was a politician who lied. How remarkable. He lied to protect his subordinates who were covering up a ridiculous burglary that no one to this date has any clue about its purpose. He lied so he could stay in office and keep his agenda of peace going. That was his crime…. He was a peacemaker. He was a lying, conniving, covering up peacemaker. He was not a lying, conniving drug addict like JFK, a lying, conniving war starter like LBJ, a lying, conniving seducer like Clinton….”

Even a liberal like the iconoclastic writer Nicholas von Hoffman was already having second thoughts about Nixon not long after he left the White House: “In the months since [Nixon’s] departure, his defense looks better. Half a dozen Congressional committees have brought forth volumes of information all adducing that the break-ins, the [phone] tapping, snooping and harassment have been routine government activities for at least a generation.”

There has also been much rethinking, in the decades since Nixon’s resignation, of the journalistic techniques popularized by the Washington Post reporters who made their careers on Watergate, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Watergate, according to liberal Columbia University historian Alan Brinkley, “created a model of journalism that is easily abused and debased. It created generations of people trying to replicate that role by digging in more and more unsavory ways. As much as Watergate is a model of the journalism that we admire, you can also see in it the origins of the distrust we have today.”

Former Nixon speechwriter Ray Price wrote that “It was Nixon’s misfortune to be in office when both ‘advocacy journalism’ and the notion that the media should be ‘adversary’ to the government enjoyed their greatest modern-day vogue.”

The late Vernon Walters, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1970s, was more direct: “[T]he idea of this man [Nixon] winning the largest number of electoral votes since George Washington…this drove the media absolutely insane; they had to get rid of him. It was not a professional thing with the media; it was an emotional thing….”

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Nixon Fascination”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The IAF reportedly hit a Syrian military target in Damascus around midnight.
IDF Retaliates Against Syrian Military Targets, Sets Off Rocket Alarms on the Golan
Latest Indepth Stories
Is "the word is the thing"? Abbas sits behind "Palestine" sign at the United Nations.

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

obama-connecticut-school-shooting-275x206

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

Baby

Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.

.Voting in the Likud Primaries

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves

The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

The abuse following publication proved a cautionary tale: no one followed in Peters’s footsteps

Plainly, there is no guiding hand dictating choices across the board.

How many sites that tell you to check your politics at the door have 10,000 likes?

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Comptroller DiNapoli celebrates Sukkot with Crown Heights Jewish community leaders at the sukkah of Rabbi Chanina Sperlin of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

Front-Page-102414

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/the-nixon-fascination/2012/02/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: