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The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Characters: NIXON

Richard Milhous Nixon. Note the capitalization. Few men are so controversial, powerful and evil as to attract the fascination of historians and political scientists like Nixon has. To the extent that in my library there are about 10 biographical tomes (circa 500+ pages each) on the man. He started off his career as a buddy of McCarthy spewing anti-Communist hysteria. This led to his rising popularity and being VP for good ol' ultra-respectable-except-for-my-associates President Eisenhower. It took lots of wrangling, a failed Presidential campaign and a failed California Gubernatorial before finally clinching the presidency. A sort of liberal fifth columnist in the conservative movement he achieved things like food stamps, affirmative action and eliminated the gold standard. Abroad Nixon's juggling was even more impressive that he simultaneously spewed anti-communist rhetoric, opened China, instigated d├ętente with the USSR and withdrew from Vietnam. Of course, he did lots of evil stuff like Watergate and supporting an evil genocidal dictatorship of West Pakistanis over Bangladesh.


Nixon being "presidential". Note the poor shave, slick hair, hands and jowels.

Nixon was a frequent target of cartoonists like Herblock and Oliphant.


Wrapping oneself in the flag to blanket oneself against criticism... Remind you of anyone?


Nixon got nailed for illegal wiretapping. Remind you of anyone? He struggled to keep tapes of him supporting wiretapping his opponents secret, citing executive privilege (Remind you of anyone?) but ultimately failed.


Nixon did not seem to enjoy power much. Being the butt of many jokes and as he put it, "kicked around" by the media and cartoonists. He seemed to have a good enough life though.


Legendary cartoonist Herblock about to give a "very close shave" to Nixon to clean the poor old boy up.


He later became a respected elder statesman who, despite his finished political career, was respected for his insight on foreign policy. (I've read his book "1999" on the subject, sometimes subtle, sometimes prescient, often rambling) Here Futurama shows Nixon as one of the Greats who would be preserved for posterity after death.


Or is he really finished? Nixon was the comeback-king, though he burns in hell he's sure to be scheming for a return playing on our emotions with the most manipulatively cold calculations.

Dead or not, for Nixon, it's almost as if an end isn't possible for the little devil.


Nixon had to resign in the end, and is now safely dead. Nonetheless, through human will, power and a bizarre victory, were all his.

V

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