Sunday, August 7, 2016

Richard Nixon is Tired of Being Compared to Donald Trump

Funny Politico Magazine piece by Richard Nixon. Ok, not really him, but from the person who runs the @dick_nixon Twitter account:

Here’s the truth. Yes, Trump promises détente with the Russians. He says he’s the “law and order” candidate—specifically invoking our ’68 campaign—and claims a so-called “secret plan” to beat Islamic State, just as I’m supposed to have done in Vietnam.

But if he’s Dick Nixon, I’m Kate Smith.

"I like babies; I’ve never, never, never talked that way toward a woman; and I have devoted my life to building a lasting architecture of peace."

"On accepting the nomination in 1968, I said:

"And to those who say that law and order is the code word for racism, there and here is a reply:

Our goal is justice for every American. If we are to have respect for law in America, we must have laws that deserve respect."

"Just as we cannot have progress without order, we cannot have order without progress, and so, as we commit to order tonight, let us commit to progress."

"Think about that. Where Trump hacked the old social bonds to pieces, we stitched them up in a delicate and calculated move to the center. And in ’68 that’s what “law and order” was; Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were shot, the cities burned in race riots. The murder rate was up 47 percent in five years. It’s horrific to see a school or nightclub shot up today, policemen shot in the back by snipers, blacks mowed down for traffic tickets. But ’68 felt like the end was near."

"The only people against “law and order” were anarchist kooks. So we promised to deliver. To listen to the “quiet voice in the tumult and the shouting,” the native and foreign born, the young and old. And we did deliver. What more proof do you need than 49 states and 47.1 million votes in 1972?"

"The ’68 speech was a cool response to real danger. It spoke to whites, sure, but it left the door open. Trump locked up and threw away the key—and for what? Because far right economic policy sold the little guy up the river for 35 years, and now his only hope is an iron fist."

"The “secret plan” thing is one of the biggest damn lies told about me. I never had a “secret plan” for Vietnam. I didn’t run on it. Check the record. In fact, I wrote in the Los Angeles Times on March 28, 1968, that I had “no gimmicks or secret plans” for the war. It’s all an invention of the press."

"The whole dumb business began in New Hampshire on March 5, 1968, when I said I had “no push-button technique” to end the war, but nevertheless promised to end it. This echoed Ike’s vague pledge to get out of Korea in ’52. But I did elaborate on background to reporters and editorial boards—military and diplomatic pressure, Vietnamization. Everything we did."

"But the press loves nothing more than to feel privileged, so that’s where the “secret” talk came from."

Read more:

I agree there are a number of differences between Trump and Nixon. Nixon abused his power but nowhere near the level of a President Trump. Nixon at least released his tax returns-which did show him owing the IRS hundreds of thousands of dollars that he then paid.

Trump has tried to base himself on Nixon's 1968 campaign with appeals to 'Law and order.'

There are significant differences. For one, crime really had been surging in 1968 as it is not today. In addition, we had seen the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK. So the sense of anarchy and disorder were much more plausible then than today.

Beyond that, as Nixon says, he also had a positive unifying message in addition. Americans felt their streets were on fire and Nixon promised to put them out. Trump is the biggest arsonist in the arena.

On the issue of Nixon's 'secret plan' for Vietnam, he is on shakier ground. He did sound sort of proto Trumpian by promising to bring 'Peace with honor' in Vietnam and not even attempting to explain how.

He had argued like Trump would that saying anything would somehow weaken us at the negotiating table with the North Vietnamese.

What's more there are many historians who argue that Nixon deliberately sabotaged LBJ's peace talks with Vietnam in 1968, that Nixon's team deliberately undercut LBJ's October Surprise.

Nixon's team had urged South Vietnam to not accept but to wait till he's in, arguing South Vietnam would get better terms from him.

This if true is a near treasonous act. LBJ was aware of it and Hubert Humphrey became aware of it late. But he was unwilling to go public with what he learned at the 11th hour.

LBJ's team worried that Nixon would win the election and then this story would be out there which would lead to a constitutional crisis.

It's interesting how often unforced errors change things. What could have happened had Humphrey gone public? Michael Cohen-author of the above linked book argues that had Humphrey distanced himself from LBJ's Vietnam policy earlier he could have won.

What certainly seems true based on Cohen's telling of it, is that Chicago Richard Daley really made a big mistake in pushing the police department to crackdown so hard on the protesters.

Nixon's being forced to resign was an unforced error. After Daniel Elsberg released the Pentagon Papers Nixon freaked out and started threatening the press if they printed anything more by Elsberg.

The PP had nothing on Nixon-but plenty of JFK and LBJ. But Nixon worried what if Elsberg also had something on him?

Had he not started threatening the press, maybe none of this every happened.

Speaking of old Tricky Dick, the NY Times compares him to Trump-and Trump is found wanting.

"Lost in the debate over Donald J. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns is the story of where the custom of disclosure comes from — and why it can be so valuable as a measure of character. It’s a tale of presidential tax shenanigans, political scandal and one of the most famous quotations in American history: Richard M. Nixon’s “I am not a crook.”

"The story begins in July 1969, when Congress eliminated a provision of the tax code that had allowed a sitting or former president to donate his papers to a public or nonprofit archive in exchange for a very large tax deduction. Congress’s rationale was that a president’s papers already belonged to the public."

"In his taxes for 1969, President Nixon indicated that four months before Congress acted, he had donated more than 1,000 boxes of documents to the National Archives. He claimed a deduction of more than $500,000."

"The write-off didn’t become public until 1973, when it was mentioned in passing during a lawsuit related to the Watergate break-in. Although the deed formally giving the papers to the National Archives was dated March 27, 1969, it turned out not to have been signed until April 1970, nine months after presidential document donations lost nearly all their tax benefits. (A thorough account of Nixon’s tax dodge is contained in a paperwritten for the United States Capitol Historical Society by the Northwestern University law professor Joseph J. Thorndike.)"

"Had Nixon really beaten the deadline? And had he overstated the papers’ value to generate a personal windfall?"

In the end Nixon released his taxes under great political pressure. Trump has said he won't. What could be so bad in his returns that he'd rather be called out for his cowardice and lack and moral abdication?

Some of this sounds like what we know of Trump's taxes.

"There the story stalled until Oct. 3, 1973, when Jack White, a 31-year-old suburban reporter for The Providence Journal-Bulletin, broke the biggest story of his career. While big-time reporters prowled Washington for details about President Nixon’s taxes, White covered small-town politics and high-society events as manager of his paper’s bureau in Newport, R.I. But White, rumpled and easygoing, had a knack for earning the trust of sources. One source provided him with evidence that Nixon had paid taxes of only $792.81 in 1970 and $878.03 in 1971, despite having income exceeding $400,000."

"By donating his papers with a backdated deed, Nixon had slashed his tax bill drastically. He paid the equivalent of a family of three earning about $8,000 in 1970 dollars."

"Trump too has claimed a number of tax credits only available for those who make far less income than he claims."

"After White’s article was published, demands rose for full disclosure. The next month, White’s colleague at the Providence paper, Joseph Ungaro, asked Nixon about his taxes during his appearance at a newspaper editors’ conference in Florida. Nixon replied: “I welcome this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.”

"Three months after White won his Pulitzer, Nixon resigned from office, not because of taxes but under threat of impeachment for the Watergate cover-up. Among other misdeeds, he was accused of misusing the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the I.R.S. In addition to losing his presidency, Nixon lost nearly half his net worth paying what he owed to the I.R.S."

"Until Donald Trump, every major-party presidential nominee since then had released his or her tax returns (except Gerald Ford, who released a summary in 1976). The simple reason is that, on at least one subject, Nixon got it right: The American people need to know if their president is a crook."

Less transparent than Nixon. Not even close.


  1. To use mathematical symbols:

    Nixon >> Trump

    I MUCH prefer Nixon to Trump. You're right: Trump would be way more corrupt, and he would never be forced out if caught. His all important ego couldn't handle it. And his creepy core supporters would show up armed to add muscle. What do I mean by creepy? I think this is sufficiently creepy (Susan Wright at

    "I get that comparing Trump and his loyal sycophants to the Nazis is often done tongue-in-cheek… but these are actual, honest-to-goodness NAZIS!"

    1. Yes, once Trump got power, there's no guarantee that he'd ever give it up again

    2. I agree that Nixon>>Trump overall, though it has to be admitted that what Nixon did with South Vietnam-urging them to turn down a peace deal before the election-is at least somewhat proto Trumpian in this cycle where he's urging Russia to hack a political opponent's emails for his own political benefit

    3. Yep, and his bombing campaign in Cambodia that destabilized that country and led to genocide. Not a nice guy, but we did survive him with our Republic in tact. He had some minimal sense of shame, at least about some things, decorum and desire to see our Republic survive and do better. Trump has none of that. All he sees is self aggrandizement, fuck all else.

      Plus I survived Nixon fine. ;) (he's the 1st prez I can remember). Perhaps I was too young to realize it, but I don't think there was broad worry about some dark evil undercurrent that Nixon would let loose. With Trump you can almost sense the proto-Nazis waiting in the wings, wanting to go all the way.

  2. Mike, again I'm impressed by a Jason Taylor piece at I call him "the best writer" there but really what I mean is that his views most closely align with mine. I'm calling attention to this particular piece because it's EXACTLY what I've been trying to express to you and to people at (like Leon Wolf) and Erick Erickson and Rick Wilson for the past week. What did those #NeverTrump right wingers (not you of course, Lol) miss that Taylor nails? This bit:

    "In politics, if you stand for nothing you are nothing. Trump saw that clearly enough, but also understood where millions of Obama-haters’ true loyalties really lay; with anyone who validated their fierce personal rejection of the President himself. They would reject or ignore every Republican presidential aspirant who didn’t pander to that base conceit. Hence his relentless assaults on Obama’s character, a smear campaign of baseless accusations really, and his wild promises to “build a wall Mexico would pay for”. The bullying and public ridicule. “Little Marco”. “Low-energy Jeb”. “Ly’in Ted”. “Make America great again”. Trump attracted them, scooped them up and hurled them against the Party’s paladins like a battering ram. They toppled like bowling pins."

  3. Mike, I've loving this: conservatives have a project to take out Sean Hannity (and it looks like Rush Limbaugh too):

    Why? For whoring themselves out to Trump.

  4. Awesome Sauce! I never used this phrase before but now I see an example of it

  5. No, I've seen it used but never thought I'd get a shot to use it myself.

  6. I agree that Nixon>>Trump overall, though it has to be admitted that what Nixon did with South Vietnam-urging them to turn down a peace deal before the election-is at least somewhat proto Trumpian in this cycle where he's urging Russia to hack a political opponent's emails for his own political benefit

    1. Yep! I responded to this same comment above.

      But I'll add this: Nixon may have been tempted to nuke N. Vietnam (I don't know if he was or not, but I wouldn't put it past him), but he thought better of it.

      Has Trump ever thought better of it?

      I had a boss once that reminded me a bit of Trump in regards to poor self control. Briefly. He self destructed fast.

      One Sunday night a couple of my coworkers were at the office and my boss ("Bruce" or "Brucifer" I called him) joined them, but drunk (probably) after a meeting w/ his ex wife that "didn't go well."

      My coworker Drew said he looked up and saw Bruce standing at his door holding a fire extinguisher with a devilish grin on his face. Drew realized the delicacy of the situation, but instinctively said what may have amounted to the wrong thing: "You wouldn't..."

      "You wouldn't" was basically a challenge to Bruce, so he sprayed Drew down w/ the fire extinguisher, and then proceeded to spray down the other guy, and the whole office.

      Senior staff arriving early Monday morning took one look at the devastation and Bruce's pathetic attempts to clean it up, made a phone call, and that was Bruce's last day. =)

      Somehow I get a similar vibe from Trump. Bruce would have LOVED Trump, and if he's still alive somewhere, he probably does love Trump. Bruce was even the same color, but more so: orange!

      I'd bet Trump would take "you wouldn't!" as a challenge as well.

  7. Entertaining 5 min montage of Trump contradicting himself on a host of subjects:

    Trump Exposes Trump

  8. Mike, this is the weirdest shit ever:

  9. Mike, someone blocked me on twitter because I scared him with rapid fire gun talk! Lol

    This guy:

    I thought that guy was pretty funny actually: I enjoyed reading his stuff. He made a small factual error in a statement about guns, and I corrected that, but then I went on to rapid fire a small tweet storm his way (w/ my opinions of NRA, what features of guns are most dangerous, etc) ... I identified myself as a "gun nut" but I told him I wasn't going to "jump down his throat" (in an effort not to scare him off). I don't actually disagree w/ him. Now he thinks I'm a RWNJ I guess.

    Would you do me a favor and message him (probably better than tweeting) and let him know that I'm not *really* a nut and definitely not a RWNJ. Lol.

    I spewed out the tweets so fast (to keep my train of thought) that I didn't bother trying to read any responses until I was done (about 8 tweets total). Maybe he was tweeting back saying "Dude back off!! I'm gonna block your ass if you don't stop!!" Lol. In fact right after I was done I left the computer for 1/2 hr, so I don't know if there was any response.

    My twitter handle is:



    1. Ironic thing is what I liked most about that guy was reading about all the RWNJs he was constantly fighting off and blocking! Hahaha!