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Politically I’m far left. My family and friends have all expressed bewilderment over my fascination with Nixon. I try to explain it and end up hopelessly muddled. I’m gonna print your post and from now my retort will be a simple one: read this.


Were Shakespeare alive and writing today there are only two people in America’s history he would find worthy of a play: Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon. Brilliant, complex men with more inner demons than anyone should have to share flesh with. Lincoln succeeded in holding his demons at bay. Nixon failed.
It’s a thin line between greatness and ignominy. A very thin line.

Chris Quinones

Yeah. I think Nixon is fascinating, too, or I did when he was the worst president of my lifetime, way back when.

In a way, our current president is the anti-Nixon; the failure who succeeded. I read this yesterday and too much of it rings true.

minstrel hussain boy

i am currently reading it and am captivated. i especially like the way the author inserts his little asides to the reader. how, after one or another, political rival does something unspeakably crass or underhanded the author inserts, in a paragraph all its own,

and nixon is the one who is supposed to be a dirty campaigner.

perspective babies.

Anne Laurie

All true, Mr. Mannion, and brilliantly explained (as ever). But Nixon was also very specifically a man of his own American generation. Bill Clinton contested Newt Gingrich (inheritor of Nixon's "first as tragedy, then as farce" mantle) for the top spot as exemplar of the succeeding American generation. And now it looks like Barack Obama will herald another generational shift, deftly displacing Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign to cap McCain's race as the last "Greatest Generation" president (yes, I know J. Sidney's a Viet vet, but his marketing has always presented him as the last WWII-style campaigner, a "good soldier" who avoided all Kerry's DFH mess and Dubya's/Cheney's/Clinton's other-priorities maneuvering by spending the we've-lost-Walter-Cronkite period in the confines of the Hanoi Hilton).

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