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It’s the latent insecurity
December 11, 2010 10:11 AM   Subscribe

"Virtually every Irish I’ve known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish... The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,... The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.” Dick Nixon, the taped gift that keeps giving, catalogs ethnic types.

And don't miss the exchange where Henry Kissinger (an American Jew who served in the US Army in occupied post-war Germany) opines that “if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
posted by orthogonality (113 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
well i never
posted by nathancaswell at 10:15 AM on December 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Thanks for clarifying that, Dick.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:16 AM on December 11, 2010


love this gem.
- Love, Haldermans coat rack.

Nixons is Pounds' ghost stuck in Whittier.
posted by clavdivs at 10:20 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Henry Kissinger (an American Jew who served in the US Army in occupied post-war Germany)
That's a somewhat bizarre description of Henry Kissinger's relationship to the Holocaust. I mean, it's all true, but it misses the part where Kissinger was born in Germany and fled to America in 1938, when he was 15.
posted by craichead at 10:22 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, that rascal!
posted by cmoj at 10:27 AM on December 11, 2010


previously: Nixon watches 'All In The Family'
HALDEMAN: He has this hippie son-in-law, and usually the general trend is to downgrade him and upgrade the son-in-law--make the square hard hat out to be bad. But a few weeks ago, they had one in which the guy, the son-in-law, wrote a letter to you, President Nixon, to raise hell about something. And the guy said, "You will not write that letter from my home!" Then said, "I'm going to write President Nixon," took off all those sloppy clothes, shaved, and went to his desk and got ready to write his letter to President Nixon. And apparently it was a good episode.

EHRLICHMAN: What's it called?

NIXON: "Archie's Guys." Archie is sitting here with his hippie son-in-law, married to the screwball daughter. The son-in-law apparently goes both ways. This guy. He's obviously queer--wears an ascot--but not offensively so. Very clever. Uses nice language. Shows pictures of his parents. And so Arch goes down to the bar. Sees his best friend, who used to play professional football. Virile, strong, this and that. Then the fairy comes into the bar.

I don't mind the homosexuality. I understand it. Nevertheless, goddamn, I don't think you glorify it on public television, homosexuality, even more than you glorify whores. We all know we have weaknesses. But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids? You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates.

posted by ennui.bz at 10:27 AM on December 11, 2010 [30 favorites]


Fair point, craichead. Thanks for the fix.
posted by orthogonality at 10:28 AM on December 11, 2010


Bill Rogers has got — to his credit it’s a decent feeling — but somewhat sort of a blind spot on the black thing because he’s been in New York,” Nixon said. “He says well, ‘They are coming along, and that after all they are going to strengthen our country in the end because they are strong physically and some of them are smart.’ So forth and so on.

“My own view is I think he’s right if you’re talking in terms of 500 years,” he said. “I think it’s wrong if you’re talking in terms of 50 years. What has to happen is they have be, frankly, inbred. And, you just, that’s the only thing that’s going to do it, Rose.”
Racism aside, what the hell is he talking about?
posted by nasreddin at 10:31 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't get what the bid deal is. He said "virtually."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:40 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The scary thing is that was decades ago and I know people that still talk like this. It makes making eye contact kind of difficult. You know?
posted by nola at 10:42 AM on December 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Henry Kissinger (an American Jew who served in the US Army in occupied post-war Germany) opines that “if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

Um, this is right. That would have nothing to do with American interests, one way or the other. It's not a threat to us, and putting the entire country at risk by attacking the Soviets, were they to be doing something that awful, would be exceptionally stupid.

I mean, you're talking about putting hundreds of millions of people under serious threat of annihilation to try to save some folks who aren't even citizens, and you're calling Kissinger the monster?
posted by Malor at 10:43 AM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Scooby-Doo's Fred wore an ascot, which I guess would make him the Tinky-Winky of his day.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:45 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, I kinda would like to see David Milch make a show about Richard Nixon now.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:46 AM on December 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think this was all covered in the book Ascots: Threat to America by David Horowitz.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:49 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Repeat after me: Nixon was worse. Whatever you think has been going in the last 10 years in politics, Nixon was worse. Sorry that you're not living in the most dramatic of all times ever in the history of world. Nixon was freakin worse.
posted by victors at 10:55 AM on December 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Racism aside, what the hell is he talking about?

I'm not sure which Bill Rogers he's referring to, but basically 1973 is still on the heels of the Civil Rights movement and integration laws being put into effect. The FBI had Civil Rights groups on watch all around the country, and white people were freaking out about the black power movement.

It sounds pretty much like a response to the question of "How are black people doing?" with regards to integration, except, the concern being, "How are black people doing in terms of making white people's lives better?"

...

And, the whole idea of "making the nation stronger" pretty much echoes back to the racialist "science" of the 1800's - where supposedly black folks were genetically predisposed towards manual labor. I'm thinking the "inbred" reference is about avoiding miscegenation, the mixing of races.

Never let it be said that people ever let science get in the way of bias.
posted by yeloson at 10:56 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Racism aside, what the hell is he talking about?

A common idea among elites in Australia, Brazil, and the US earlier in the century was that the stupidity of black-folk could be dealt with by a kind of eugenic-minded intermixing. This was at least a pro-miscegenation kind of racism.
posted by dgaicun at 10:57 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Freakin' anti-Semite warmongering Quakers, with their enemies lists and their hidden surveillance technology...
posted by PlusDistance at 10:59 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I interpret "inbred" here to mean "bred into" (i.e diluted into) the general white population. This is basically what happened to Mexico's black population.
posted by dgaicun at 11:02 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Repeat after me: Nixon was worse.

We can repeat it as much as you want, but it doesn't make it true. Nixon didn't, to our knowledge, torture anyone, and he CERTAINLY didn't hold hundreds of people forever without trial, or stand up and propose to Congress to create a second track of justice where the President was the sole arbiter.

Obama is personable, but he's actually, actively doing stuff that gave Nixon wet dreams.
posted by Malor at 11:06 AM on December 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


Repeat after me: Nixon was worse.

no, nixon was caught - and recorded
posted by pyramid termite at 11:08 AM on December 11, 2010 [19 favorites]


Repeat after me: Nixon was worse. Whatever you think has been going in the last 10 years in politics, Nixon was worse. Sorry that you're not living in the most dramatic of all times ever in the history of world. Nixon was freakin worse.

You know, I'm reminded of the particular species one often sees in my part of the world: The big-haired Republican woman who smiles and says nice things through clenched teeth but who actually hates your freaking guts and will let everybody know it as soon as you're out of earshot.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 11:09 AM on December 11, 2010


Just finished a biography of Truman. Truman knew Nixon was a slimeball and never forgave Eisenhower for picking him as VP.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 11:10 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Nixon was worse.

No, this is unfortunately untrue. Nixon held despicable opinions, and did despicable things, but the scope of those things was far less than the despicable things done in recent times.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:13 AM on December 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Nixon didn't, to our knowledge, torture anyone

your knowledge is not sufficient

and he CERTAINLY didn't hold hundreds of people forever without trial

no, he just had them killed

truth is, we know more about what our government does now than we used to - i think obama's better than nixon - which isn't a great accomplishment - but i wouldn't be so sure about some of the others
posted by pyramid termite at 11:20 AM on December 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Malor: "Obama is personable, but he's actually, actively doing stuff that gave Nixon wet dreams."

Worth thinking about, if only to wonder at how far the boundaries of acceptable behavior by politicians have moved since Nixon's day.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:21 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh, it's the REAL Irish yer talkin' of, Dick, are ya now? The REAL Irish! *takes a pull of Guinness* And I suppose ye' can expound on just exactly who is and who isn't REAL Irish for us! Well, please, then! Go on, illuminate our ignorant minds!
posted by longsleeves at 11:22 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Scot-Irish here. And I am EVERYBODY'S best friend, especially when drunk.
posted by Samizdata at 11:28 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fucking Quakers.
posted by dortmunder at 11:28 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Who has Obama, or anybody under his watch, with his support, tortured?0
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:28 AM on December 11, 2010


Well, the list of Nixon offenses are very long and sordid but I'll start with invading a country in total secret, shooting civil rights activists in their beds and rolling tanks into American cities.

If the establishment has learned anything, it's to put your sins front and center, right in the media (e.g. Fox, talk radio) so it looks justified and rationalized. But the actual underlying sins were worse.
posted by victors at 11:30 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I once said to an Irish friend of mine, after more than a few pints, that the Irish were mean drunks. He called me the spawn of an English whore and then punched me off my chair. Made me feel rather proud of my acuity. Somewhat less so of my tact.
posted by Decani at 11:30 AM on December 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Pretty hard to beat engaging in the carpet bombing of a neutral country, resulting in hundreds of thousands dead civilians, radicalizing the population behind a formerly unpopular guerilla organization that would rise to power and commit one of the worst genocides in history, and then ordering that the entire operation be covered up. Saying Obama is worse than Nixon is pretty laughable.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:31 AM on December 11, 2010 [31 favorites]


Fucking Quakers.

it's time for someone to publish the "Protocols of the Elders of Philadelphia," so the truth can come out...
posted by ennui.bz at 11:36 AM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Now those Quakers, on the other hand...
posted by dunkadunc at 11:50 AM on December 11, 2010


oh, and those people who don't hit preview before making a clever comment.
someone ought to really put them where they belong, if you know what i mean.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:53 AM on December 11, 2010


“The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality.”
Huh. And here I thought he was Quaker. Never realized he was Jewish.
posted by Flunkie at 11:54 AM on December 11, 2010


As an Irish and a drinker, I'll confess I only get angry and mean around douchewads like Nixon and his pals.
posted by contessa at 11:59 AM on December 11, 2010


The biography Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House is out of print, and definitely does not appear to me objective; it has fascinating psychological insights into Henry and Richard. The portrait is of a pair of nerds who grew up into bullying powerful adults nearly obsessed with showing one another how tough they were.
posted by bukvich at 12:02 PM on December 11, 2010


“The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,”

Of course! Mama Mia! That's a'spicy stereotype! My head'a! She float'a away only to view Nixon descendants a'chowin' a'down at the Olive Garden!
posted by peppito at 12:02 PM on December 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Huh. And here I thought he was Quaker. Never realized he was Jewish.
Bite your tongue!
posted by silby at 12:03 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the second time in two days the words "real Irish" is on metafilter's front page. As someone who is real Irish and uses this phrase all the time, I find it kind of hilarious.
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:04 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, what Marisa said. Please people: the US public and politicians are far more civilized than they were in the 1970s. At least now they have to make shit up to invade or kill people and subject the population to non-stop propaganda to drum up support instead of just doing it. It has been pointed out that the Iraq War is one of the few wars in modern history that had massive protests before it even began.

These comments would have caused a stir and maybe a resignation in the 70s. Even in the 70s they had to go with the "Southern Strategy" and leave the blatant racism out of the campaigns for the shrinking Republican party. Now you have to say "welfare queen" or "entitlement" or "affirmative action" with a wink and a nod, which isn't good, but at least it's better.

And foreign policy? Come on. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia ultimately resulted in casualties in the millions. Kissinger and Nixon overthrew any democracy that voted left of center. There is simply no comparison.
posted by notion at 12:05 PM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think Richard Nixon calling anyone obnoxious or abrasive is pretty funny.
posted by Caduceus at 12:07 PM on December 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Who has Obama, or anybody under his watch, with his support, tortured?0

Well, one known issue that I would personally quantify as torture is the continued force-feeding of hunger-strikers at Guantanamo.
posted by Malor at 12:09 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just think how history might have been different if only Kirsten Dunst had brought him those marijuana brownies sooner.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:10 PM on December 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


Nixon was worse.

Worse than what or whom? In what sense? Your assertion is meaningless without further elaboration.

I'd argue that current Republican up-and-comers want and actively seek to make things happen that would have given/would give both Nixon and Bush II wet dreams.
posted by blucevalo at 12:14 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Worst Quaker Ever.
posted by shothotbot at 12:20 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know, that oats guy was kind of a dick. All smirkin' at you like, "That's right, punk, eat it. Eat that hot bowl of me."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:27 PM on December 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


Pat Nixon, his wife, was Irish-American.
posted by zippy at 12:30 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


i think obama's better than nixon - which isn't a great accomplishment - but i wouldn't be so sure about some of the others

Thing is, due to Nixon I think the public has higher standards now, so hiding (or doing) the same things that Nixon did will look much worse to the public due to having been burned before. This also means that people can get rightfully vilified for things that were common knowledge in the past.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2010


Richard Nixon doesn't care about black people.
posted by leviathan3k at 12:45 PM on December 11, 2010


wow. my whole cinammon and brown sugar sprinkled delectation of oatmeal will be forever ruined by the knowledge that Nixon was a Quaker.
posted by liza at 12:53 PM on December 11, 2010


or stand up and propose to Congress to create a second track of justice where the President was the sole arbiter.

You realize Nixon himself was the origin of the phrase, "If the President does it, then it is not illegal," right? The modern notion of a unitary executive started with Nixon, not Bush.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:54 PM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't mind the homosexuality. I understand it. Nevertheless, goddamn, I don't think you glorify it on public television, homosexuality, even more than you glorify whores. We all know we have weaknesses. But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids? You know what happened to the Greeks! Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that. So was Socrates.

MCNULTY: Hey, don't knock the Greeks. They invented civilization.
BUNK: Yeah, and ass-fucking, too.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:56 PM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: That's right, punk, eat it. Eat that hot bowl of me.
posted by Skygazer at 1:02 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


And foreign policy? Come on. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia ultimately resulted in casualties in the millions. Kissinger and Nixon overthrew any democracy that voted left of center. There is simply no comparison.

All of that was done in secret, one of the strongest examples of why secrets are noxious to democracy. The American people had no bloody idea any of that was going on. We were waging whole proxy wars that the public simply didn't know about. Even today, even with the copious documentation on the subject, you still see a large, large number of people deny that we ever did any such thing.

With what Obama is doing openly these days, what might be going on behind the scenes?

The pornoscan, Walmart Two Minute Hate messages, the continuation of Guantanamo, maintaining the PATRIOT act, expanding its power, and expanding domestic surveillance dramatically... fighting like crazy, both openly and behind the scenes, to prevent investigations into Bush-era abuses... actively hiding the torture photos, and dropping the investigation for the CIA destroying torture videos.... authorizing assassinations of US citizens.... prosecuting people based on evidence gained through torture ... successfully fighting for the suspension of habeas corpus for anyone accused of terrorism ... the continuation of extraordinary rendition to other countries to torture prisoners.... and there's probably more I'm just not thinking of. And that's OUT IN THE OPEN.

How much more does it take for people to realize that, no matter how personable Obama may be, he's one of the worst presidents we've had? Even if he's not himself a monster, he's allowing the monsters to rampage unimpeded.

I remember observing that Bush would have to eat babies live on TV for the conservatives not to like him, but I can now make the exact same observation about liberals and Obama. There is no substantial difference between the two. Very occasionally, you'll be surprised and actually see him try to do the right thing, but it's almost always cosmetic issues, and only if the Republicans don't get too mad about it. He doesn't fight for any issues that matter because, it seems, he doesn't particularly care about them.

I was barely hatched during the Nixon years, but I can't help but wonder if there was the same kind of fervent, no-matter-what devotion. I just don't understand why people pay more attention to what Presidents say than what they actually do.

Nixon attacked other countries, but Obama is attacking us.
posted by Malor at 1:11 PM on December 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


What makes one "Real Irish?"
posted by Tashtego at 1:12 PM on December 11, 2010


It's Attack Obama OMG He's the Worst Ever All the Time Filter right now, same with my liberal friends on FB. Liberals just love him? If you say so.
posted by raysmj at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously. What universe would you have to be living in to contend liberals fall over themselves to defend Obama? We're "defending" him by saying Nixon was worse? 'K ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2010


And comparing the way conservatives defended Bush to the way liberals respond to Obama? My goodness. Conservatives applauded Gitmo, they applauded the war, they applauded "enhanced interrogation techniques". When it comes to Gitmo, the war, and the TSA, liberal reactions to Obama's handling seem to range from disappointment to fury. That they don't go whole hog and say he's just like Bush or worse than Nixon isn't "defending Obama" by any stretch.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:38 PM on December 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


All of that was done in secret...

With what Obama is doing openly these days, what might be going on behind the scenes?


"Nixon wasn't worse! At least he didn't torture people like Obama!"
"Huh? Nixon killed millions! Obama hasn't tortured anyone."
"Nixon's misdeeds don't count because they were secret. Obama is openly body-scanning air travelers, which means he's torturing people in secret, which is way worse than anything Nixon did openly!"
*head asplode*
posted by Xezlec at 1:43 PM on December 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


How much more does it take for people to realize that, no matter how personable Obama may be, he's one of the worst presidents we've had?

A lot more than a big pile of stream-of-consciousness hyperbole, that's what.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:53 PM on December 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


I have read Nixon's writing from time to time, and he struck me as a good prose stylist and a bright guy. When off the record (but taped) he distinguishes between real Irish and those not real I assume he means that his view of the Irish is that they are heavy drinkers, and that if you find a non-drinking Irishman, then that one is not a "real" Irishman. But then what we are given in these tapes is basically a listing of on-going stereotypes, stereotypes for Jews, Blacks, Irish, Italian and, alas, they still exist, with or without Nixon, whom we no longer have to kick around except in comments here. Remember, though, that he opened up China for us, and so just about all our corporations and industries have him to thank for cheap labor costs and non-union jobs and unemployment. Thanks, Mr. Nixon, you are a true Dick.
posted by Postroad at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nixon attacked other countries, but Obama is attacking us.

God help me, I'm trying to discern any logical content in this statement, but there is none.
posted by blucevalo at 2:04 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure which Bill Rogers he's referring to...

William P. Rogers was Secretary of State 1969-73

I think Nixon may be referring to people living in Ireland when he says "Real Irish".
posted by Right On Red at 2:20 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why make all kinds of weird false dichotomies and comparisons? Nixon was a scoundrel who enabled hundreds of thousands of innocents to get carpet bombed to dust. Obama certainly has his share of blame, but trying to do binary comparisons like that is just silly.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:23 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


'The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following: THE RIDE HOME BUDDY.

1 making false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

2 withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

3 approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counselling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings;

4 interfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees;

5 approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payment of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities;

6 endeavouring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States;

7 disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States, for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability;

8 making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct: or

9 endeavouring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favoured treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.
Adopted 27-11 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, at 7.07pm on Saturday, 27th July, 1974, in Room 2141 of the Rayburn Office Building, Washington D.C.'
posted by clavdivs at 2:36 PM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


analogy time?

Nixon: Yeah.

Haldeman: he's ambitious...

Nixon: Yeah.
posted by clavdivs at 2:41 PM on December 11, 2010


The Italians, of course, those people course don’t have their heads screwed on tight. They are wonderful people, but,...

You say that again and I'll slit your damn throat....

Uh, Sicilian heritage month!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:01 PM on December 11, 2010


Ther are of course deserved stereotyoes, for example southern california quakers are mostly a bunch of hairy, power obsessed paranoid racist and antismetic bastards. Their mothers are saints though.
posted by humanfont at 3:06 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Repeat after me: Nixon was worse.

That's not what John Dean said.
posted by TedW at 3:10 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I first glanced at this, I thought it was some new 'edgy' stand-up comic with a funny nom-de-plume. If Lenny Bruce was around, he might take this script to a nightclub stage...
posted by ovvl at 3:20 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


analogy time?

William Gibson (paraphrase): "G.W.B. makes Dick Nixon look like Abraham frea*kin Lincoln."
posted by ovvl at 3:25 PM on December 11, 2010


Reminder: Oliver Stone's fascinating interpretation of this myth is worth another look.
posted by ovvl at 3:37 PM on December 11, 2010


You just wait until they release the tapes that Sarah Palin records in the White House. You ain't seen nothin yet.
posted by Xurando at 3:41 PM on December 11, 2010


I assume he means that his view of the Irish is that they are heavy drinkers, and that if you find a non-drinking Irishman, then that one is not a "real" Irishman.

I think it's more a distinction in "breeding" -- which fits in with the rest of Nixon's blithering.

There's a certain subset of Irish-Americans that's obsessed with the "Auld Country" and the commercialized symbols thereof: shamrocks, Blarney Stone, "b'gosh an' b'gorrah," etc., etc. Often their closest blood connection to Ireland is via a great-grandparent (add greats as necessary). They've either never seen Mother Ireland, except on TV, or only traveled there on a package tour. They venerate a deeply strange history and culture of their own invention. They march in the St. Patrick's Day parades. They are not real Irish, though plenty of them drink, and plenty of the drinkers are mean drunks.

The real Irish are those who've grown up there, or at least spent big chunks of time there, over many years. They're immersed in the culture and the history in a way that can't be commercialized and can barely be communicated (just like any history and culture). They're about as likely to march in a St. Patrick's Day parade as they are to don lederhosen and goosestep into Dublin Bay. (I wouldn't bet against their goosestepping in lederhosen alongside the St. Patrick's Day parade.) Plenty of them drink, and plenty of the drinkers are mean drunks.

Or so I learned from my ex, the Brooklyn-born son of Kerry immigrants who's spent at least six weeks of every year there for over 40 years. He used to skip school on St. Patrick's Day, load up a grocery cart with cheap beer, trundle into Manhattan on the subway, and sell said beer to the proud paraders at a nice mark-up. Not a mean drunk at all.
posted by dogrose at 3:43 PM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I bet Nixon had the Kennedys in mind when he was talking about the Irish. He wasn't talking about the Irish from Ireland. He was talking about Democrats from the Northeast that happened to be of Irish descent.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:58 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Repeat after me: Nixon was worse.

"Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for -- but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him."

-Hunter S. Thompson

For point of reference, this was his obituary for Nixon.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:05 PM on December 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


Nixon?

I dunno ... sure, you can get into the differences on the ground and in practice between Nixon and Obama or any other president, but the differences between Nixon and almost anyone else in a personal sense was just night and day.

There was something seriously off about that guy. Sure, you could say that W came across as little more than a drunk, rich, frat-boy with date-rapist written all over him, and clearly a third-rate actor like Reagan has his problems, but Nixon?

When Hunter S. Thompson described him as " ... a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad. The Nixon I remembered was absolutely humorless; I couldn't imagine him laughing at anything except maybe a paraplegic who wanted to vote Democratic but couldn't quite reach the lever on the voting machine," (In Pageant (July 1968) no less) he wasn't exaggerating.

Fear and loathing are the perfect two words to describe how any feeling and thinking human being would react to Dick Nixon.

He instantly engendered a visceral, limbic system response, like hearing a growl late at night when you're in the woods. And when he started talking? It was 98% intense revulsion to what this guy was obviously politically capable of doing.

God ... it makes me queasy just thinking about what he was like.
posted by Relay at 4:09 PM on December 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


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.

Such wonderful prose. I love HST.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:12 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


What makes one "Real Irish?"

If I told you, you'd be after me lucky charms.
posted by zippy at 5:18 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I respect Dean, Thompson and Gibson as much as anybody - they are, in fact, heroes of mine. I happen to have a difference of opinion with them. I'm happy to admit the obvious: that 'Nixon was worse' is a subjective opinion - but I haven't heard anything remotely like evidence to sway me from that opinion - definitely not in this thread. Just quoting Dean and HST isn't enough the assertions about Obama seem very weak by comparison. (The fact that Obama is to the right of Nixon's legislative policies might start a good argument, but it's still not nearly enough.)

Personally, I attribute most of the arguments against my opinion to a need to elevate the drama of the problems we are having right now. There is no doubt that some of the bullshit we have to deal with is worse (the assault on science), some of it is new and unthinkable 40 years ago (the vanishing 4th estate).

But it's become remarkably easy to write off the social upheaval, the military coups and massacres, the degradation of the most basic civil liberties of the 60s as a bunch of smelly flower children "dancing" to Jimi. I see the crimes committed by Nixon, Hoover, CIA and Kissinger, especially combined, especially when considering the long term consequences worse than anything in modern times.
posted by victors at 5:29 PM on December 11, 2010


Nixon bugged the Oval Office.

Obama bugged the whole country.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:43 PM on December 11, 2010


Obama bugged the whole country

The only limit to who Nixon bugged was technology. He and Hoover bugged reporters, people on his own national security staff, MLK's bedroom, DoD. Remember Watergate was about planting bugs in the dem's hq. And yea, he bugged himself for fucksake, doesn't that tell you something?

Really, if you're talking about policy or even politics, you're missing the point about what Nixon really was. A paranoid, bloodthirsty humanity-hating wretch of a man who used every lever and button to available to him for his own personal legacy and petty vengeance agenda against everybody in the world.

Let me know when Obama orders an armed raid on Eric Holder's office.
posted by victors at 6:05 PM on December 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Obama bugged the whole country.

I wasn't aware that the encryption interception thing was signed into law. What act is it in?
posted by Green With You at 6:42 PM on December 11, 2010


I credit Nixon with bringing the first Palinesque character to national prominence -- Spiro Agnew. Same sort of career, going from lowly county executive to governor to VP in just six years, he was considered a joke of a candidate. But he brought the yahoo crowds to their feet with his rantings about the hippies vs real Americans, the Silent Majority. He was famous for reciting his William Safire and Pat Buchanan written speeches full of alliterations like "pusillanimous pussyfooters", "nattering nabobs of negativism", "hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history" and characterizing opponents as "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."

It was quite a shock having the first Vice-President in history having to resign under a cloud of corruption. Who could imagine, at the time, it getting any worse.
posted by JackFlash at 6:45 PM on December 11, 2010


Seriously. What universe would you have to be living in to contend liberals fall over themselves to defend Obama?

Massachusetts.
posted by Scoo at 6:50 PM on December 11, 2010


> I respect Dean, Thompson and Gibson as much as anybody

One of these is not like the others. Gibson is a first rate writer and Hunter Thompson was a giant in his own way. John Dean was just another moral-free careerist ready to hitch his wagon to anybody with pull, not excluding even someone like Nixon, but also ready to peach at length on his former boss to shorten his jail time. In the decades since Watergate he has made another career--among liberals, amazingly--for having peached under pressure. His change of heart and his subsequent embrace by progressives is not in the least different from Chuck Colson (the guy who prepared Nixon's original Enemies List) suddenly finding Jesus right before he was arrested, thereafter being embraced by evangelicals. Different groups of well-meaning suckers, identical exploit strategy.
posted by jfuller at 6:56 PM on December 11, 2010


I don't get it. Was Richard Nixon somehow unaware of the exact purpose/function of a tape recorder?
posted by schmod at 7:47 PM on December 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


Answer that question, and they'll give you a Ph.D in Poli Sci.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:36 PM on December 11, 2010


I don't get it. Was Richard Nixon somehow unaware of the exact purpose/function of a tape recorder?

Allow me a short wallow in conjecture:

The answer is wrapped deep in the psyche of the man. He felt persecuted and victimized by the Ivy League his entire adult life. He felt, finally, in 68, after decades of humiliation, that he had earned The Privilege of the Elite, as in, say the Kennedys, to be above the rules of law and society. (Of course you can't buy or elect yourself or marry into this class and actual become one of them and the country would never, ever feel the same way Nixon the way they did about their fallen Kennedys. You coudl say the great Nixon torment was that he knew it - Freud might say he set out to prove it by self destructing and setting blame outward.)

The idea that the attorney general or supreme court would ever ask him for those tapes was as foreign an idea to him as a request to drop his pants because, after all, they wouldn't have dreamed to something like that to JFK. Those tapes were supposed to be used as evidence of what a great, super-human figure he was as a president - how much better than the beloved JFK. To his dying day he felt he got a raw deal because he was convinced that JFK had done much, much worse and never suffered for it. (assassination notwithstanding)
posted by victors at 9:52 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


John Dean was just another moral-free careerist

yea, valid point. I don't embrace him for anything after the hearings. But whatever his opportunistic motives were, he took a chance when testifying against the president and his 'cancer on the HW' comments do stand out as a lone voice in a den of insanity.
posted by victors at 10:00 PM on December 11, 2010


I liked him much more once he had that robot body.
posted by brundlefly at 10:00 PM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I disagree with everything I pretty much heard Nixon say or do, but I gotta say...there's a Republican I can respect! He isn't bat-shit-insane, or truly evil, just rotten.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 10:45 PM on December 11, 2010


{ghost of dick}

"who do you fuckers think runs the show"
posted by clavdivs at 11:12 PM on December 11, 2010


the fact that he did not burn the tapes, well not all, gives him leverage to laugh and not cry. Nixon era 1948-1974 is rife with his fingerprints. He was human, played the piano, as a anti-communist he was a good poker player who finally "owned the fucking casino" then trapped himself the secrets.
posted by clavdivs at 11:25 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


/with-in the secrets
posted by clavdivs at 11:27 PM on December 11, 2010


The idea that the attorney general or supreme court would ever ask him for those tapes was as foreign an idea to him as a request to drop his pants because, after all, they wouldn't have dreamed to something like that to JFK. Those tapes were supposed to be used as evidence of what a great, super-human figure he was as a president - how much better than the beloved JFK.

I'm not even sure that we need the thorough psychoanalysis. The guy was a narcissist.

(and also a better Democrat than any of the currently-elected democrats. Nixon's platform *eerily* resembles the ideal that the modern democrats theoretically try to live up to.)
posted by schmod at 11:39 PM on December 11, 2010


I remember observing that Bush would have to eat babies live on TV for the conservatives not to like him, but I can now make the exact same observation about liberals and Obama.

[buzzer noise]

Wrong.

I'm about the most liberal-est liberal ever raised in liberaltown by a bunch of goddamn hippies, and I really can't stand most of what Obama and his administration have done. I was a Hillary supporter who was bummed he got nominated, and he's gone on to disappoint me even more thoroughly than I thought he would in a brief moment of post-election "ooh, maybe things'll actually get better!" excitement. I MISS the (Bill) Clinton years, when we had the luxury of getting worried about a fucking blowjob for months on end, instead of an economy in the toilet and the House getting handed over to an orange Oompah-Loompah freak from my own state.

Nixon attacked other countries, but Obama is attacking us.

Indeed, Malor. Indeed. I have a really hard time believing he's got our best interests in mind, and I am sick to death of my own party being such a bunch of spineless babies.

Also, I think someone should feed Joe Lieberman and the other DINOs to a cage full of hyenas, but that's a rant for another day.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:54 AM on December 12, 2010


why do you hate hyenas so much?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:00 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tricky Dick really had homos on the brain, didn't he?
posted by jonmc at 8:06 AM on December 12, 2010


I love kicking Dick Nixon around ... again.
posted by kuppajava at 8:51 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Sure, Aristotle was a homo. We all know that.
posted by dr_dank at 8:52 AM on December 12, 2010


Metafilter: A lot more than a big pile of stream-of-consciousness hyperbole, that's what.
posted by mistersquid at 12:24 PM on December 12, 2010


You miss DADT, welfare reform Clinton?

Incredible. Fucking insane.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:17 PM on December 12, 2010


Wow, guys. Just wow.
posted by fernabelle at 4:12 PM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey! Not all Quakers are bad!

Also, I'm not Nixon.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:56 PM on December 12, 2010


I think the lesson to learn from this is that all U.S. Presidents are monsters. Sure some may come into office with good intentions, unaware of the reality of the situation in which they are about to find themselves, but in the end the office consumes them. We can argue about who was worse but really does it matter? We are electing, and have been for at least 100 years, madmen to the highest office of our land. Men willing to do anything to survive politically and willing to do anything to stay in the good graces of the military establishment. Kennedy was the exception to that rule and look where that got him. The one President that I can say I have some respect for was Eisenhower. Sure he was a monster along with the rest of them but he was a monster to begin with. That was his job as Supreme Allied commander-to be a monster and to do what it took to win WWII. Anything he did in office after that made him seem tame in comparison. He was also the only president who had the balls to openly criticize the military-congressional-industrial complex and name it as such.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:05 AM on December 13, 2010


You miss DADT, welfare reform Clinton?

Compared to Obama? Umm, yes.

Some of Clinton's accomplishments.

Obama... what, we got an economic stimulus package? And a watered-down version of healthcare that no one seems to like very much, and which is probably going to get sliced apart and left for dead by the incoming Tea Party sympathizers? Sheesh, I was interning for the State Department abroad when Gingrich et al froze everyone's pay, yet no one I knew then blamed Clinton for what was going on because it was pretty clear who was really at fault.

Clinton also left office with massive surpluses, which were promptly squandered by the incoming Idiot In Chief. What's Obama going to leave, save a bad taste in the electorate's mouth that'll doom us to Palin 2012? Yup. I'm really looking forward to that.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:17 AM on December 13, 2010


Ugh, please, let's not do the Obama v. Clinton thing again, especially in a thread about Richard Nixon. Do you see how even from the beyond the grave, he manipulates us into ignoring his faults and bickering among ourselves?!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:23 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Victors: Of course you can't buy or elect yourself or marry into this class and actual become one of them and the country would never, ever feel the same way Nixon the way they did about their fallen Kennedys.

Just how messed up in the head do you need to be, to be President of the U.S., yet still have so much insecurity and self-loathing.

Guy was like a walking tragedy, unable to get out from under a wicked curse or something. It's like he couldn't believe he'd finally, finally achieved the presidency, and figured any day he'd be found out and booted out as a pretender to the throne of sorts, and that very same fear caused him to okay all these tricky Dicky tactics that came back to explode in his face with a vengence.
posted by Skygazer at 1:49 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Malor: Nixon attacked other countries, but Obama is attacking us.

Keerr-ist, what a load of horseshit is this?

Stockholm syndrome anyone?

Do NOT buy in to this Faux / Right-wing talk radio narrative. WTF.

Sure Obama needs to step up his game and distinguish himself clearly from the GOP, but he gets a lot of grief for trying to basically be practical and keep things moving in the face of a party that pretty much has been acting like a bunch of spoiled retarded brats saying "NO," to just about every piece of legislation he's tried to enact the last two years, on top of the horrific mess Bush left him and on top of a growing political group that barely, barely restrains it's racism and wants to take to the country back to the mid-1800's.

There are two orders of problems in this country. The first is huge and systemic and mindboggling, and that is that the country has turned into an oligarchy. period. and that is being cemented. Citizens United is going to ensure a serious fight for any political power in this nation goes to the monied, corporatist interests who now have carte blanche to throw as much of their weight around as they see fit, and the other order of problems is basically the short term, the stuff like these tax cuts Obama is getting grief for because he made a deal with that weepy scum bag Boehner and that other bigger scum bag who is a corporate whore Mitch McConnell. He got 13 months of Extended UI, and kept the middle class tax cuts, and yes he had to give in on the tax cuts for the wealthy and the Estate Tax, but Goddammit people it is the holidays and people shouldn't feel utterly fucked in the midst of it by having there UI cut, and business should begin to feel confident that the gov., in the form of Obama is not their enemy and that they should stop sitting on their obscene profits and begin to hire people.

But, I also think Obama's broken the back of the GOP's biggest talking point with this tax deal. No longer can the GOP or the TP people pretend to care for the deficit, when they have so transparently added to the deficit with a gift which has proven to do nothing for the country, in the form of tax cuts for the wealthy.

That's the drum I';m gonna bang loud as I can from here to 2012. Those people should have zero credibility.

As for Obama, he's less passive than he appears, and I trust he'll do what's best, but where were Clinton or REagan two years into their presidencies? There's hardly much more they accomplished than Obama, and with a more receptive Congress than Obama's had...
posted by Skygazer at 2:14 PM on December 13, 2010


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