The younger Enthusiasts should watch this: it’s illuminating, and maybe they didn’t get to Nixon in their history class yet. Richard M. Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, the only one to resign the office. He did so to avoid being impeached; he would have certainly been convicted.
(Now, Bill Clinton was actually impeached by the Senate, but he was not convicted, and it must always be mentioned that the impeachment was over a blowjob. Clinton then lied under oath about the blowjob, yes, but I maintain that you are allowed to lie–even under oath–about blowjobs. The very first lie may have been told about a blowjob. Whether you got blown, by whom you got blown, or who you blew: all of these things may be lied about without me thinking any less of you. Sometimes, you gotta lie about a blowjob.)
The articles of Nixon’s impeachment were a bit rougher than Billy’s: the man was a monster. He deployed the IRS and the Justice Department against his enemies, of which there were legion because if you’re the kind of person that sics the IRS on people, then you’re the type of person that acquires a lot of enemies. That’s a self-perpetuating cycle right there.
Nixon inherited the Vietnam War (in many ways a Democratic war), but took to it with zest; he enjoyed bombing Vietnam so much that he had the countries around it, Cambodia and Laos, bombed as well. We were not at war with these countries, and the bombings were done in secret.
His office was full of thugs, some of them still around but most of them dead now: G. Gordon Liddy will live forever, staring the devil in the eye while holding a lit Bic lighter under his palm; every one of them went to jail, except Nixon of course. (Ford pardoned him.) During the ’72 campaign, Nixon hired a bunch of idiots to break into the Watergate Hotel (which is also an office building and condos and there’s a supermarket in there: “hotel” is misleading) and bug the offices of some DNC officials.
Which sounds like a movie, except it was real life and the President of the United States was ordering break-ins and wiretaps of political rivals’ phones, and plus burglars are usually smart in the movies. They’re Danny Ocean or Katherine Zeta-Jones doing yoga through lasers. These guys, as I said, were idiots and so they got caught.
And of course things go south immediately, at least for Nixon. It turns out that the burglars had been paid with funds directly linkable to the president: the money had come from a pot designated for the president’s reelection. I hope you’re still reading, Younger Enthusiasts, because here’s where it starts to go all sideways and loopy. The money for the break-in came from the Committee to Re-Elect the President. They called it CREEP. The creeping was paid for by CREEP.
Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford figure out what was happening, and the story goes public. Rabble rabble rabble Congress has to do something, and they do, but not before Nixon starts firing everyone, including the Attorney General. He names a new AG, and that AG names a special prosecutor. And when the special prosecutor began special prosecuting, Nixon fired the special prosecutor, too.
And everyone was like, “Well, now what the fuck do we do?”
At this point, it should be noted, there was no direct evidence to link Nixon to the burglars, no memo or whatever, but then during the congressional hearings, a White House assistant named Alexander Butterfield let slip that there was a recording system in the Oval Office. (And Watergate had some great names: Mr. Butterfield, and Archibald Cox, and G. Gordon Liddy, and E. Howard Hunt, and the Sonny and Red West of Nixon’s mafia, Haldeman and Ehrlichman.)
The tapes came out, after the Supreme Court stepped in and ordered them released, and they revealed Nixon engaged in pretty much exactly what he was being accused of: bribes and cover-ups and pay-offs. There was no record of him ordering the initial break-in, but there was also a never-quite-explained gap of 18 minutes in the tapes. Maybe Hillary’s IT staff was archiving it, who knows? Nixon went to his grave denying he gave the order.
And here’s the thing, Younger Enthusiasts: go look up the 1972 presidential election. Y’know what? You don’t have to look it up. Don’t say I never did anything for you. If you don’t want to click, then here’s the important information:
If it were a physical beating, McGovern would have had to relearn how to talk and eat. It was a historic curbstomping, and it was not a come-from-behind victory: Nixon was well ahead the entire time. McGovern was running on a guaranteed minimum income, plus “abortion, amnesty (for draft refusers who went to Canada or wherever, which Carter got around to), and acid.” AND he was from South Dafuckingkota so no one had ever heard of him AND the Democratic party had no money AND his first choice for veep had to drop out due to having undergone electro-convulsive therapy for depression. The race was never close, and yet Nixon’s paranoia still doomed him.
Anyway, you know the rest: Nixon resigned in August of ’74 and famously got his hands chopped off by helicopter blades while trying to make victory signs. He retired to Yorba Linda, California, where he refused to give back frisbees the neighborhood children had tossed onto his long.
“It’s Nixon’s now!” he’d croak at the kids, and laugh.
Richard Nixon was a criminal, and not a specialist: petty crime to war crime, he got through them all during his time in the White House, and the shitstain he left on the office and the culture still hasn’t scrubbed out. He was almost entirely motivated by power, and revenge against his enemies, foreign and domestic, real and imagined, and near the end–just for a moment–he was a clear and present danger to our very republic.
And if I dug the lying fuck up and propped him a chair behind the Resolute desk, with patriotic worms hanging from his rotted jowls, he would still be a better president than Donald Trump.