New Nixon tapes released
December 2, 2008
Richard Nixon's reputation takes a fresh pounding every time the National Archives releases another batch of audio tapes from his presidency, and today's opening of nearly 200 hours of Nixon White House recordings is no exception.
Again and again, Nixon comes across as ruthless, cynical and profane in conversations with staff members.
Here are some examples:
-- On July 1, 1971, Nixon instructs Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman to have someone break into the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.:
"I can't have a high-minded lawyer ... I want a son-of-a-b----. I want someone just as tough as I am. ... We're up against an enemy, a conspiracy that will use any means. We are going to use any means... . Get it done. I want it done. I want the Brookings Institution cleaned out and have it cleaned out in a way that has somebody else take the blame."
-- On April 4, 1972, Nixon discusses the press with Haldeman:
NIXON: “Return the calls to those poor dumb bastards ... who I know are our friends. Now do it ... We made the same mistake Eisenhower made, but not as bad as Eisenhower made, because he sucked the Times too much ... G-d damn it, don't talk to them for a while. Will you enforce that now?'
HALDEMAN: "I'll try."
-- On May 18, 1972, Nixon talks to Henry Kissinger about the National Security Adviser's meeting with Ivy League college presidents regarding the war in Vietnam:
NIXON: "The Ivy League presidents? Why, I'll never let those sons-of-b------ in the White House again. Never, never, never. They're finished. The Ivy League schools are finished ... Henry, I would never have had them in. Don't do that again ... They came out against us when it was tough ... Don't ever go to an Ivy League school again, ever. Never, never, never."
Interestingly the LBJ tapes actually enhance his reputation because on them he talks passionately about his committment to the poor and civil rights and is shown as a master politician, while Nixon's tapes show him as just a vile creep. I voted for him. But, Nixon is small potatoes compared to GW and Cheney.