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Is this 18.5 minutes of tape anything important?
December 7, 2008 10:01 AM   Subscribe

It's been a busy week for presidential libraries. The Nixon Library released 200 hours of tape (excerpts) and 90,000 pages of documents (excerpts) that detail his obsessive attempts to destroy his political enemies. The LBJ library released MP3s of dozens of phone calls, including one where he accuses Nixon of treason for stalling Vietnamese peace talks in advance of the 1968 election. Finally, the Reagan Library released 750,000 pages of documents (NYT, reg. req.) to researchers.

Enjoy it while it lasts.
posted by Horace Rumpole (20 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
this means another episode of "Nixon in Heaven" on Harry Shearer's Le Show.
posted by hortense at 10:08 AM on December 7, 2008


Is this 18.5 minutes of tape anything important? Just a recording of Alice's Restaurant
posted by wheelieman at 10:11 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wait, I thought nobody could remember what Nixon did that was so bad.

Ben Stein lied to me!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:14 AM on December 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Wait, is this part of some grand conspiracy to distract all the world's historians?

Who knows what madness we could get away with, with all the historians out of the way!
posted by rokusan at 10:28 AM on December 7, 2008


Why does it take so long for these things to be released? Christ, Nixon has been out of the White House for 34 years and dead for 14 and they're just now releasing some of this stuff?
posted by MikeMc at 11:01 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


MikeMc, The Nixon Library was run by acolytes until last year, so they had zero interest in releasing anything damaging (their exhibit on Watergate said it was a coup against Nixon by his enemies). Now the professionals of NARA are in charge.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 11:11 AM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nixon epitaph: Here lies Richard Nixon

So, what else is new?
posted by netbros at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Bush Library, in decades to come, will shrug, look uncomfortable, and talk about how the hard drives were lost. Maybe, they'll suggest, you'd like a nice graphic novel instead?
posted by Malor at 11:46 AM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why does it take so long for these things to be released?

Wait until everyone is mostly dead or forgotten before releasing your damning, damning evidense and make history work for you!.
posted by The Whelk at 11:50 AM on December 7, 2008


Wait until everyone is mostly dead or forgotten before releasing your damning, damning evidense and make history work for you!.

The only thing that still has me wondering about JFK conspiracy theories is the long delay on the release of the evidence.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2008


Nixon epitaph: Here lies Richard Nixon

So, what else is new?


And why not?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:21 PM on December 7, 2008


Is this 18.5 minutes of tape anything important?

I believe it was an intern confessing her love for Nixon, and then singing "I Honestly Love You". Nixon, who heard the recording later that day, blanked it out. It's in the history books. Look it up, if you don't believe me.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:24 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Nixon Library was run by acolytes until last year, so they had zero interest in releasing anything damaging (their exhibit on Watergate said it was a coup against Nixon by his enemies).

The transition has been interesting. Here's a couple of articles from the LA Times regarding the revamped Nixon Library under its new director.

One of my cousins used to work for the Nixon Library, and I can attest to the rather, uh, distinct point of view that they traditionally took regarding history, facts, etc. when it came to our 37th president. Interestingly, this same cousin has, in recent years, become totally disenchanted with the GOP due to BushCo, thus cementing my theory that this administration is so bad that even Nixon would be disgusted by their criminality.
posted by scody at 1:27 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


"At least Nixon was trying."
posted by dansdata at 3:26 PM on December 7, 2008


The Miller Presidential Recordings Program has tons of tapes (with transcripts) from six U.S. presidents.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:28 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Excuse me while I hyperventilate into my handy-dandy "for use when dorking out" paper bag.

WHEEZE
WHEEZE
posted by flibbertigibbet at 4:59 PM on December 7, 2008


Thought this was interesting (from this recording):

President Nixon: What’s your evaluation or Reagan after meeting him several times now.

Kissinger: Well, I think he’s a—actually I think he’s a pretty decent guy.

President Nixon: Oh, decent, no question, but his brains?

Kissinger: Well, his brains, are negligible. I—

President Nixon: He’s really pretty shallow, Henry.

Kissinger: He’s shallow. He’s got no . . . he’s an actor. He—When he gets a line he does it very well. He said, “Hell, people are remembered not for what they do, but for what they say. Can’t you find a few good lines?” [Chuckles.] That’s really an actor’s approach to foreign policy—to substantive—

posted by jayder at 5:30 PM on December 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why does it take so long for these things to be released?

Wait until everyone is mostly dead or forgotten before releasing your damning, damning evidense and make history work for you!.


It'll be the year 3000 when we find out about the current presidency.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:47 PM on December 7, 2008


President Nixon: Yep.

Kissinger: —”that we are not doing or what should we not have done.” And he said, “Well, are you going to give away Taiwan in Peking?” I said, “Absolutely not.”

NARA Excision

Category: National Security
Duration: 20s

President Nixon: Can you think though, Henry, can you think, though, that Reagan with certain forces running in the direction could be sitting right here?



That's right, Kissenger says something about China and Taiwan that we are not allowed to know about. That was 1971.

Tantalizing.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:53 PM on December 7, 2008


The CBC and readership seem to be enjoying report of the tape of Nixon's meeting with Trudeau, after which he calls him a "pompous egghead".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:39 AM on December 8, 2008


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