1. Rich Woods says

    It’s good to know that Trump is following in such a proud tradition. Hopefully he’ll be impeached and resign in considerably less time than did Tricky Dicky.

  2. says

    Rich Woods@#1:
    Remember, Nixon’s great legacy (other than the deplorable verbal mannerism of adding “-gate” to things) was the war on drugs. It’s still with us today. How long will it take to undo what Trump does?

  3. freemage says

    Fuck, he’s even got the “love for Russian strength” thing going on there. Are we sure that Trump isn’t just an android that they transferred Tricky Dicky’s brain to?

  4. cartomancer says

    Does anyone know where this American association of the homosexuality with the decline of the Roman Empire comes from? Because I’ve heard it many times from (religious) Americans, but never from anyone else. Not from Classicists, or historians of any stripe, or from people outside the US.

    At a guess it’s based in post-medieval Christian mythmaking, taking the gossipy tales of people like Suetonius and Ammianus Marcellinus as fact and lumping in a good dose of homophobia. It’s certainly of a piece with Roman attitudes towards homosexuality – that’s why we have all these stories of sexual impropriety among emperors, they’re the kinds of slurs conservative Roman critics would reach for to blacken someone’s name. But the notion that it has some connection with the collapse of civilizations is decidedly post-classical.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @2 et al:
    Also Nixon started the One-China Diplomacy, the Drumph is casually disregarding. hmmm

  6. busterggi says

    Yes, I voted for him but how many times do I have to apologise?

    I learned my lesson and haven’t voted Repub since Ford.

  7. Rich Woods says

    @Marcus #2:

    How long will it take to undo what Trump does?

    Nixon’s war on drugs built upon many decades of misinformation and misunderstanding, Reefer Madness being just one of the high* points. What policies might Trump actually be able to put in place which could last decades? Economic policies come and go. Even loading the Supreme Court is unlikely to result in any lasting implementation of his racist or Islamophobic campaign statements, while environmental issues might not make it there at all. If he decides to pander to his socially conservative voters then abortion rights would seem to be the most threatened. Yeah, not fun.

    *Sorry! Couldn’t resist it.

  8. unclefrogy says

    now this brings up an interesting question. Nixon said that kind of stuff in private and said and did other stuff in public. What does the pres. elect say and do in private and how does that differ with what he projects on stage where he is making the sale?
    While he allows his supporters to project on him all of their thoughts and feelings in fact he encourages them to. I have to wonder what he actually thinks. I doubt for instance, he is as much a homophobe as his “base” is, he counts Roy Cohn as a major mentor after all.

    uncle frogy

  9. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Are we sure that Trump isn’t just an android that they transferred Tricky Dicky’s brain to?

    Nah, Nixon was a lot smarter than Trump. I mean, sure, he was a racist, paranoid, humorless, authoritarian asshole, but at least he was an intelligent, racist, paranoid, humorless, authoritarian asshole.

    Also, one aspect of Nixon’s legacy that Trump seems committed to undoing is the EPA.

  10. Randall Slonaker says

    As far as the trope of the Roman Empire falling due to “sexual immorality”, this has long been debunked. I always assumed that the Empire collapsed under its own weight. Edward Gibbon’s “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”, was banned by the Catholic Church, as Gibbon blamed the inculcation of Christianity causing the Romans to lose their martial spirit.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    An unusual movie opens this week:
    Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America

    Daryl Davis has an unusual hobby. Though primarily known as an accomplished musician who has performed all over the world with legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, in his spare time he likes to meet and befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan. Daryl has built his relationships person by person and his campaign has proved remarkably effective. Many members of the KKK he has connected with have been forced to reconsider their beliefs, with some even leaving the organization as a result.

  12. robro says

    cartomancer @ #4 — “Does anyone know where this American association of the homosexuality with the decline of the Roman Empire comes from?” Seems to me you got it…poorly informed, religious Americans, relying on questionable interpretations of the Pauline letters and spinning off half-baked notions of Edward Gibbon’s thesis mashed up in a history based on bad Hollywood movies.

    cervantes @ #6 — “An important difference is that Nixon didn’t say it in public.” Only if you discount the dog whistles. Even I, naive young man that I was in my 20s, knew who he was talking about when he spoke of “law and order,” “war on drugs,” and “welfare reform.”

  13. leerudolph says

    Are we sure that Trump isn’t just an android that they transferred Tricky Dicky’s brain to?

    Nah, Nixon was a lot smarter than Trump.

    As our host often reminds us, cryogenics hasn’t quite solved all its problems. You have to expect some diminution of capacity in the transferred organ!

  14. secondtofirstworld says

    @cartomancer comment #4:

    Once the Western Roman Empire has fallen, Christian kingdoms and the church banned everything from the Greco-Roman era, utter decline be damned.

    What caused the downfall? Their biggest territorial expansion existed in 217 AD, however it kick started a new movement to include nations and tribes, who were allied with them, but did not become citizens of the Empire. Internal struggle (like the year of 4 emperors) contributed to internal decline, and by the 4th century, much of their former glory was gone. A cooling climate in Asia had forced the Huns to migrate westwards, and as a result, newer nations and tribes entered the Empire. By 313, the Emperor was forced to accept Christianity as a common denominator, because for its time, they were seen as a peaceful force, who can pacify internal struggles and convert pagans, if they rejected Roman ideology.

    We know now, that after a country (kingdom, empire) reaches a certain threshold, reform is inevitable, which is something they opted not to do, and de facto Rome became the liege of warlords with their own law and order, not that Aëtius did not see fit to defect to Attila’s army after their battle.

    America is also in its Tiberius era right now, having expanded to as far as possible, out of which there is but 2 ways out: reform or downsizing. Since the latter is inconceivable, but Trump will do it anyway, reforms and expansions would be in order. Non-American conservatives of rich countries have long since recognized, that placing your chips on just the ruling elite is not a good idea, and thus, they attack liberals on the economic front, not the social one, gaining votes among people the GOP can’t like gays (Front Nationale), leftists with xenophobia (Eastern and Southern Europe), citizens with immigrant background against refugees (Australia, Western and Northern Europe), poor farmers against equal poor farmers not from their ethnicity (South Africa and South Asia).

  15. taraskan says

    Try not to think too hard about Nixon’s rough-sketched concept of ancient history, it’s word salad. I listened to these tapes when they first started getting disclosed years ago. My favorite is when he is describing the plot of All in the Family and thinks Archie Bunker was a good guy. He thought he was the hero and the joke was he has a crazy liberal family.

  16. taraskan says

    Oh, all right, since others insist on disecting Nixon’s word salad, here goes a history rant. I meet any attempt to compare the US or the EU with the Roman or any other ancient empire with a steely-eyed mix of disgust and pity. Attila? Expansion? Climate? These things had nothing – nothing – to do with the fall of Rome, and littler to do with contemporary geopolitics, but putting them to one side, why is it everyone continues to have this view of late antiquity where Europe has some sort of infrastructure and unity in the 3rd and 4th centuries and then all of a sudden doesn’t? It never had unity, and it never had infrastructure. Romans didn’t have such a thing as an economy, they had no concept of profit, had known both freed and slaved immigrants since before they were a republic, had known border incursions under every single emperor – you were not ‘safe’ if you lived in Roman-occupied Spain, or Greece, or even along the coast of Italy. It was a dynamic landscape of pirates, family militia, mobs, the descendents of regiments and spoils of war. To the extent money was good for anything you could only get it in two ways, what amounted to public welfare (if you were poor), or steal it (if you were rich). All gold came from conquered peoples; all coin printed came from melted down foreign currency. Prices were fixed over hundreds of years, with nothing resembling inflation, or growth, and that was okay, because 99% of everybody was either an urban peasant or a self-sufficient farmer. Local rulers spent less time maintaining their lands than living off of them. What was there to fall? The 18th century idea of this landscape that has persisted into modern consciousness in the form of bad summer blockbusters, is cartoonish and wrong.

    Cities and provinces were fully self-sufficient in every conceivable facet of life except for military defense. Therefore the only thing of significance to happen was Rome’s enemies organized. It took them centuries to do it and once they had they did to Rome what Rome had done to everyone else – they came, stole some shit, and left again. This repeated several dozen times over 50 years and then one day the senate started answering to a German de-facto ruler instead of the in-bred spawn of the legitimate line, and life went on. Few common people could care less – the senate even persisted there for another hundred years after that. Rome wasn’t even sacked while it was the capital. The capital constantly shifted northward or eastward depending on the size and locus of the empire, from Mediolanum to Ravenna, to Byzantium. What happened to one Roman city had little to no bearing on what happened to other contemporary cities. For example while Rome was being sacked for the fourth time, Ravenna was a peaceful Christian kingdom, and it remained a peaceful Christian kingdom even after changing hands from Western Rome to the Skiri to the Ostrogoths.

    There was never a fall of Rome. The power that controlled Rome merely migrated from city to city. The only real cessation of this power was the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century. If your concept of what it meant to be Roman is not the ruling elite, but the culture approximated by its early period, then Gibbon was right and this Rome “fell” to Christianity. Whichever way you take it, the point is Rome was only and ever the locus of power around a ruling elite originally based in Rome. It had nothing important to offer Europe during its period of influence, and there was nothing to mourn when its constituent kingdoms and city-states started being defended by groups other than the Caesars. How the hell does anyone draw any kind of parallel to the modern world with this stuff?

  17. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Even Trixon doesn’t sound worse the our current POS-elect.
    To say Drumph is just the same as Trixon is making Drumph sound not as ba as he is.
    Well, umm, if Trixon’s entire CV is considered as well as the cartoon in the OP, at least Trixon had some experience running a government, and actually focused on the job (too much obviously) while POSDrumph tweets his opinions endlessly and tweets sales pitches for his luxury hotels.
    (and his team claims that since he is president-elect anything he does is “presidential”. *barf*)
    Calling Drumph a racist is actually a complement for the POS he actually is, as it reduces his turditude to a single splotch. The completeness of his [*belch*] sets a new pinnacle of yuk.

  18. johnwoodford says

    The other thing to keep in mind is that Nixon said all that over forty years ago, and we’d like to think we’ve moved on in terms of what are acceptable beliefs to express in the public sphere. (Before the past couple of years, it was easier to do that in the US, at least if you were white, male, straight, and didn’t listen too closely to people who weren’t.)

  19. KG says

    Once the Western Roman Empire has fallen, Christian kingdoms and the church banned everything from the Greco-Roman era, utter decline be damned. – secondtofirstworld@16

    No, they didn’t. Your statement has about as close a relationship to historical reality as the claim that God drowned everyone except Noah and his immediate family.

  20. KG says

    It never had unity, and it never had infrastructure. – taraskan@18

    Gosh, so all those roads and aqueducts built themselves? I never knew that.

  21. secondtofirstworld says

    @KG #comment 22: Your next comment, the 23rd actually alludes as to what I was talking about. Since, as you correctly point out, they had that infrastructure and knowledge, why did people have the Dark Ages?

    I should have been more clearer. The ruling elite had kept said knowledge, and hasn’t destroyed it, but it has also publicly condemned and hunted any and all attempt to create knowledge based on anything else but royal decrees and the Bible. People didn’t become stupid and had suddenly forgotten, that irrigation and personal hygiene is a good thing, they were indoctrinated into what was virtuous and what was sinful.

    You’re well aware, that medieval fiefdoms tried to capitalize on everything possible, and they had the means to do so, except because it came from heretics and murderers of Jesus, they couldn’t unless they wanted to burn on the stake. For centuries, tangible and useful education was in the hands of the church and royalty, hence why epidemics could become rampant and London could burn down, and while those places burned, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Spaniards kept it a secret, that Japan exists, and how they can get there. Even if some English people could have seen their envoy in the 1580s, at best they thought they had come from China.

    Furthermore, if, by some chance the Germans would have won WWII, future generations would not have known about the existence of penicillin, as Goebbels forbade its use on German soldiers. If you deal with fanatics, there’s a lot you can keep from them, it wasn’t different for medieval times.

    Not to mention, Galileo’s fate is by far the most known globally. How the Earth is round, and isn’t the center of this solar system was known to the Greeks, and regardless, which version you accept, that he was tortured, or the opposite, very buddy buddy with the pope, both versions contain how he had to recant heliocentrism in favor of geocentrism. That’s only possible when you actively persecute any knowledge that doesn’t come from you. I could mention, that the English hold the Doomsday Book in high regard for being a very accurate record, and its title is very telling they did it to recount what they can claim in Heaven, as the general public thought, the huge crater on the Moon in the 11th century, which sprang chunks of it into space was seen as the end of days, as was any solar or lunar eclipse, a major earthquake or Black Death. The latter of which they blamed on witches and the Jews.

    If the argument were, that people just simply couldn’t read Greek, that would be a lie, since the Bible itself was translated into Latin from it, and theological universities taught both Latin and ancient Greek. They had the information, but kept it controlled for selfishly human reasons, it legitimized their power, greed and of course everything could be explained away as an act of god.

    I lived a thousand miles away from Chernobyl, and a scary lot amount of information was kept from the general public, and I also know, that a 1977 plane crash off the coast of Israel took 25 years to be finally revealed, not that we will ever know what happened to KAL-007 in 1983 in its full extent. Some things change, some don’t, mostly the technology how information can be kept hidden, but the intent always remains the same.