The Republican party has evolved into the party of disenfranchisement, dishonesty, and outright treachery. One place you might point to as the beginning of this sordid history is the presidency of the primeval ratfucker-in-chief, Richard Nixon. Newly discovered documents show that he intentionally scuttled negotiations to end the Vietnam War for political gain.
Richard M. Nixon always denied it: to David Frost, to historians and to Lyndon B. Johnson, who had the strongest suspicions and the most cause for outrage at his successor’s rumored treachery. To them all, Nixon insisted that he had not sabotaged Johnson’s 1968 peace initiative to bring the war in Vietnam to an early conclusion. “My God. I would never do anything to encourage” South Vietnam “not to come to the table,” Nixon told Johnson, in a conversation captured on the White House taping system.
Now we know Nixon lied. A newfound cache of notes left by H. R. Haldeman, his closest aide, shows that Nixon directed his campaign’s efforts to scuttle the peace talks, which he feared could give his opponent, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, an edge in the 1968 election. On Oct. 22, 1968, he ordered Haldeman to “monkey wrench” the initiative.
John Kerry once said, How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?. He should have said, “How do you ask a man to die in order to elect Richard Nixon?” Then later we get Reagan and Iran-Contra, and George W. Bush and the mega-cluster-fuck in Iraq.
Of course, the problem goes even deeper than that, to a winner-takes-all two party system that fosters insane levels of partisanship. I think we need to burn it all down and start over.
Oh, and there’s even more.
Time has yielded Nixon’s secrets. Haldeman’s notes were opened quietly at the presidential library in 2007, where I came upon them in my research for a biography of the former president. They contain other gems, like Haldeman’s notations of a promise, made by Nixon to Southern Republicans, that he would retreat on civil rights and “lay off pro-Negro crap” if elected president. There are notes from Nixon’s 1962 California gubernatorial campaign, in which he and his aides discuss the need to wiretap political foes.
Also the party of racism.