Skip to comments.The War Over Nixon [As Seen From Left Field]
Posted on 07/08/2010 9:17:28 PM PDT by Taft in '52
The War Over Nixon
The ghost of our most divisive modern president haunts efforts to make his library tell the truth
by Scott Martelle
Tim Naftali thought docents at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum should be honest about the Watergate tapes. The docents, though, couldnt talk about what they didnt know. I had docents come to me and say, Is there anything incriminating on the tapes? says Naftali, the library director. The tapes were so damaging to Richard M. Nixon that they were a reason he resigned as president of the United States. Naftali also thought the docents should come clean about the White House plumbers, the men behind the 1972 break-in to spy on Democratic National Committee headquarters, which helped bring Nixon down. I had docents say, What are the plumbers?
So Naftali, a Cold War expert hired by the National Archives four years ago to convert the acolyte-run Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda into a federal research center, took what he thought was the best option. He stripped the docents of one of their favorite jobsconducting student toursand told them to know the facts and stick to them when they spoke to visitors. I didnt want them to say things that would give the impression that we are a legacy shop, Naftali says. His decision angered the docents. Some of them quit . Its been very intense. They have been very upset. They have written letters to get me fired, things like that.
(Excerpt) Read more at lamag.com ...
For one thing, the story that a docent had called the director a fag is apparently untrue. According to one who witnessed the incident, the docent in question was engaged in a heated argument with the director but never used that slur, or any other foul language.
Martelle, the writer, asserts that The Watergate scandal had been reduced to a single snippet of tape and dismissed as an overthrow perpetrated by Nixons political enemies In fact, the Watergate display was the largest one in the museum and placed the scandal in its historical context. For more information, surf over here http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2274484/posts
Martelle also contends that for serious scholars of the presidency, all the best Nixon material was still on the East Coast. The librarys collection on the West Coast was limited to his personal papers, dating before and after he became chief executive, and the papers of some of his friends. In fact, the National Archives, by law, has custody of the presidential papers, so the Nixon Library had no choice but to become a National Archives facility in order to receive them.
He goes on to say that old habits and suspicions die hard. In March 2005, Taylor canceled an academic conference on Nixon and Vietnam that would have included such Nixon critics as Stanley I. Kutler and Richard Reeves. Taylor blamed a lack of advance commitments by academics and concern that the library would lose money. The academics read the last-minute decision as a refusal by Taylor and Nixons protectors to turn independent scholars loose on hallowed ground Some of them feared the incident signaled that Nixonian paranoia at the library might continue on into the National Archives era.
In fact, sources close to John Taylor told me that the conference was, indeed, cancelled out of concern that it be a money-loser for the library, and not because of any paranoia. The library, after all, was a private institution that couldnt rely on taxpayers to bail it out.
Martelles article provides a lot of insightful information as to what is going on at the Nixon Library, but caveat lector.
If anyone caught Schwarzenegger’s 2004 GOP speech at the primaries, he tells the story about coming to America and the 1st political debate he saw was Nixon vs Mcgovern (I think it was Mcgovern)..
He asked the person beside him in broken English who were those people. The other guy explained. Ahnold then says..
‘That Democrat guy kept talking about communism which I escaped from. I cant stand his politics. This Nixon guy was talking about freedom this and that, to work hard, reach your goals..from now I;ll be a Republican.’
Miss him yet? You bet.
“our most divisive modern president”
The hivemind never reboots.
I still have a “thank you for your support” card from him.
When I got it I was one excited kid.
Still proud of it.
Yes, most divisive. Historically, Klinton wears that crown.
Yes, most divisive. Historically, Klinton wears that crown.
Not so sure he still has it.
Maybe the docents should tell visitors that Noam Chomsky called Nixon, “the last of the liberal presidents.”
About Nixon, the irony is hat he was a liberal Republican, quite different in his orientation from Reagan. As for his anti-communism, I think the negative attention he got from the Establishment because of the Hiss affair, seems to have changed him personally. He didn’t have the self-confidence that Reagan had, the need to “prove” himself. ‘If you know you’re right, then go ahead!”
That’s about as far as I got also. Predictably boring, and stale.
Well, we have been reading the same article for about 34 years now. But then, these are the people who still think the New Deal is new.
Even the subtitle of this article is inaccurate. President Nixon no longer has the distinction of being our “most divisive modern president.” President Obama has laid claim to that.
I wonder if the Clinton Library has a director equally dedicated to making his library tell the truth.
As with most things Arnold, that was a cute little campaign story cooked up by Arnold and his handlers.
All lies. There was no debate.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blunder at the Republican Convention:
The Nixon-Humphrey Presidential Debate Never Took Place
The left never forgiven Nixon for being right about Helen Douglas and Alger Hiss. They have an irresistible need to pee on his grave.
Met him once very briefly. He was immensely uncomfortable in his own skin.
One display there oughta be, Naftali, in the interest of historic accuracy, is Nixon’s birth certificate. But you won’t have the guts or integrity to put that one up. I’m hopeful the docents still have charge of the gift shop where they can sell postcards of the same, and Walker in charge of the parking lot where decals for staff parking could have the birth cert as background.
I wonder if the libraries for Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton try to tell the “truth” at their libraries? /s.