Richard Nixon

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It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.
Hunter S. Thompson,[1]
This administration has proved that it is utterly incapable of cleaning out the corruption which has completely eroded it and reestablishing the confidence and faith of the American people in the morality and honesty of their government employees.
—Richard Nixon, accidentially predicting his own future[2]

Richard Milhous "Tricky Dick" Nixon (January 9, 1913–April 22, 1994) was a self-aggrandizing, back-stabby bag man President of the United States from 1969–74. He is the only man to be twice elected to both the Vice Presidency and the Presidency, and the only President to resign from office.

Nixon and Lyndon Johnson (D-TX) had much in common. Both were Naval officers. Both of them hated the Kennedys. Both were elected to every federal public office (House, Senate, Vice-President, POTUS). They knew how the sausage gets made. Johnson also taped conversations in the Oval Office. When he succeeded Johnson, Nixon had the recording device removed. Johnson, however, influenced Nixon to install his own taping equipment by telling him what a tremendous help the tapes were in compiling his memoirs. Thanks, Johnson![3]

Thanks to their combined efforts, the Vietnam War dragged out for four more years with tens of thousands more American lives lost uselessly (plus a couple million Southeast Asian lives if anyone cares). But Nixon had promised he would end the war; that he in fact had a secret "plan" to end it. He did not. He was eventually driven out of office due to other crimes. EPA was the only good thing he did other than resigning.

Hunter Thompson had absolutely no love for Nixon and wrote a pretty savage obituary not long after he died. But his most-pointed comments came from one of his essays which stated that Nixon spoke to the werewolf in all of us.[4] Fun epilogue: The reason Richard Nixon's head in Futurama says "Aroo!" is because Nixon reminded Billy West of a werewolf.[5]

We want Dick![edit]

If there were one perfect spite-ist president, it was Richard Nixon. He looked mean, spoke mean and stomped on the hippies who were having too many orgasms, the last real orgasms this country ever witnessed.
—Mark Ames[6]
Photo of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon taken prior to their first debate in Chicago.

Nixon ran for President three times. The 1960 campaign was about whether or not the Matsu Islands (the Red Scare topic du jour) belonged to China. Kennedy seemed to suggest that they were hardly worth risking a nuclear war over. Nixon pounced on it and made it an issue.[7] After injuring his knee in a limousine door, Nixon had a five o'clock shadow and the sweats. Kennedy had just spent a month tanning and getting beejs in Florida. It's a common refrain that Nixon had a slight edge among radio listeners, whereas Kennedy "won on style." Most historians dismiss this because there isn’t any proof other than hearsay.[8]

Nixon fans have long credited dead people voting in Chicago or cows voting in Texas for sealing Kennedy's victory. Republicans contested the results and found no proof of anything.[9] Johnson was from Texas and having his name on the ticket probably helped Kennedy there. Eisenhower only hit the campaign trail for Nixon a few weeks before the election. He also hurt them by answering a question about Nixon's contributions with, "If you give me a week, I might think of one." Then there was something about how Alabamans don't know how to run an election and cast their votes for Harry F. Byrd,[10] a 73-year-old segregationist who wasn't even running for President that year.[No, not The Onion]

In between his running in 1960 and 1968, Nixon decided to run for Governor of California in 1962, eventually losing to Democratic nomination Pat Brown.[11] After he lost, Nixon called a press conference where he said "You won't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.[12] It was not his last press conference.

The only reason he became President is because he was running against two Democrats in '68 who split the vote. Johnson's fight for civil rights caused a Dixiecrat walkout. Alabama governor George Wallace split ranks and ran against Herbert Humphrey as an Independent.[13] Nixon finished just ahead of Humphrey, despite taking only 43% of the vote—helped by Democrats who had proven that summer that they couldn't even run a convention, much less a country. The '68 convention was the one with the hippie protesters, riot police, and tear gas in the streets. Similar to today, the left wing of the party was unhappy with the nomination process.[14] RFK and Eugene McCarthy ran to the left of Humphrey, who was tied to Johnson's war policy.[15]

Don't change Dicks in the middle of a screw![edit]

We give up.[16]

In 1972, the Democrats were badly divided. Ted Kennedy couldn't run: Chappaquiddick (Kennedy's DUI/manslaughter) was too fresh, and he failed to come up with a satisfactory explanation when he did run in 1980.[17] Nixon campaign sabotage took out Ed Muskie, who was seen as Nixon's biggest threat after Kennedy.[18][19][20] 1972 was the first convention organized with new rules after the controversy of '68.[21] Unfortunately that meant too many speeches, a platform which was deemed too left of center,[22][23] and George McGovern didn't get to deliver his acceptance speech until well after midnight.[24] If he'd known his running mate had caused very serious damage to him anonymously, McGovern would have never picked him in the first place.[25] Also not helping was getting rejected by six different replacement hopefuls.

Moderates flocked to Nixon, who won one of the largest landslides in history, taking 60% of the popular vote. He was also the first Republican candidate to sweep the southern states. That was the beginning of a streak that resulted in 7/10 Presidential victories and the GOP taking over Congress for the first time since Hoover.


Flyers distributed on behalf of Nixon to allege that Helen Douglas was soft on communism.
The vice-hatchet man slinging slander and spreading half-truths while the Top Man peers down the green fairways of indifference.
—Gov. Frank G. Clement (D-TN)[26]

Nixon financed his campaign for Congress with the Poker winnings he scooped during World War II. Wonder how much of it was actual skill or the fact he was playing against a bunch of kids who were too drunk to play smartly?[27][28] He had a remarkable career in that he went from a freshman Congressman to Vice President of the United States in six years: first by making a name for himself on the House Un-American Activities Committee,[29] then making the jump to Senator by accusing political rivals of being communists with no evidence other than I said so.[30] He set the ball rolling for the death of the New Deal set when he campaigned against Jerry Voorhis by accusing him of being a secret communist.[31]

To dismiss accusations that he was misusing campaign funds,[32] then-Senator Nixon featured a white cocker spaniel named Checkers in a televised speech. A summary: My friends gave me bribes and some people say I should give them back. Well, my friends also gave me a puppy. My little girls love him. And we're not giving him back.[33] You've got to hand it to him, in a way. He also brought out his wife and bragged about her "cloth coat", as opposed to those Democrats with their fur coats, we guess.

Eisenhower picked him as Vice-President to try and stifle the McCarthy wing of the party.[34] Since Eisenhower hated him,[35][36] Nixon was constantly sent to foreign countries for eight years, which is how he developed his foreign policy "genius."

Nixon grew up in a strict Quaker church which had become largely indistinguishable from other Protestants. His family had some strange hangups about physical contact. His mom apparently wouldn’t even hug him.[37] At one point in the Nixon presidency, a group of politically liberal Quakers tried to disown Nixon due to his actions in Vietnam.[38] This failed, as his childhood church refused to disown him. Nixon argued that U.S. military action served the greater goal of 'peace,'[39] so it was ultimately consistent with his Quakerism.Do You Believe That? Nothing says pacifism like comitting war crimes. He seems to have felt a lot more comfortable with evangelicals like Billy Graham than with unprogrammed Quakers who were useless to his plans.[40] Evangelicals were supportive of Nixon, even during Watergate.[41]

There was strong evidence that the Nixon administration had gotten into the habit of carrying out illegal activities over the course of several years.[42] Nixon considered Ted Kennedy such a threat that he faked State Department cables to make it appear that President Kennedy had been directly involved in the assassination of South Vietnam’s president in 1963.[43] He even ordered Secret Service agents personally loyal to him to be assigned to Ted in the hope they would work as spies.[44] The Nixon administration also tried to subvert the trial of Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon contractor who leaked the Pentagon Papers (which proved that both Johnson and Nixon were lying when they said that they had a plan to win the Vietnam War) by burglarizing his psychiatrist's office and offering the judge a position as Director of the FBI.[45] Ironically, the case was dismissed due in part to gross government misconduct and illegal evidence gathering.[46]

Blacks for Dick![edit]

Sammy was a warlock?[47] Maybe that's why he's addressing what appears to be the Devil.[48]
When you are close to Nixon he almost disarms you with his apparent sincerity. You never get the impression that he is the same man who campaigned in California a few years ago, and who made a tear jerking speech on television in the 1952 campaign to save himself from an obvious misdeed. And so I would conclude by saying that if Richard Nixon is not sincere, he is the most dangerous man in America.
Martin Luther King Jr.[49]

Nixon presided over the Senate between 1957-61, when Johnson was Senate Majority Leader. They were competing with each other to pass a civil rights bill in either '57 or '58. This was in the face of fierce backlash from Congressional Southern Democrats.[50] Nixon backed the 1957 Civil Rights bill, and arguably had a better record on civil rights than Kennedy in 1960. As Vice President, he was an advocate for desegregation of schools and “black capitalism” with the belief that, instead of welfare programs, African-Americans should be incentivized to start their own businesses and lift themselves out of poverty.[51] He viewed these as potential inroads to “the negro vote”, and Eisenhower carried 40% of the black vote in the sixties.[52] Martin Luther King Jr. was a fan of Nixon for that reason, and supported Nixon's first bid for President.

This is a nuanced topic for any President, but more schools were desegregated under Nixon than under Ike, Kennedy, or LBJ. However, saying this was because of anything Nixon did is misleading. It came down to the Warren court who interpreted the Commerce Clause to mean desegregating hotels, restaurants, etc. in the south., which led to busing becoming a major political issue in the 70s. Nixon, who opposed busing as a way to desegregate schools,[53][54] enforced the Court's ruling nonetheless.[55] This led to a quick increase in the number of schools desegregated. It was the combined efforts of the three Presidents mentioned that appointed the judges who ruled 9-0 for desegregation. Some historians have re-evaluated the Nixon administration's policies on integration: For example, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was not doing its job to enforce integration in Northern cities and Nixon did nothing to change that.[56] Likewise, the "Philadelphia Plan" made unions establish goals and timetables for hiring minorities. Nixon initially supported it, but pivoted when polling and data indicated that conservative (i.e. white) labor groups supported his actions in Vietnam and were more likely to dislike protestors.[57][58]

The Southern Strategy originated with Goldwater;[59] he just figured it out too late. The writing was on the wall during the '60 campaign: After Dr. King was jailed in Georgia, Nixon didn't make any calls on his behalf, but Kennedy did.[60] King’s father was a well-known Republican. Nixon’s silence, which Jackie Robinson couldn’t talk him out of,[61] was interpreted as not wanting to piss off the Noisy Minority.

Nixon was quick to peel off Reagan primary voters by turning race relations into a "state's rights" issue.[62][63] Southern Kingmaker Strom Thurmond openly supported Nixon and tilted the south in his favor.[64] If Agnew was supposed to balance out Nixon's more rightist thinking, it didn't happen. From 1964 onward, Agnew was compared with Goldwater, though still with a law and order hoo-rah stance, and he was vocal enough in pushing back against black communities to keep the south happy.[65] There is no doubt that the Southern Strategy existed: one of Nixon's strategists laid it out in documents, and later, a book.[66] In 2005, the Republican National Committee chairman formally apologized to the NAACP.[67]

During his presidency, Nixon set up the "Political Enemies Project” with the purpose of compiling a list of people that he didn't like and using "the available federal machinery" to "screw" with them,[68] which included ordering IRS audits and planting false stories in the press. For Nixon, it was enough to be a famous African-American, so everyone from James Brown to the Black Panthers were on his shitlist. (Is there a good reason why every black Congressman is on it?)[69] His administration started cracking down on narcotics partially because Hoover could use it as an excuse to arrest large numbers of organized blacks.[70]

Internationally, Nixon was not much better. Anthony Lake documented in his book The "Tar Baby" Option: American Policy Towards Southern Rhodesia how many United States Presidents enabled the Apartheid in South Africa at the time. The term was coined by State Department critics of what Nixon was doing, with the term being a reference to an old Bre'r Rabbit tale, although the term today is widely seen as a racial slur.[71]

The Shart of the Deal[edit]

See, when I said I'd wind down the war, what I meant was adding two new countries to it.
We bombed them into accepting our concessions.
—John Negroponte, National Security Council director for Vietnam during the Nixon administration.[72]

The sixties were pretty bipartisan when it came to the whole war thing. In 1967, the US halted bombing as a goodwill gesture. It was purely a political move by Johnson to help Humphrey. He knew the North Vietnamese wouldn't accept anything less than unconditional withdrawal by the US. Nixon told the South Vietnamese to wait until he got elected to get a better deal.[73] Probably a violation of the Logan Act i.e. felonies. He insinuated that LBJ should just put his money where his mouth is and accuse Nixon of wrongdoing.[74] Johnson only knew of Nixon's treachery via an illegal FBI wiretap. Johnson could make no formal charges without revealing that he, too, was a lawbreaker.[75]

Nixon had promised (or implied) during his campaign that he would negotiate a Korean-style peace rather than revert to Johnson-style escalation.[76] Instead he ordered Kissinger to extend the bombings into Cambodia and hit the Viet Cong in the border areas.[77][78][79] Kissinger and Nixon hid it from Congress, the CIA, the State Department and even the Pentagon by cooking the books on mission logs.[80] Ellsberg was involved in the Vietnam-era defense industry and found that Kissinger was rejecting the input of government consultants to Cambodia because they didn't "have clearances."[81] After the details were leaked, Nixon had his staff illegally wiretapped.[82]

Protests erupted across the United States and four students were shot dead during demonstrations at Kent State University in Ohio.[83] Crowds of demonstrators outside the White House were so thick that they had to call in the National Guard.[84] In the midst of this, Nixon made an early morning visit to the Lincoln Memorial to pretend to care what young people think.[85] Congress barred further military action in the region,[86] and that was one more nail in Nixon's coffin.

Although Viet Cong fighters and supplies were coming in through Laos and Cambodia, the aimless nature of the bombing did not help matters in the slightest. Nixon started the bombings in 1969. By 1971, all North Vietnamese losses had been replaced, and the supply line was altered.[87][88][89] Relations between North Vietnam and Cambodia deteriorated when Pol Pot's racist ideology took effect.[90][91] After the U.S. intervention, which lasted until 1973, Pot used the devastation to justify his purges of other ethnic groups,[92][93][94][95] only to be stopped by communist Vietnam.[96][97]

The administration was able to muck their way through 'Nam while announcing major breakthroughs (without going into too much detail).[98][99][100] When the Paris Peace Accords were finally signed in '73, the agreement was pretty much the same as the one proposed in '68. The war ended with South Vietnam not existing anymore. Vietnam is still a socialist republic with a one-party system and the Vietnamese are enjoying a better life. Nixon also said, "I'm not going to be the first president to lose a war."[101] Best dealmaker ever. About a third of Americans who were killed in combat (roughly 25,000) did so during the Nixon presidency.[102]

Nixon's public face was that of someone who opposed the arms race, whereas in reality he was a barely-controlled lush who didn't consider treaties all that important, but that only came out years afterwards.[103] His entire idea of "peace with honor" was based around his "Madman Theory" of seeming like he was one bad election season from making Fallout a reality.[104][105] That's what brought Kissinger into the inner circle in the first place. (To be fair, fantasizing about mass civilian casualties was the only way the Kissinger could finish.)[106] An unsubstantiated rumor has it that Nixon ordered a nuclear attack on North Korea which was ignored because he was shitfaced. Thanks to the infamous tapes, we know that Nixon did at one point badger Kissinger about the possibility of nuclear war,[107][108] but it was never put into practice.

Watergate and resignation[edit]

Nixon giving his final V-for-victory" gesture after resigning. It was used during his tenure to signify victory in Vietnam.
See the main article on this topic: Watergate scandal
I had not been trained as a criminal lawyer, to become counsel to the president. I realized later it was essential.
—John Dean, former White House Counsel[109]

Nixon’s second term was going to be one of revenge (using the IRS and other resources) against his “enemies” from his first term. (He even had a list of enemies.[110]) He tried to get the FBI to be his private goon squad, but J. Edgar Hoover (an astute political survivor) told Nixon to take a hike. So Nixon’s team pulled together its own random team of bumbling amateur goons who had breathtaking overconfidence in their own abilities.[111][112][113] Each break-in they attempted—Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, the Watergate office building—was an unmitigated disaster; the Watergate burglary was actually the third time his operatives had broken into it.[114] When the burglars were caught, the money trail quickly lead to Nixon's Attorney General.[115] And who was it that turned Nixon in to the Washington Post? The FBI; the very people Nixon was trying to go around.[116]

Nixon held a meeting three days after the break-in. An 18½-minute gap in the audio begins right as the conversation turns to Watergate.[117] Nixon's secretary Rose Mary Woods was supposed to have leaned waaay back in her chair and accidentally held down a distortion pedal for the better part of twenty minutes.[118] Do You Believe That?

The Articles of Impeachment don't accuse Nixon of having foreknowledge of the break-in.[119] (In the tapes, Nixon openly wondered which bonehead ordered it.)[120] The Third Article accuses Nixon of ignoring subpoenas. The other two focus on Nixon conspiring to pay hush money to the burglars, try to derail the FBI investigation, lie and withhold evidence, and tell witnesses to perjure themselves,[121] all in the span of two minutes.[No, not The Onion] Firing the replacement Attorney General and his deputy on the same night because they wouldn't close down the investigation didn't make him look good.[122] (Imagine if Clinton had fired Ken Starr.) Nixon's Vice President was forced to resign due to a financial scandal.[123] Afterward, Nixon made a deal with Agnew's replacement, Gerald Ford, whereby Nixon would be pardoned after resigning his office. Ford also wrangled the votes to thwart the early Watergate investigation.[124]

Public opinion didn't start turning on Nixon until he sued for control over his tapes.[125] These were the Oval Office recordings in which he said some outrageous stuff that would be political suicide if he uttered it in public: how blacks are in jail because of the violence gene,[126] or how blacks are more reliable than Jews because they are dumber and less able to scheme,[127] etc. There was a debate over whether Nixon was unbalanced and a threat to national security.[128]

In his interview with David Frost, Nixon made the outrageous claim that, "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal."[129] Post-'74, of course, he was reduced to making publicity appearances with Robocop.[130]

Last liberal President?[edit]

Another important Presidential campaign poster from '72.
...Nixon could do no other than be his uneasy self, committed to mischief, acting and talking like a sleepwalker in a surreal dream: "American troops have just entered Cambodia. This is not an invasion."[131] More to the point, the fact that so few Americans ever noted the chasm between his words and deeds was always proof to me that he was, in a curious way, the quintessential American, indifferent to — when aware of — cause and effect, acting only to further his own career, which meant that he was sometimes capable of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.
Gore Vidal[132]

The irony, of course, is that Nixon's approach to healthcare was a lot like Obama's. Listening to the relevant White House tape, you can hear him be presented with the idea of privatized HMOs whose central feature is denying more claims to pay out as little money as possible. Nixon loved the idea.[133] The initial deal he proposed in 1971 was too insurance-friendly for Teddy's tastes.[134] Nixon also vetoed the Comprehensive Child Development Act,[135] which would have provided subsidized or free childcare for the whole country. It was defeated thanks to some well-timed fearmongering from conservatives who decried it as the thin edge of communism.[136]

It could be argued that the creation of the EPA was an exercise in conservatism. House and Senate Democrats were about to create the same thing.[137] Nixon's EPA answered only to him, so it wouldn’t make trouble for his industry friends. He then tried to dismantle it a couple years later.[138]

As with many things, Amtrak was born because Nixon wanted to bail out the railroad companies.[139][140] The maps drawn up by his administration amusingly describe his attitude: the maps are ranked from Presidential risk of blame for killing passenger car service to balanced budgets by 1980. The latter plan would have killed all routes except for the northeast, Chicago and Florida. The bipartisan intent was to kill Amtrak by 1980.[141]

Like in that ancient Vulcan proverb, Nixon proposed welcoming "China back into the world community" by seeking to make changes through dialogue,[142] and stated that U.S. involvement in Vietnam was "proof that communism is not necessarily the wave of Asia's future." Nixon was warned by Phyllis Schlafly that he would lose the support of the 'grassroots.'[143] It's no secret that the John Birch types, such as the ones who spat on Lady Bird Johnson during a protest,[144] turned on Eisenhower for allegedly being soft on communism. Their distaste transferred over to Nixon. Birchers even supported a primary challenger to Nixon in '72.[145]

The Bohemian Grove is considered by some to be the Illuminati. This syncs up nicely with a quote by Nixon, which is used for speculation that the CIA did him in because they couldn't handle a Quaker this raw. The quote in-context isn’t as scathing as it sounds: it’s just him complaining to his advisors about how close the Grove is to San Francisco, which makes it gay.[No, not The Onion] It wasn’t principled disdain for the Deep State on Dick’s part.[146]

"Nixon Shock"[edit]

The economy went to Hell under Nixon. Under the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944, the U.S. dollar was convertible to gold. The idea was to link other currencies together by valuing them against the dollar, which could be exchanged for a fixed amount of gold. Basically, the U.S. printed too many dollars and there was a sort of bank run going on.[147] It was impossible to hold enough gold to balance the sheets, so Nixon "temporarily" suspended payments to countries who wanted to exchange their dollars for gold.[148]

In 1971, Nixon ordered tax cuts, a 90-day price and wage freeze, and a 10% tariff on imports.[149] He also tried permanent Daylight Savings Time in an attempt to save fuel.[150] There are folks well to the right of Nixon who call him a liberal due to his emergency measures to resolve stagflation,[151][152] which are violations of free market principles.


Nixon seemed really naive about entertainers and drug use.[153]
Even Richard Nixon has got soul.
—Neil Young, "Campaigner"

His views seem incongruous to modern conservatism because modern conservatism is just the same opinions copy and pasted.

  • Signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and unilaterally ended US biological and chemical weapons research.
  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is harder to attribute to Nixon because it was the culmination of almost a century of labor organization, but he did sign it into law.[154]
  • Expanded Social Security and campaigned for it to be indexed against inflation.[155][156] In doing so, he flipped it from non-discretionary government spending to discretionary (mandatory) spending. The Republican drive to privatize Social Security is a red herring. They can't get rid of it, they can only borrow from it to give the rich tax breaks.
  • Roe v. Wade was decided 7-2. Warren E. Burger and Lewis F. Powell, both Nixon appointees, joined the majority decision. Nixon also thought that abortions should be legal, in part, for unwanted mixed race pregnancies.[157] Swing and a miss.
  • Signed Title IX into law, banning federally funded education programs from discriminating based on sex.[158]
  • Championed the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18. Nixon was probably aware that the majority of the people enfranchised by the amendment were left-wing Democrat supporters, but viewed it as necessary to make American democracy stronger.[159]
  • Nixon was elected on a draft abolition platform. After he won, the draft was reformed, extended for two more years, then ended in 1973.[160]
  • He also was the first President to declare war on cancer! Which in hindsight was insanely optimistic but a good try. And he established the National Cancer Institute as autonomous within the National Institute of Health.[161] That slashed the red tape and gave cancer research funding priority.
  • There was a public call, especially within the Jewish community (which Kissinger was part of), for Nixon to lean on the Soviets to grant passports to Jews. Kissinger's hardcore realism meant he cared little for refugees and so any effort expended to help them would be a net loss.[162] In the audio you can hear Kissinger banging something with his fist to emphasize the point. Kissinger was always the voice of reason.[163] Do You Believe That? Nevertheless, in the Russian Wheat Deal of 1972, Nixon traded wheat for Jewish immigrants held hostage in the Soviet Union.[164]
  • Nixon is commonly cited as one of, if not the most positive president for Native American affairs.[165][166][167][168][169][170] Shows that even the worst Presidents can still have a cult following in other communities.
  • While he has, in recent years, faced accusations of being connected to the Mafia due to his connections to several organized crime figures, his administration was responsible for the Organized Crime Control Act and RICO, which are credited with practically destroying the American Mafia as a force.[171]


We will watch your career with great interest.
The only dope worth shooting is Richard Nixon.
—Abbie Hoffman, "God Bless America — Shoot Nixon"

Nixon is also famous for getting things horribly wrong:

  • Helped formulate the pact with Golda Meir agreeing that Israel would never admit they possess nuclear weapons so as to maintain good relations with the U.S.[172]
  • At least partially responsible for the rise of Pinochet in Chile, so that'd be a negative.[173][174]
  • In 1968, as LBJ tried to start peace negotiations to end the Vietnam War, one of the diplomats he sent was a certain Henry Kissinger. Kissinger, unbeknownst to LBJ, was already aligned with Nixon and kept Nixon informed on what was happening. Nixon would then use this info to have another diplomat, Anna ChennaultWikipedia sabotage the negotiations, thus preventing LBJ and the Democrats from successfully ending the war in time for the election that November, and allowing Nixon and Kissinger to successfully conduct peace negotiations later.[175][176] And in a Ned StarkianWikipedia level of naively boneheaded politics, LBJ and Hubert HumphreyWikipedia (LBJ's successor as Democratic candidate in 1968), both of whom had knowledge of Nixon's illegal and unethical acts, refused to publicize the situation, which allowed Nixon's plan to wildly succeed.[177] Over 20,000 Americans[178] were killed between 1969 and 1973 just so that Nixon could win an election.[179]
  • Nixon hated India's neutral stance during the Cold War (which in Nixon's eyes meant being pro-Soviet). At the time, Kissinger and Nixon were using Pakistan as a back-channel to normalize relations with China, India's hated enemy. This led to the U.S. giving about $2 million in military equipment to Pakistan,[180] ignoring their mass rapes of Bengalis and destruction of temples.[181][182] (The Pakistani Army tried to take as many "intellectuals" as they could down with them so Bangladesh would struggle as a nation post-independence.)[183] Directing his puppet nations to assist Pakistan by sending planes was illegal, but Kissinger told Nixon to go ahead with it anyway.[184] Not surprising considering their immense shared hatred of Indians.[185] In addition, Nixon and Kissinger were responsible for either ignoring or punishing Foreign Service officers who reported what was going on.[186][187]
  • NASA had big plans for the post-moon landing era, but they were blindsided by how quickly they lost support after Apollo 11. Of course, unwinnable wars in the early seventies took away all hope for exploring space. During the Nixon presidency, funding was cut for Apollo 18, 19, and 20,[188] and the Apollo Applications Program (which planned to establish a permanent lunar base and send people to Mars) was also cut. The other very cool technology Nixon shut down was thorium reactors.[189] Any intervening presidents could have put NASA back on course, but they didn't. It was a publicity stunt from the beginning.
  • His Secretary of Agriculture was Rusty Butz,[No, not The Onion] who looked like a character out of Dr. Strangelove's war room. He created conditions in which small family farms couldn't compete and were consolidated into industrial-scale corn and soy farming.[190] That's why high-fructose corn syrup is in everything, why gasoline is like 15+% ethanol, why livestock are force-fed a diet of soy protein and corn, and so on.
  • Modern Supreme Court shenanigans started with Nixon:
    • Clement Haynsworth had issued rulings that supported segregation.[191] Unsurprisingly, the Senate rejected him 45-55.
    • G. Harold Carswell had an abysmally-thin resume and a history of being an open white supremacist.[192] Some GOP senator urged his colleagues to overlook his shortcomings because mediocre people need representation on the bench, too.[193] [No, not The Onion] Carswell was later charged with making a pass at an undercover male cop in a public restroom.[194]
    • Lewis F. Powell of the "Powell Memorandum", a confidential memo which called for corporate America to be more aggressive in profligating their influence.[195] Powell authored the 5-4 majority opinion National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti which further expanded "corporate personhood."[196] By the way, Powell was a lobbyist before he became a Supreme Court Justice.
    • Before he got promoted, William Rehnquist was a right-wing apparatchik in the Nixon Administration, and it showed.[197] Nixon seemed happy that Mildred Lillie was Catholic, but was flatly unwilling willing to go to the mat for a woman, no matter how qualified.[198] Ten years later, Ronald Reagan did take that chance, nominating Sandra Day O'Connor.
  • Backed a proposal to cut the funding for PBS in half.[199] After Fred Rogers testified in front of the Senate and sang a few words here and there, the audience was so captivated that PBS funding was increased from $9 million to $22 million. And then Mitt Romney told the nation in a debate (in front of a moderator who worked for PBS) that he would cut funding for it. Gotta make room for those oil subsidies and mega rich tax loopholes somehow.[200]
  • Nixon had a real acumen for surrounding himself with full-fledged lunatics:
    • Roger Ailes — As a media consultant during Nixon's presidency, he suggested that the Republicans develop what he called "G.O.P. T.V."[201]
    • Pat Buchanan — Speechwriter who coined the phrase "Silent Majority." He tried to pivot the Republican Party away from free trade, free markets, and free... invading other countries? Okay, that broke down, but in any case, very few of his social policies are good.[202] He was last politically relevant thirty years ago, so we don't think about him too much.
    • Dick Cheney — Staffer to Rumsfeld. Ethically moribund. One of the most active pushers of expansion of Executive privilege.
    • Chuck Colson — White House counsel, Watergate operative.
    • Lucianne Goldberg — Mother of Jonah. A right-wing activist whose career was made on spreading salacious material and conspiracy theories.[203]
    • G. Gordon Liddy — Nixon created "the Plumbers" to do what the FBI regularly did, only reporting directly to Nixon instead of Hoover. But he hired morons to do it. In his testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee, former Attorney General John Mitchell said that if he could go back in time, he wouldn’t just throw Liddy out of his office, but out of the window.[204]
    • Karl Rove — Why are so many Nixon admin bastards still alive?[205]
    • Donald Rumsfeld — A "ruthless little bastard." (Nixon meant it endearingly.)[206]
    • Ben Stein — Speechwriter and Fox News regular. Anti-vax, creationist, general right-wing economic stuff, politely-racist stuff about BLM etc.[207] Would love a similar show called Seize Ben Stein's Money where we make him poor.
    • Roger Stone — Can't wait for him to join Liddy in Hell.
    • Unification Church — Sun Myung Moon, a prophet of the right-wing, first came to prominence as a die-hard Nixon defender.[208]

Personal affectations and grooming[edit]

Nixon was a sweaty, smelly, hard-drinking, vindictive, bitter, paranoid, foulmouthed anti-Semite who suffered from heavy beard growth and a raging inferiority complex.[citation NOT needed]

Nixon's legacy[edit]

Nixon tried to win without appealing to racism and lost the first time. It was only after he became focused on the politics of white grievances that he won, and conservatives haven't had a brain since. Nixon got about 15% of the black vote when he ran against Humphrey and McGovern.[209] Since that time, no GOP candidate has broken 20%.[210] (They now get low single digits.)[211]

At a time when overt antisemitism was beginning to vanish from mainstream American culture, Richard Nixon was the most profoundly antisemitic president in U.S. history. In the Nixon tapes, he repeatedly accuses American Jews of placing "Jewish interests" before American ones, almost verbatim reuse of one of 19th-century Europe's most pernicious anti-Semitic canards. Nixon's obsession with the Evil Jew was only part of a profoundly paranoid personality that saw vast, byzantine conspiracies lurking everywhere. It is ironic (but predictable) that such a committed conspiracy theorist was responsible for some of the most outrageous conspiracies ever perpetrated in American politics. He combined his conspiracism with a rash, callous attitude towards war.

Nixon supporters (30% of the country) stood by him for a long time after Watergate. Responses included:[212]

☑ Everybody does it. (Actually, that was the spin at the time. Truth is, nobody else was breaking into, trespassing onto, or otherwise stealing their opposition's stuff.)

☑ The U.S. needs a Strongman

☑ The Liberals are out to get Nixon, you can’t trust the CIA or the FBI (with a lot of similarities to the modern Deep State conversation)

☑ Nixon is the only one who can defend traditional gender roles/race hierarchy.

What about Chappaquiddick? With Nobody Died at Watergate bumper stickers being popular at the time.

Terrify your kids with these Nixon quotes![edit]

Hidden microphones disguised as Chapstick tubes that were uncovered from a White House safe. Nothing weird about this, right?
  1. "The Indians need—what they need really is a mass famine."[185]
  2. "Indian women are the most unattractive." — We have heard enough of his lies.
  3. "The Jews are born spies."[146]
  4. "Many Jews in the Communist conspiracy. [Whittaker] Chambers and [Alger] Hiss were the only non-Jews."[213]
  5. "I didn’t notice many Jewish names coming back from Vietnam on any of those lists; I don’t know how the hell they avoid it. If you look at the Canadian-Swedish contingent, they were very disproportionately Jewish. The deserters."[214]
  6. "It's unfortunate, but this has happened to the Jews, happened in Spain, it happened in Germany, it's happening, and now it's gonna happen in America if these people don't start behaving. It may be they have a death wish, that's been the problem with our Jewish friends for centuries."[215]
  7. "They're for peace at any price, except where the support of Israel is concerned. The best Jews are actually the Israeli Jews."[215]
  8. "The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs."[146]
  9. "Screw State! State's always on the side of the blacks. The hell with them!"[216]
  10. "I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have to be, frankly, inbred.”[214] — on desegregation
  11. "My point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders, and others bring them in that direction, and teachers."[217] — on gays
  12. "I won't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco."[146]
  13. "You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates."[146] — Richard Nixon, paranoid classics professor
  14. "Let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn, they root 'em out. They don't let 'em around at all. I don't know what they do with them. Look at this country. You think the Russians allow dope? Homosexuality, dope, immorality..."[146]
  15. "The press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it."[218]

Awesome quotes[edit]

A little sampling that tells you just how insane Nixon was. Ladies and gentlemen, the former steward of the world's second-largest nuclear arsenal!

  • "I still think we ought to take the North Vietnamese dikes out now. Will that drown people? … No, no, no, I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. Have you got that, Henry? … The nuclear bomb, does that bother you? I just want you to think big, Henry, for Christsakes. The only place where you and I disagree is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about civilians, and I don't give a drat. I don't care."[219]
  • "I call it the Madman Theory, Bob [Haldeman]. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, "for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry—and he has his hand on the nuclear button" and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace."[220]
  • "You don't have Nixon to kick around any more" (originally published as "You won't have Nixon to kick around any more")[221]
  • "And in all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I can say that in my years of public life, that I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know whether or not their President's a crook. Well, I'm not a crook. I've earned everything I've got."[222]
  • "[Expletive deleted]" (from the initial public transcripts of the White House tapes)
  • "…but when the President does it, that means it is not illegal…"[223]
  • "When the American people look at you they see what they want to be; when they look at me they see what they are."[224]
  • "Sock it to me?"[225]


  • "Fucking Jew-bastards everywhere!"
  • "The Jewish cabal is out to get me."[226]
  • "You know, it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana are Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists."[227]
  • "Many Jews in the Communist conspiracy. Chambers and Hiss were the only non-Jews. Many thought that Hiss was. He could have been a half. Every other one was a Jew—and it raised hell for us. But in this case, I hope to God he's not a Jew."[228]
  • "The Jews are irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards."[229]
  • "But, Bob, generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards. They turn on you. Am I wrong or right?[230]
  • "As long as I'm sitting in the chair, there's not going to be any Jew appointed to that court."
  • "Anybody who is Jewish cannot handle [the Middle East]. Even though Henry’s, I know, as fair as he can possibly be, he can't help but be affected by it. You know, put yourself in his position. Good God! You know, his people were crucified over there. Jesus Christ! And five million of them, popped into bake ovens! What the hell does he feel about all this?"[231]
  • "They put the Jewish interest above America's interest and it's about goddamn time that the Jew in America realizes he's an American first and a Jew second."[232]
  • "Goddamn his Jewish soul!".[232]
  • "[Jews want] peace at any price except where support for Israel is concerned. The best Jews are actually the Israeli Jews."

Black people[edit]

See the main article on this topic: African Americans
  • "There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white. Or a rape."[233]
  • "I have the greatest affection for them [Negroes] but I know they're not going to make it for 500 years. They aren't. You know it, too. The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like."[146]
  • "Screw [the Department of] State! State's always on the side of the blacks. The hell with them!"[234]
  • "Blacks can't run Jamaica. Nowhere, and they won't be able to for a hundred years, and maybe not for a thousand.[232]
  • "You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really blacks. The key is to develop a system that recognized this while not appearing to." Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman's diary quoting Nixon's propagandistic rationalization for the war on crime.[235]:24-25

Quotes about him[edit]

  • "The illegal we do at once; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." — Henry Kissinger,[236] parodying the slogan "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer." (allegedly the motto of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during World War II)[237]
  • "Nixon is the weirdest man to have ever lived in the White House." — White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.[238]
  • "My God, if I had done everything Richard Nixon told me to do, I'd probably be in Leavenworth [prison] today!" — Gen. Alexander Haig[238]
  • "Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he'd lie just to keep his hand in." — Harry Truman[239]
  • "He's like a Spanish horse who runs faster than anyone for the first nine lengths and then turns around and runs backwards. You'll see; he'll do something wrong in the end. He always does." — Lyndon Johnson, 1969
  • "He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears but by diligent hard work, he overcame them." — James Reston[240]
  • "Richard Nixon was a really, really bad guy."-Jonathan Chait[241]
  • "He was the most dishonest individual I ever met in my life. President Nixon lied to his wife, his family, his friends, longtime colleagues in the US Congress, lifetime members of his own political party, the American people and the world."-Barry Goldwater[242]
  • "Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."-John F. Kennedy[243]
  • "If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin."-Hunter S. Thompson[1]
  • "Nixon is he kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree then mount the stump for a speech on conservation."-Adlai Stevenson[244]:10

See also[edit]

  • Tony Blair — Just shows that religious beliefs are irrelevant to "devout" politicians.

External links[edit]



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  161. Schmeck Jr., Harold M., "Nixon Signs Cancer Bill", New York Times 24 December 1971.
  162. Benac, Nancy, "Henry Kissinger was a trusted confidant to President Nixon until the bitter, bizarre end", Associated Press November 2023 updated 12:04 PM.
  163. Naughton, James M., "Doctor at C.I.A. Links Kissinger To Request for Ellsberg Profile", New York Times 26 November 1973 p.1.
  164. Gwertzman, Bernard, "U.S. Reports Deal on Soviet Trade and Emigration", New York Times 19 October 1974 p.65.
  165. Blair, William M., "Nixon Presses Interior Agency To Reform Policies on Indians", New York Times 29 September 1971 p.66.
  166. "Executive Order 11670—Providing for the Return of Certain Lands to the Yakima Indian Reservation", 20 May 1970 via the American Presidency Project.
  167. Nixon, Richard, "Special Message to the Congress on Indian Affairs", 8 July 1970 via the American Presidency Project.
  168. Nixon, Richard, "Remarks on Signing Bill Restoring the Blue Lake Lands in New Mexico to the Taos Pueblo Indians", 15 December 1970 via the American Presidency Project.
  169. Nixon, Richard, "Statement on Signing the Menominee Restoration Act", 22 December 1973 via the American Presidency Project.
  170. Nixon, Richard, "Statement About Signing the Indian Financing Act of 1974", 13 April 1974 via the American Presidency Project.
  171. Were Richard Nixon's Alleged Ties To Organized Crime Real Or Mere Speculation?
  172. Avner Cohen and William Burr, "The Untold Story of Israel's Bomb", Washington Post 30 April 2006.
  173. Helms, Richard, "CIA Notes on Meeting with the President on Chile", September 15, 1970 via NSArchive.
  174. Helms, Richard, "CIA Memorandum of Conversation with Agustin Edwards", 22 September 1970 via NSArchive.
  175. Nixon 'wrecked early peace in Vietnam', The Guardian
  176. Henry Kissinger’s Controversial Role in the Vietnam War,
  177. When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election, Politico
  178. Which of course doesn't factor the many more thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians....
  179. Vietnam War U.S. Military Fatal Casualty Statistics, National Archives
  180. Kissinger, Henry, "Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs to President Nixon", 23 December 1972.
  181. Blood, Archer, "U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Sitrep: Army Terror Campaign Continues in Dacca; Evidence Military Faces Some Difficulties Elsewhere", 31 March 1971 via NSArchive.
  182. "President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates Dhaka's historic Kali Mandir destroyed by Pakistani Army in 1971", Economic Times 17 December 2021 3:47:00 PM IST.
  183. Farland, Joseph, "U.S. Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, Arrests of East Pakistan Intellectuals", 17 September 1971 via NSArchive.
  184. "Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs", 9 December 1971 12:44 PM.
  185. 185.0 185.1 "Conversation Between President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger, 26 May 1971 10:38-10:44 a.m.
  186. Blood, Archer, "Telegram From the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State", 6 April 1971.
  187. "Conversation Among President Nixon, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, and the Ambassador to India", 15 June 1971 5:13 PM.
  188. Wilford, John Noble, "Pressure Is Reported on NASA To Make Heavy Cuts in Budget", New York Times 19 November 1971 p.18.
  189. Lyons, Richard D., "End of Rocket Project Produces Space Age Ghost Town", New York Times 26 March 1976 p.51.
  190. James Rissler and George Athem, "Why they love Earl Butz", New York Times 13 June 1976 p.195.
  191. "Senate Rejects Haynsworth Nomination to Court", Congressional Quartlerly Almanac 1969, 25th ed., p.337-49.
  192. Carswell Disavows '48 Speech Backing White Supremacy
  193. Weaver Jr., Warren, "Carswell Attacked and Defended as Senate Opens Debate on Nomination", New Yok Times 17 March 1970 p.21.
  194. "Carswell Indicted On Florida Charge Of Sexual Advance", New York Times 1 July 1971 p.14.
  195. Powell, Lewis F., "Attack on American Free Enterprise System", 23 August 1971 via Reuters.
  196. Weaver Jr. Warren, "Justices, 5-4, Allow Corporate Spending For Issues on Ballot", New York Times 27 April 1978.
  197. Kurtz, Howard, "Rehnquist Memos Described", Washington Post 7 August 1986.
  198. Telephone conversation between President Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell, 20 October 1971 6:17 p.m. via American Public Media.
  199. "Senate, Bowing to Nixon, Cuts Funds for Public TV", New York Times 22 July 1972 p.54.
  200. First Obama-Romney debate transcript and audio, 3 October 2012 via NPR.
  201. Cook, Jack, "Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint For Fox News Revealed", Business Insider via Gawker 30 June 2011 3:41 PM EDT.
  202. Buchanan, Pat, "Dealing With the Central Park Wolf Pack", Daily News Leader 9 May 1989 p.4.
  203. Lardner Jr., George, "The Scandal's Producer and Publicist", Washington Post 17 November 1998 p.A1.
  204. "Excerpts From Mitchell's Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Watergate", New York Times 12 June 1973 p.25.
  205. Stolberg, Sheryl Gray, "Rove Strategy Paper Found in Nixon Archive", New York Times 14 July 2007.
  206. Nixon White House conversation 464-12", 9 March 1971 via CNN.
  207. Fraunfelder, Ben, "Ben Stein is sick of 'colored' people complaining", Boing Boing 16 March 2023 6:10 PM.
  208. Babcock, Charles R., "Moon Sect Support of Nixon Detailed", Washington Post 10 November 1977.
  209. "Survey Reports McGovern Got 87% of the Black Vote", New York Times 12 November 1972.
  210. "The Election: Jimmy's Debt to Blacks", Time 22 November 1976.
  211. Ruth Igielnik, Scott Keeter and Hannah Hartig, "Behind Biden's Victory", Pew Research Center 30 June 2021.
  212. Sheehy, Gail, Slow Burn Season 1, Episode 5, "True Belivers", May 1973 via Slate.
  213. Molotsky, Irvin, "In 1971 Tapes, Nixon Is Heard Blaming Jews for Communist Plots", New York Times 7 October 1999.
  214. 214.0 214.1 Nagourney, Adam, "In Tapes, Nixon Rails About Jews and Blacks", New York Times 10 December 2010.
  215. 215.0 215.1 Conversation between President Nixon and Reverend Billy Graham, 21 Febuary 1973 8:10 pm-8:30 pm.
  216. Conversation between President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Camp David telephone, 24 September 1972 11:37 am–11:52 am.
  217. "Audio: Nixon’s Secret White House Tapes", Vanity Fair 10 July 2014.
  218. Conversation between President Nixon, Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger, and Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Alexander Haig, 14 December 1972.
  219. Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. (2002) by Daniel Ellsberg p. 418
  220. The Ends of Power (1978) by Robert Haldeman p. 83
  221. Last (and first) things by Mark Liberman (July 15, 2009) Language Log.
  222. 0:01 / 0:36 Richard Nixon - "I'm not a crook" (original broadcast: November 17, 1973) YouTube.
  223. Nixon says, "…but when the President does it, that means it is not illegal…" 1977 David Frost interview of Nixon (Mar 5, 2017) YouTube.
  224. Nixon wandering the halls of the White House shitface drunk talking to the portraits of dead presidents the night before resignation. (Woodward and Bernstein, Final Days, p. 303)
  225. And so much more!
  226. The Final Days by Bob Woodward
  228. Nixon, Haldeman, and Ronald Ziegler, 2:42-3:33 P.M. Oval Office Conversation #524-7; cassette #775 (17 June 1971)
  232. 232.0 232.1 232.2
  235. How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley (2018) Random House. ISBN 9780525511830.
  236. Transcript of secret meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mehli Esenbel, 3.10.75.
  238. 238.0 238.1 Doyle, William, Inside the Oval Office: The White House Tapes From FDR to Clinton (2002)
  239. Plain Speaking : An Oral Biography of Harry S Truman (1974) by Merle Miller, p. 179
  240. Attributed by Joe Sharkey, The New York Times 3.12.2000
  242. Quoted from his 1988 memoir Goldwater
  243. Presidential Confidential (2010), p. 296
  244. The nastiest things ever said about Republicans by Martin Higgins