There’s an incorrect premising underlying all the blather about Obama “Nixon-fying” the White House, namely that Nixon somehow failed politically. Yes, Nixon ended up having to resign, yes, the Republicans did badly at the polls in 1974. But it’s worth remembering that when Nixon got into office in 1968, Republicans had held the White House for
any only eight of the previous 36 years (and those eight were Eisenhower, who wasn’t much of a Republican). Between 1968 and 2008, they would hold it for 28 out of 40 years. And this isn’t just post Nixon, ergo propter Nixon reasoning: Republican political success rested largely on gains made among white southerners and non-college educated whites, two groups that Nixon explicitly targeted with the Southern strategy and the politics of class resentment (I recommend reading Steve Pearlstein Rick Perlstein’s “Nixonland” on this topic).
Nixon won, ultimately. And anyone who sees the way the press cowers before Fox News today (and cowered even more cravenly before Dubya until 2005) knows that the press lost.
It’s great that Woodward and Bernstein took Nixon down. But it was a Pyrrhic victory. If the same kind of report came out about a Republican president today, Fox would be calling the report communism and Halperin and Politico would be spinning the whole thing as great news for Republicans.
The media likes the idea that Nixonian politics were proved a failure when Nixon was driven out of office. But it’s simply not true.
None of this is to say that what the Obama administration is doing with Fox is actually Nixonian. The comparison only makes sense if you equate Beck and Hannity with Woodward and Bernstein.
But the idea that you can show something is a bad political strategy by calling it Nixonian is just silly.
It’s not Steve Pearlstein. It’s Rick. But otherwise, spot on.
Actually, it’s Perlstein, not Pearlstein.
The Reps had not held the White House for 36 years before Nixon, except for Eisenhower. Which is not exactly what you say above
In honor of a certian film opening in just over a week:
“Quite well put.”
this just in: a Republican has made an inaccurate, illogical, a-historical, but deliciously inflammatory remark about his political opponents.
The Grand Panjandrum
You mean like when reports of “enhanced interrogations” started surfacing? So the cowering and excuse making continued after 2005.
Brick Oven Bill
You make an error by assuming that this Administration is run by Obama DougJ. This Administration is not run by Obama, it is run by Emmanuel ($16 million – Whitacre – GM Chairman) and Axlerod ($3 million – that valuable word ‘Astroturfing’). Obama only got $500,000 for his book advance ahead of taking office.
Here is Obama.
Obama became confused in Copenhagen when they told him no. He will increasingly be told no and will become increasingly frustrated and angry. You could see this starting at the $30,000/plate dinner in New York last night. Although Obama has little power now, he nonetheless holds the Office, and the power Constitutionally belongs to him.
When he cracks and tries to exercise this power as an independent man, he will make Nixon look like Little Bitsy. It will be fun to watch, and be perhaps a little dangerous.
While I agree that this is a ridiculous claim, it would be a much harder one to make if Obama had kept his campaign promises about transparency.
@cleek: Whoa, slow down there cleek. We’re still got to finish up our news cycle focusing on Balloon Boy.
@NR: Non-specific complainer fails to specify his exact complaint!
Exactly which transparency issue are you referring to?
Wait, is Nixon the new Hitler? Because I didn’t get the memo. Also, he didn’t have a mustache.
OT. BTW most of Mojo Nixons stuff you can download free at Amazon.
@Brick Oven Bill:
Well, they did give him the Nobel Prize a few days later. One would think that would soothe his hurt feelings.
It’s just incredibly sad that the high water mark for journalism was 35 years ago. Now, it’s a sewer full of Drudge, Beck, Hiatt, Miller and Wolf “I’m dumb as a hammer” Blitzer.
@Zifnab: There’s this, for a start.
The Bearded Blogger
Fighting back against hostile media is a solid strategy. Saying this strategy fails is also a strategy, by the media. Not so solid, I hope.
Also, you can’t be nixonian if you don’t have jowls. Jowls are essential to nixonianism. You also need a mass murderer for a State Secretary.
An important point. Personally, I prefer just sitting around calling the President a commie to actually being interested in any meaningful wrongdoing in the executive branch. So, in that sense, Woodward and Bernstein got nuthin’ on Beck and Hannity.
@The Grand Panjandrum: I think maybe DougJ meant to write “Republicans had held the White House for ONLY eight of the previous 36 years (and those eight were Eisenhower, who wasn’t much of a Republican).”
Nixon easily could have been Nixonian and expanded the margins for the Republican’s in Congress in 74 if he had just not commited massive illegalities. By the time the Watergate break in occured wasn’t it crystal clear he would be running against McGovern in the fall and who in their right mind didn’t think he would almost certainly beat him, but that wasn’t good enough for Nixon.
@Brick Oven Bill: Rats. I thought they banned you for a while.
I think this is kinda missing the point. The problem with Nixonian politics wasn’t that it was ineffective – it’s that it was unethical.
So the Village Council of Concern Trolls and Media Hacks are making a project of copy/pasting every accurate analogy thrown against the Bush Administration by Teh Left and recycling them as bullshit attacks on the Obama Administration?
Lazy? Kind of.
@Brick Oven Bill: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Read the books. Or STFU.
They Live By Night
@Brick Oven Bill:
Wrong again, BoB. Soros and ACORN are running things, not Rahm and Axelrod. Duh!
OT: Sully drive me crazy, but I keep reading him because he occasionally writes something like this.
Instead of Woodward and Bernstein, how about Otis Chandler, Mary McGrory, Daniel Schorr, etc.
I doubt Obama’s enemies list has comments like, “Has known weakness for white females,” or “A scandal would be most helpful here,” or “A real media enemy,” or “It is time to give him the message.”
What’s really amazing about Nixon is that he was so highly functional while being so profoundly mentally ill.
@DougJ “Nixon mojo”
I see what you did there.
Whenever I read Republicans getting weepy over Nixon and the good ol’ days (et tu Ben Stein) I revisit the master.
Seems to be Nixon had a lot of credibility and was successful with his policies (both the good and the bad). That held right up until it was undeniable that he broke laws right and left, and that was what was dangerous and that was what brought him down.
So, when Obama starts stone cold outright breaking the law, like Nixon, or Cheney/Dub did, then I will worry.
You presume much about our bOb’s readin’ sklz.
O/T, but I didn’t know that the health insurance industry had an anti-trust…I mean non-compete clause
That puts a new light on the topic.
my link-fu sucks
Brick Oven Bill
Soros is the grand poo-bah. ACORN is a dull tool. Obama was only granted $500,000. Emmanuel made $16 million, Axlerod made $3 million, Soros is into the billions.
This is because the SEC does not compel Soros to disclose his Hedge Fund’s short positions. Soros can therefore use his political contacts to do damage to sectors of the economy, and make a profit.
“I have had a very good recession”.
Who withdrew the $500 billion from the money market last fall?
@NR: :-p That is a good start.
see what you did there, went back to the summer when this policy was a problem but that is no longer the case. Visitors log released.
If you are going to complain do about something that is true.
BP in MN
I agree that Obama’s been disappointing on a lot of transparency issues, as well as as much worse on the associated civil liberties/rule of law issues. But I’m pretty sure this was one of the cases where the Obama administration relented and changed their position a week or so later.
(I’m at work, so I can’t devote too much time to Googling for it; if I’m wrong, of course, your points stands just as strongly and ignore my minor dissent)
Hey, bOb’s playing follow the money. Since you’re such an eggspurt on hedge fund managers, tell us all about John Paulson. He must be king of the universe by now–Soros-fu pales in comparison.
Next up: teh Trilateral Commission.
The fact that Alexander and Gregg raise the Nixon issue begs the larger question. Is FOX a wing of the GOP or vice versa?
So Brick Oven Bill is saying that Obama is a front for teh j00z.
Former Nixon aide wonders: Does Obama have ‘enemies list’?
So much stupid, so little time.
Speaking of Mojo Nixon, anyone see the movie “PCU”? If so, the end of the movie where they get George Clinton to play their party is based, I BELIEVE, on my successful nabbing of Mojo Nixon at the Duke Day party at Wesleyan U. Woo! Mojo was awesome.
Polish the Guillotines
It’s great that Woodward and Bernstein took Nixon down. But it was a Pyrrhic victory.
I think this was actually one of the touchstones on the path to current sorry state of journalism. After All the President’s Men, journalists didn’t just want to become Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein, they wanted to become Robert Redford or Dustin Hoffman.
It was the birth of journalism as a means to achieve celebrity.
I’m not suggesting Woodstein are responsible for it, but that their notoriety planted the seed.
Grumpy Code Monkey
@The Bearded Blogger:
You mean, Hillary isn’t a mass murderer?
@Polish the Guillotines:
I’m more willing to blame television (both the medium and the mindset behind television news broadcasting) than Bob and Carl, although I do think their fame did inspire a lot of people to go into journalism for the wrong reasons.
What makes Nixon so tragic is that he was as intelligent as he was paranoid; he was easily one of the smartest men to hold the office. Evil sonofabitch that he was, he actually accomplished some great things both domestically and abroad.
Another example of the Orwellian nature of the American Right. Nixon was a delusional paranoid who thought people were out to get him when they weren’t, while FoxNews is actually out to get Obama and assorted other Democrats. For example, folks at CBS News in 1970 weren’t serving as advance men for the SDS or the Yippies, a la FoxNews and the Tea Parties. In other words, you’re not
paranoidNixon if they really are out to get you. If anything, FoxNews is the natural outgrowth of Nixonism; they are at the top of the GOP Friends List.
Very well put. That is exactly what happened.
In case no one else mentions it, ‘Nixon Mojo’ is a brilliant title.
Polish the Guillotines
@Grumpy Code Monkey:
I think we agree. It’s interesting to note that several events/trends come into play around this time that really steered the direction of TV news.
You’ve got the Woodstein/Hofford celebrity-journo phenomenon, Happy Talk news format, and Roone Arledge taking over the news operation at ABC where he took Don Hewitt’s news-for-profit concepts to the next level.
All of these things, I believe, contributed to where we are now.
Mike in NC
If Senator Gregg really thinks Obama is the new Nixon — complete with an Enemies List — the president should oblige him by shutting down the sub base in Portsmouth.
Obama is a spineless pushover who dominates his enemies like Nixon
That’s the right point of reference — FOX is Nixonian. Shit, by definition, Roger Ailes was Nixon’s media guy. It’s literally how Nixon would have run a TV network because it’s exactly how he ran his campaigns — fact free innuendos and outright lying with a healthy dose of race resentment.
Jesus Christ we live in an upside down world.
What I don’t understand about the ridiculous “Nixon-fying” (gah) meme is that I thought Nixon had been rehabilitated in Republican circles, at least those circles touching anyone at Fox News. But now they’re willing to concede that Nixon was a scary guy so long as it means they can call Obama scary too?
All right. That’s it. Before, I simply wanted to see the Republicans defeated.
I hate these weasels, now.
The energy derived from Orwell spinning in his grave could power a major city for 5 years. These sons of beeches, who previously crawled up Nixon’s behind and disgraced the country have the freakin’ nerve to talk about an enemies list? Seriously? Well, they’re own my list.
PBS recently ran a great documentary about the Chandler family, publishers of the LA Times, who turned on Nixon after having helped make him.
Here is Nixon in all his glory, abusing the power of the presidency to put his goons on the Chandlers. One of the greatest audio clips in political history.
Goddam the GOP. Goddam them all to Hell.
Polish the Guillotines
Condemned to moderation by the link police. FYWP.
Quoted for truth. Ailes is one of the Original CREEPs (along with Cheney, Rumsfield, Wolfowitz, et al) who have spent the last 30+ years engaged in their own personal Long War to reclaim the dreams of a global kleptocracy that Nixon “lost” when Watergate exposed him as a gibbering paranoid surrounded by thieves and sociopaths. The only lesson Ailes learned from narrowly escaping treason charges was that he needed to lie larger and be careful only to associate with successful criminals during his next, ongoing assault on American democracy.
As I’ve said elsewhere, Lawrence Wilkerson pointed out that the Bush Whitehouse was spying on its own NSA members. Now that’s Nixonian. Why can’t people remember what just happened? Why are we talking about Nixon and Hitler? Why why why?
A passing shout-out for Cleek, who wrote the greasemonkey script that means I don’t even have to wonder what BOB is talking about, since he is now just an amiable guy who like to chat about pie. Thanks!
I didn’t think the MSM’s labeling of Obama’s anti-FOX strategy as “Nixonian” was because they thought it was bad politics. I just thought they called it that to taunt the Left. “See, your guy is getting all NIXONIAN! How disappointed you must be! AGAIN!”
It ain’t much of a taunt when it’s ahistorical insane gibberish.
There’s also the issue of Nixon using the full force of the United States intelligence apparatus against his political foes, including trying to get the Secret Service to give him information on Ted Kennedy’s marital life. Nixon was more than just a canny politician with a knack for dirty tricks. His administration was criminal to its core, fed by his paranoid delusions about enemies everywhere out to get him. Via HuffPo:
“Do you have anybody in the Secret Service that you can get to?” Nixon asked his aide John Ehrlichman in a stark series of Oval Office conversations about Kennedy before the 1972 election. “Yeah, yeah,” Ehrlichman replied.
“Plant one,” Nixon said. “Plant two guys on him. This could be very useful.”
Nixon made clear that the Secret Service protection afforded Kennedy before the 1972 election would be rescinded after. Then, said the president, “If he gets shot, it’s too damn bad.”
@BP in MN: Checking on it, I see they sort of changed their position. They say they’ll now release the visitors logs on a delay, but they will make “exceptions” – some names will still remain secret.
So it’s better than it was, but still not what I’d call transparent.
@The Bearded Blogger: I actually think Barry does look like he’s developing proto-jowls.
There is more projection in that comment than in a multiplex cinema the Saturday before Christmas.
I bought Nixonland for some light reading while we’re on vacation in Hawaii. Because that’s just how I roll.
I’d take issue with the comment about “Eisenhower [not being] much of a Republican”. Ike’s political views (when he had them, which wasn’t often) were far closer to GOP than Dem stances of the time. The thing is that Eisenhower was an old-fashioned small-c conservative Main Street Republican – and in the ’50s, the Party’s Sleaze Wing (the red-baiting ultras for whom Joe McCarthy was a useful front) were just another wing – there was a “Respectable Republican” bloc that keep the creeps (like Nixon) somewhat in line.
Unfortunately, today’s GOP has devolved into nothing but a “Sleaze Wing”; mere conservatives like Eisenhower would definitely have trouble finding a place….
“NIXON would never have allowed this!”
Sorry, I just love saying it. That and Nixon would probably have been fine with a Public Option.
This is an off-topic question, and I hope you’ll forgive the ignorance underlying my question. It’s about formatting with these little buttons. I can do bold and italics
but what I absolutely can’t figure out is how you work the link thing. I mean, I know how to paste in a URL (https://balloon-juice.com) and I believe it will show up as a link underlined and in blue — but I want to know how to type the words Little Bitsy and have those words link directly to her vote page. Or make reference to Modo or Bobo, you the reader click on their name (assuming you would ever want to do such a thing) and it would take you right to the column I would be complaining about.
When I click on the link button, it just beeps at me but otherwise doesn’t seem to do anything.
Example of what I’m talking about: @Rathskeller: has the sentence “As I’ve said elsewhere, Lawrence Wilkerson pointed out that the Bush Whitehouse was spying on its own NSA members.” The words “the Bush Whitehouse was spying on its own NSA members” are a link. How did Rathskeller do that?
Similarly, @NR: writes “There’s this, for a start.” and the words “There’s this” link to an entire TPM article. How did NR do that?
I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to link like this from the BlackBerry, but it would be nice to know how to do it on those rare occasions (like now) that I actually get to juice from my office.
Thanks so much, and sorry again to drag everyone off topic. Now returning you to your scheduled programming.
On the bright side, at least they’re not comparing him to Hitler (any more).
That’s a positive sign.
@SiubhanDuinne: wordpress reserves the right to do anything bizarre at any time, so these instructions might not work.
1. know the link you want, let’s say http://google.com/
2. type in the text you want, let’s say Here is Google
3. Highlight the text
4. click the link button
5. in the popup, either paste or type in, so http://google.com
6. It inserts an ordinary anchor statement.
7. if you need, edit the anchor statement it enters.
I also think you can always just type in an anchor statement by hand, which is about the same amount of work.
@Rathskeller: thank you VERY much. I actually have nothing to link right now, and am about to turn in for the night, but I will cherish, follow, and memorize your clear instructions. Just watch me, by this time next week I’ll be linking with the best of you!
I genuinely am grateful.
Nixonland may be the best book I’ve read in a decade. And the very last line is never to be forgotten.
four more years.
Seems like I had something like this happening for a while with Internet Explorer. (Most of the time I use Opera.) IE was blocking the script that gets activated by the
linkbutton. I would get the little notice at the top saying, “IE has blocked something,” blah, blah, blah, and I could click on that to “temporarily allow” whatever, then click on
linkagain and get it to work. But it was tedious, because I had to do that every time.
So–what I ended up doing–you can go the manual route. Save this text and paste it in as needed:
http_linkwith the URL you want–including the “http://” prefix, which WordPress demands, for some reason–and replace
text_you_wantwith the text you want to show up in blue in your Balloon Juice comment.
Hope this helps.
(I don’t have edit, so I hope this works.)
This does work. By which I mean my comment came out looking the way I wanted it to, with the angle brackets displayed correctly. Pretty sure the content works too.
Thanks, Steeplejack. I will try your suggestions as well. Once again I’m knocked out by the generosity of spirit of this community. Hope that doesn’t sound too drippy.
Cheers and sleep well, I’m done for the night.
I’m hesitant to blame it entirely on the southern strategy. Just as importantly, Nixon came to power promising law-and-order, which was no small thing in 1968, after Americans had been treated to the spectacle of riots (including one at the Democratic Convention), crime, the Tet Offensive, and the beginnings of the inflation problem that would dog the US throughout the 1970s. The Democrats failed to address those concerns – worse, they seemed to be dogged by them themselves.
After that – well, look at who the Democrats nominated. McGovern, a pacifist calling for major defense cuts – at a time when the US felt weak and wanted out of the Vietnam War. Carter the humanitarian, who got elected because of Ford’s unpopularity. Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis – you get the idea. These weren’t exactly inspiring, confidence-building figures for Democrats in the way that FDR, Kennedy, and LBJ had been (Truman’s the exception, since he was elected by such a narrow margin).
There is exactly ONE REASON that Republicans and Fox are going to start comparing Obama to Nixon — they’re starting the PR framework to remove Obama from office someday.
Will they succeed? I highly highly doubt it. Do they have a specific plan? Probably not. But if the opportunity arises, they’ll go for it. Even they don’t succeed in removal, they might succeed in ginning up a massive “scandal” (or heck, a real scandal, Obama’s no angel) that cripples the president. See Lewinsky, Monica.
It’s not “silly,” it’s “stupid.”
I completely agree! Today was the last straw for me; I finally installed the pie filter, and life is already getting better.
“…those eight were Eisenhower, who wasn’t much of a Republican”
This is extremely wrong.