I realize it is going to be hard to herd the cats on this one and keep it GQ-appropriate, but I’m wondering about die-hard Nixon supporters. There is a large group of people who seem to think that Trump can do no wrong, and I think that things will get explosive (figuratively if not literally) if he ends up removed from office. I’m wondering if there was any similar group of Nixon supporters that continued to support his decisions and suitability for office during and after Watergate?
Pat Buchanan famously continues to lament how Nixon was removed via coup.
Didn’t Ben Stein become a speechwriter for Nixon after the initial accusations? I seem to recall that’s how Ben Stein was described on a 60 minutes profile – seeing Nixon as an underdog, beaten on by insiders, and wanting to help. Wikipedia just says he was a speechwriter for Nixon and then Ford, definitely implying Ben joined quite late.
I’m not a big Trump hater, but I find it hard to believe anyone has that much loyalty to Trump’s ideals.
At least as of last year, Ben Stein still held that Nixon wasn’t guilty of much of anything, and that he was brought down, unfairly, by the media.
Roger Stone, if his choice in tattoos is anything to go by.
Oliver Stone is less pro-Nixon I guess.
I used to work with Ben Stein a bit many years ago, and he was very proud that there was a framed letter of support from him to Nixon hanging in the Nixon Library. I suspect it’s no longer there, though, they revamped the whole library a few years ago.
Also not sure if this counts, but Lynyrd Skynyrd sang “Watergate does not bother me” in “Sweet Home Alabama.”
There’s some debate over this, but the intended meaning doesn’t seem to be that they thought there was nothing wrong about Watergate. Instead, the meaning is more along the lines of a southern man doesn’t judge all northerners based on the actions of the few northerners who were involved in Watergate, so why should northerners judge all southerners based on the actions of a few.
Keep in mind that the song is a response to Neil Young’s songs about the south (Southern Man and Alabama), in which Young makes sweeping judgements against all southerners. Also, that particular lyric comes right after the reference to the Governor in Birmingham. In other words, a southern man isn’t going to judge all northerners because of Richard Nixon. Don’t judge all southerners because of George Wallace.
I wouldn’t call that support of Richard Nixon in any meaningful sense.
Not to hijack, but I always thought they were saying essentially, “Don’t blame us for Watergate, we supported Wallace”.
So they’re not Nixon dead-enders, they’re Wallace dead-enders? :smack:
I sorta doubt it. As one biographer put it in an interview - “Those guys were not racists although they were conditioned to racism.” Which, y’know - probably means they were a bit racist ;). And Lynyrd Synyrd did seem to love its confederate flag iconography( as a “rebel” symbol at the very least, as so many on this board have tried to defend it in debates ).
But although Ronnie Van Zant apparently was kinda an incredibly violent asshole when drunk( and he was drunk much or most of the time, ) they do seem to be mocking Wallace in that song rather than supporting him.
His support certainly never went to zero. However, I don’t recall any discussion of violence, figuratively or literally, from his supporters. If he hadn’t resigned maybe it would have gotten worse, but it wasn’t all that long after 1968, and violence seemed less acceptable than it does today as a political action.
Nixon’s approval rating at the time of resignation was 24% (Gallup). W Bush hit a low of 25% (also Gallup, for comparison) just before he left office, though it rebounded to 34% on the day. Perhaps there’s some lower bound below which approval rating isn’t likely to go.
And for additional comparison, Truman bottomed out at 22% and Carter at 28%.
My father still thinks Nixon was a great President and will defend him to the grave. I haven’t asked him what he thinks about President Trump, but I’m certain he voted for him. My Dad has always believed that hard edged capitalism was what the country needed. He has had no patience at all for those who couldn’t find work, even when he became such a person in his 60’s.
Not only did Nixon have a few dedicated supporters, but there was a very serious attempt to bring him back in the early 90’s. I had a friend with a t-shirt that read “Nixon - He’s tanned, He’s Rested, He’s Ready.” Bobby Jindal tried to bogart that slogan just a couple of years ago.
He must have loved Nixon’s wage and price controls…
Oh Lord, don’t get me started! It’s ridiculous to think of what “Right Wing” meant back then in comparison to today. Even since the 80’sit has veered so far as to be unrecognizable. But in the end, I honestly think that any Patriarchal, “Toxicly” Masculine candidate would get his vote, almost no matter what else they did or said. Which is why I refuse to discuss President Trump with the man. I just can’t bear to hear it.
That T shirt was no more a “ very serious attempt to bring him back” than Aston Kutcher’s trucker-hat phase was evidencing his desire to become a big-rig owner-operator. Or than the currently available “tanned, rested and ready - Nixon in 2020” t-shirts are part of a movement to dig up his corpse and get it elected for anything.
The idea that in the last century there was any movement like that is silly. I think the 22nd amendmend would prevent him from being president again, but I find it hard to believe there was anyone who thought Nixon was electable for any office after his resignation.
Right now, though, there is no telling - If you told me there is a groundswell of support for a Rod Blagojevich/D.B. Cooper ticket, I couldn’t dismiss it out of hand.
I wouldn’t say there was a real attempt to bring Nixon back into elected office. But the 90s - prior to and after his death in 1994 - there was a serious reassessment of his brains and abilities. Yes, the man was a paranoid lunatic. But there’s no doubting at all how smart and politically savvy Nixon was. He was able to formulate plans and execute them without stumbling a lot.
It’s something we miss today at the Presidential level where we’ve gotten to a place where INexperience - due to the hatred that’s been fomented against government - is an actual asset for the highest office in the land. Beginning with Clinton, not having a significant Washington footprint has led to leaders without a certain amount of grounding in how things work and what government can and can’t do. Clinton wasn’t a DC guy and it showed when he first got there - that White House travel office scandal was PURE bush league inexperience - in how they behaved. GWB had the family name but wasn’t himself an experienced power player. Obama was an essential rookie and God alone knows our current President is completely inexperienced in the job.
There’s a good argument to be made that GHWB is the last of the experienced Presidents. He knew what government could and could not do and refused to be run into things it couldn’t do. When the first gulf war happened, GHWB knew enough to not drive for Baghdad. When the budget got too out of whack, GHWB was willing to raise taxes even though he’d run on ‘no new taxes’.
There’s a lot to be said for having a leader who knows what is and isn’t possible in the real world. Nixon was one of those. Remember, as mentioned above, he set wage and price controls to deal with a skewing off kilter economy. He also founded the EPA and got perilously close to pushing single payer health care through congress. Imagine where we’d be now - fifty years later - if we had that in place all this time.
Nixon had a few dedicated supporters, but I don’t believe there was a die-hard bloc of voters that he could have counted on. I don’t think it was the corruption of the cover-up so much that turned people in general against him, but the revelations of his paranoia and mental instability from the tapes.
A love of inexperience in Washington didn’t start with Clinton, or even Carter. In my lifetime I remember when Ike was elected, and a big part of his appeal was that he was untainted by the Washington, um, taint. Ike represented a pretty good compromise, in that he knew Washington, but he wasn’t OF Washington. We haven’t had anyone like that since. Either they were Washington lifers, or complete n00bs. Neither one seems to suit the voters for very long.