Watergate: S & D

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Basically, at its core, I don't think Nixon's handling of Vietnam was any less generational than Reagan's handling of AIDs. And, yes, with Nixon, his own personal failings compounded the problem.

clemenza, Sunday, 3 April 2011 21:38 (3 years ago) Permalink

You do seem more willing to look beneath the surface of Reagan's actions (or inaction, as it were) than you are with Nixon.

Did you mean "less willing"? I'll assume so. At any rate, not at all! I've probably read more about Reagan than any other modern president, with the possible exception of Nixon. In the case of Dick, he had a long record of malicious behavior, which Reagan simply didn't have and was incapable of (a long record of stupidity and callowness though).

But I trust you're not assuming my categorizing means I don't find Nixon an awesome character and worth endless study.

Hey Look More Than Five Years Has Passed And You Have A C (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 3 April 2011 21:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

No, I did mean "more"--i.e., you'll attempt to explain mitigating factors when it comes to Reagan, whereas you won't with Nixon.

Anyway, we can probably bring this to a close. We seem to all agree that Nixon was fascinating. We also all agree he did horrible things. Everyone except me views him as evil. I stop short of that.

clemenza, Sunday, 3 April 2011 21:46 (3 years ago) Permalink

crossposted on Pakula thread re All the President's Men (the film):

http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/3148

your generation appalls me (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 17 April 2011 16:02 (3 years ago) Permalink

Bernstein: "What I took away from watching the movie six years ago was that most of the good work was done at night. I think, and there are certain exceptions, that you get the truth at night and lies during the day."
cracking line that.

i watched all 30 parts of thi slast year. fascinating stuff:

piscesx, Sunday, 17 April 2011 16:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

August 9, 1974: And then, you destroy yourself.

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 01:49 (3 years ago) Permalink

That he never once mentions Pat but chooses to languish in his habitual self-pity makes this a particularly gruesome watch.

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 01:53 (3 years ago) Permalink

It's the most public descent into abject self-pity that I can think of--almost stream-of-consciousness when he starts talking about him mother and father. (His mother, anyway--he'd been using the line about his father being the poorest lemon grower forever.) But I do think those two or three lines that begin with "Always remember" are improbably poetic.

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 01:58 (3 years ago) Permalink

Anyway, the whole speech runs eight or nine minutes--are you sure he doesn't mention Pat somewhere?

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:00 (3 years ago) Permalink

I checked the full text of the speech, and if search is to be trusted he doesn't. He acknowledges his family a couple of times in his resignation speech, but doesn't mention Pat by name.

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:04 (3 years ago) Permalink

I haven't seen the whole thing so it's possible. He wasn't particularly interested in mentioning Pat. In the Pat chapter of a history of modern First Ladies I browsed through at the library a couple of months ago (wish I could remember its title), we learn that while president Dick, stepping off Air Force One, walked right past an open-armed Pat and greeted local dignitaries. According to the author, he had never seen such a look of desolation on a woman's face.

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:05 (3 years ago) Permalink

Pretty sure her look of desolation on wedding day was worse

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:06 (3 years ago) Permalink

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

He treated his wife miserably. I don't know much about presidential wives before Jackie O, but I figure Pat was the template for that awful scene that gets replayed over and over now of the wife standing by stone-faced as the husband publicly admits to whatever transgression he's committed (captured very well by Joan Allen in the Stone film).

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:09 (3 years ago) Permalink

How pathetic that the one president who needed wifely interaction preferred the warmth of Brezhnev and Chou En-Lai.

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

I believe that's the first time ever the phrase "the warmth of Brezhnev" was typed or uttered.

shake it, shake it, sugary pee (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:25 (3 years ago) Permalink

the quiet humor of Chernenko.

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:26 (3 years ago) Permalink

The Pillsbury Dough Boy cuddliness of Haldeman and Liddy.

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:32 (3 years ago) Permalink

xp Well, he was pretty funny in the "Two Tribes" video...

shake it, shake it, sugary pee (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:37 (3 years ago) Permalink

the mirth of Mao

thick-necked and hateful (latebloomer), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:41 (3 years ago) Permalink

The lilting timbre of Kissinger.

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 August 2011 02:42 (3 years ago) Permalink

the wife standing by stone-faced as the husband publicly admits to whatever transgression

No, she sat stonily by in the Checkers speech while he protested his innocence. (The cutaways to her in the chair are WTF)

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 10 August 2011 13:22 (3 years ago) Permalink

8 months pass...

I was at a screening of All the President's Men last week. One of the funniest bits in the film is Jack Warden's exasperation when Redford asks him who Charles Colson is: "The most powerful man in the country is Richard Nixon--you've heard of him, right?"

clemenza, Sunday, 22 April 2012 12:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

always find it amazing how he was cracking gags and swearing and such just minutes before giving his final televised broadcast from the WH

search also John Dean's "lying, vengeful testimony" (as Hunter Thompson called it)

piscesx, Sunday, 22 April 2012 13:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

after reading the older column he links to i kinda think rosenbaum's probably OTM on this one.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 30 April 2012 17:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Don't think I watched any of this, although I have vague memories of it airing:

It's just out on DVD. Twelve hours long--Berlin Alexanderplatz for wild gossipy political horserace fiends like me. Pricey, though, so I'll wait it out a bit.

clemenza, Saturday, 9 June 2012 03:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

Strange, the image seems to come and go.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075597/

clemenza, Saturday, 9 June 2012 04:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's pretty soapy, tho Robards is great.

40th anniv of break-in imminent!

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 9 June 2012 05:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

There and back, and back again.

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/103940/watergate-richard-nixon

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 21:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

It was the NRO thing that alerted me to its re-release.

The movie ends with a Watergate-style major turning point, and the final shot is of an American flag briskly waving: as if to assure the 1977 TV audience that America is a great country that will always prevail over its evil Nixons, and that everything’s going to be just fine now that a really decent guy like Jimmy Carter is president.

I can think of one or two (or more) people on the political thread who'd be fine substituting Bush and Obama into that formulation.

clemenza, Tuesday, 12 June 2012 22:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

not a particularly close parallel.

The WaPo had a party at the Watergate the other night, I kid you not. Oh, the irony of 2012 vs 1972 Bob Woodward.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/11/watergate-remembered-four-decades-later-at-washington-post-party.html

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 01:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

except that bush was worse than nixon and obama worse than carter! xpost

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 02:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

don't make me go to who might be worse than Nixon....

I think W:BCD might play a lot worse for me today after exposure to all the years of Oval Office tapes. There's no topping 'em, especially with broadcast-friendly dialogue.

World Congress of Itch (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 02:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'm sure this must have been in American papers but The Independent in the UK is doing an 'Untold Story' thing by WoodStein just in time for the 40th anniversary

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/special-report-watergate--the-untold-story-7844900.html

anyone ever rifle through the online Nixon tapes? i had no idea there was so much of it on the net
http://whitehousetapes.net/transcript/nixon/i-want-brookings-institute-safe-cleaned-out

Nixon's whole bit on those about how everyone is too much of a 'nice guy' and needs to be more of a 'son of a bitch like me for a change' really is pretty vomit inducing.

piscesx, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 16:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

Woodstein were on Face the Nation on the weekend, talking about a shared byline they had in the Post last week (first in 30+ years). Haven't read the piece, but I gather the gist of it is that Watergate was much worse than anything that's ever been reported; that virtually from day one, a full-scale criminal operation was being conducted inside the White House. (Please resist dragging Obama into this.)

clemenza, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 16:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

None of the info was new; what made it notable was Woodstein cobbling the info into a chronological narrative. I was surprised Woodward had it in him.

a regina spektor is haunting europe (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 16:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

It's a measure of the enormity of the fallout from Watergate that the suffix "-gate" is by now well-understood to denote a scandal, not only in the USA, but almost worldwide, even in several different languages.

Lee626, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 16:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

I did kind of suspect that, Alfred--even in the movie, they make it pretty clear that bad stuff started very early.

clemenza, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

i remember in school being surprised that it was the name of an actual building. i thought it was a metaphor from the beginning! as in some kind of dam or lock that had finally broken open.

goole, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

It occurs to me that even before I get to Wrigley or Fenway (if I ever do), I ought to spend a night in the Watergate...Guessing it ain't cheap.

clemenza, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

is it a hotel? i thought it was an apt/office bldg

goole, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

All three, I believe.

http://www.thewatergatehotel.com/

clemenza, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:13 (2 years ago) Permalink

Correct. I think the five buildings each have different owners by now. Residental units mostly condos, but some are for rent.

Lee626, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

In what may be the most ironic coincidence ever, the first burglary ever reported to police in the Watergate complex, in 1969, was of the residential unit owned by, of all people, Rose Mary Woods

(Nixon's secretary, who would later claim to have accidentally erased that infamous 18 1/2 minutes of a tape crucial to the investigation. Recent forensic examination of the tape shows it was erased in several sections separately.)

I can't think of anyone else whose most famous photo (by far) is in this pose:

Lee626, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

clemenza, I suggest that rather than reserve a room you park across the street in a Gordon Liddy mustache and sit there for hours.

Those Plumbers were a sleazy bunch all right, former College Republican leaders. The ratfuckers hit all the Democrat campaigns in '72 except McGovern's, bcz they wanted him to get the nomination.

Pangborn to be Wilde (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

Here's where I recommend Thomas Mallon's new novel.

a regina spektor is haunting europe (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:45 (2 years ago) Permalink


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