March reading

Underrated for so long that he has safely crossed over into overrated, Harry Truman deserves a fresh biography that reestablishes his ordinariness. Jeffrey Frank, like his subject, wastes no time on subtlety. Check out the title. The Trials of Harry S. Truman: The Extraordinary Presidency of an Ordinary Man, 1945-1953 begins at the moment theContinue reading “March reading”

The persistence of the McGovern myth

As 2020 and the Iowa caucus get closer, expect to see Rahm Emmanuel and Claire McCaskill types bemoan the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party. Expect allusions to George McGovern, whom the Democratic candidate establishment despises more than the GOP as an Eeyore, a symbol of failure as profound as the substitution of Swanson’s EnglishContinue reading “The persistence of the McGovern myth”

Conservatism: the racism is the point

I’m not the only person who insists the GOP’s transformation into a racist death cult advocating tax cuts for the wealthy began on January 1981 when Ronald Wilson Reagan put his hand on the Bible. Too often Reagan’s bonhomie masked what Christopher Hitchens called a cruel and stupid lizard. I can’t wait for the RonnieContinue reading “Conservatism: the racism is the point”

He’s Richard Nixon and you’re not

Richard Nixon: The Life by John A. Farrell So long as his former sycophants roam the earth, Americans will need new Richard Nixon bios. Roger Stone, he with the face tattoo of the thirty-seventh president, pops up in headlines. Nixon himself is still around, living up to the elder statesman title that the Beltway pressContinue reading “He’s Richard Nixon and you’re not”

And another thing…

We should stop thinking that “little things” or big things will bring down Trump. He’s not Nixon. For one, Nixon had a Democratic Congress whose majorities grew with each midterm election. No Dems in majority = no bringing down Trump. So much tumult in the last thirteen days that no reporter has mentioned again Trump’sContinue reading “And another thing…”

We’re in for it now #245

I haven’t responded to White House events as they’ve happened because human endurance has limits, but firing an acting attorney general days before a new attorney general takes command of the Department of Justice strikes me as a stupid mistake that will nevertheless please large portions of the president’s base, most of which thinks attorneysContinue reading “We’re in for it now #245”

Don’t monkey wrench with my business: Nixon and Vietnam

Ever since Seymour Hersh broke the news in the early eighties that the Nixon campaign used an intermediary to order the South Vietnamese to renege on the Johnson administration’s peace overtures in 1968, the national media has refused to mention it on TV, a medium on which Richard Milhouse Nixon remains the president who OpenedContinue reading “Don’t monkey wrench with my business: Nixon and Vietnam”

A romp through convention platforms past

An excerpt from the Democratic Party platform of 1972: We hold that the federal tax structure should reflect the following principles: The cost of government must be distributed more fairly among income classes. We reaffirm the long-established principle of progressive taxation —allocating the burden according to ability to pay —which is all but a deadContinue reading “A romp through convention platforms past”

The persistence of right wing triumphalism

Forget shame: the deeply fucked up men who worked for Nixon and Reagan persist and prosper. Behold Roger Stone, ratfucker extraordinaire whose name showed up on radar today for peddling the infidelity rumors that have pursued Ted Cruz. Thinking Ted Cruz capable of copulation is like imagining Reagan speaking in heroic couplets, and therein liesContinue reading “The persistence of right wing triumphalism”

‘Shake them up!!’

With a different Congress, we could impeach a dead man: President Richard Nixon believed that years of aerial bombing in Southeast Asia to pressure North Vietnam achieved “zilch” even as he publicly declared it was effective and ordered more bombing while running for reelection in 1972, according to a handwritten note from Nixon disclosed inContinue reading “‘Shake them up!!’”

‘The edges of her triangulations are all sharp ones’

Before she became a white woman with a temper on FOX, Monica Crowley was a grad student in the early nineties employed as Richard Nixon’s amanuensis. She wasn’t even Boswell to his Johnson, just let him ramble about Democrats, his crush on Mario Cuomo, regard for Bob Dole as the Henry Clay of Wichita, howContinue reading “‘The edges of her triangulations are all sharp ones’”