Thursday, January 10, 2013

Family and Friends celebrate as Richard Nixon turns 100

Presidential legacies can be complicated. But for Richard Nixon, it often boils down to one word: Watergate.

That word was uttered just once at Wednesday’s centennial birthday gala for the 37th president.

“Phone calls started coming in to me, and I’m sure other folks from the offspring of the old jackal pack asking ‘What are your thoughts on Watergate?’” said former adviser Pat Buchanan. “My great regret is that the old man is not here tonight so I can tell him my thoughts on his old tormentors. In the words of Nick Carraway to the Great Gatsby: ‘They were a rotten crowd, sir. You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.’ Nixon, now more than ever!”
Read the rest here.


Chris Jones said...

It's wildly unfair to reduce Nixon's legacy to Watergate alone. Watergate was immensely important, of course (as witness the fact that "-gate" has entered the language as a semantic particle indicating scandal). But the Nixon Administration had a great and lasting impact both in its successes and its failures, in both domestic and foreign affairs.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Chris has a point, but Watergate does overshadow all the rest. The attempt to circumvent the democratic process carried more weight than any of his successes.

I'm still as delighted now as I was then to be quit of him.

Chris Jones said...

I'm still as delighted now as I was then to be quit of him.

Me too. I carry no brief for Nixon. Watergate is surely the most important thing about his Presidency. It's just not the only thing that was important.

If we are going to learn from history, we cannot afford to look at historical figures one-dimensionally. That is all I am saying, not that Richard Nixon's "successes" made him something other than a crook.

CJ said...

I only wish Hunter S. Thompson were here to give his thoughts on it.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Watergate was chickens--- compared to what government has done in complete legality since then.

Visibilium said...

a-g, I'm with you. Any mention of Watergate drives certain folks crazy with indignation about America's "loss of innocence" and related bullshit. Personally, I think that Watergate was a big nothing. A burglary in which the goal was to find out what the opposition knew? It's more laughable than anything else. Compare that to Nixon's pernicious influence in other areas, such as foreign policy and economics. Ironically, the policy areas are the areas for which Nixon was celebrated.