Sunday, May 20, 2007

And he's killed fewer people than Charlie Manson

Note to Conrad Black: If you want to stay out of jail, you may not want to compare yourself to the only man ever driven from the White House for his criminality.

The Money Quote:
His book, Richard Nixon: The Invincible Quest, is largely an attempt at rehabilitating the president brought down by Watergate. Had it not been for his "legal and ethical shortcomings," he writes, Nixon would now be ranked alongside Reagan andFDR as one of America's greatest presidents.
Yeah, and aside from that brief bit of unpleasantness in front of the Book Depository, the future Mrs. Onasis quite enjoyed the drive through Dallas. On what basis can Nixon be considered a great president? His prolongation of the Vietnam war? His secret and illegal wars against Cambodia and Laos? His backing of Pinochet's coup in Chile? His backing of Indonesia's bloody invasion of Timor?

"Oh, but he went to China!" the conservatives always say. He was hardly the first to recognize that the communist regime there formed a legitimate government -- and it only happened 30 years after they had chased Chang-kai Shek off the mainland.

Yes, he ended the draft and started the EPA, but that hardly makes up for using the constitution as toilet paper.

And let's be clear: Reagan was a disaster as president. He tripled the national debt, sparked the homeless problem by emptying the mental hospitals, was a union-buster, sold arms to Saddam Hussien, gave the religious right the undue influence in U.S. politics that it weilds to this day, got rid of the FCC's fairness doctrine thereby allowing evil, lying bags of pus like Rush Limbaugh to abuse the public airwaves, contributed to international tensions and instability by heating up the cold war until it threatened to turn hot, ignored AIDS until it reached epidemic proportions and made George Bush his vice president, thus leading to the coronation of the current dolt in the White House.

And all that is in addition to the crimes he commited gassing students as Gov. of California, rushing to eagerly name names for Joesph McCarthy and making the Bonzo movies.

That Black believes Nixon and Reagan were great presidents on par with FDR tells you all you need to know about his lunatic, aristocratic Tory view of history, but if you need other reasons to dislike him look let us judge him by his actions and his words rather than his reputation as a ruthless robber baron who gutted the Canadian newspaper industry.

He also responds to the repeated attempts by the prosecution to portray him not just as a thief but prone to an over-the-top lifestyle. "It is a total fraud that I lived with any particular extravagance," he complains. "I had certain ideas about how the chairman of a big newspaper should behave. So I tried to conform to that. But I was not a vulgar person."
Contrast that with:
While he admits that there have been some "scary moments", he goes on to insist:
"The game is won. I'm on an inexorable march to victory."
That is going to look so good after Lady Babs has one of the servants embroider it on a sampler for his lordship to hang in his cell.

Commenter John M. Miller correctly points out that Ford and not Nixon was the president during the invasion of East Timor. However, I would argue that as Ford and Kissinger were both Nixon appointees, Nixon still bears some degree of responsibility for what happened on their watch. The same goes for ending the draft - it was Ford that signed the papers in 1975, but the original groundwork had already been laid by Nixon, who ended active conscription in 1973.

There is one other nail that should be driven into Nixon's coffin; He brought Donald Rumsfeld (whom he admiringly called a "ruthless little bastard") into the executive branch, and thus Dick Cheney, both of whom clearly took to heart the boss's arguments about executive privilege and the right of the president to do anything he wants.

(crossposted to The Woodshed)

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