NIxon Just Wanted to Be Loved
Richard Nixon really understood the concept of branding a presidency, but he was never quite able to bring that idea into practice. Instead, he'd just grumble into his dictabelt whilst wondering why the nation mistrusted him as he plotted new smear campaigns against virtually everyone who wasn't Richard Nixon. He believed that if he just did enough baby-kissing, he wouldn't be seen as, well, Nixon. He was wrong.
President Nixon and his 1972 re-election campaign tried to tie Democrats to the mob, gay liberation and even slavery, according to newly released papers and tapes betraying bare-knuckle tactics from the dawn of the Watergate scandal.
Still, even as Nixon's lieutenants explored every avenue for defeating Democrat George McGovern and nullifying critics of all stripes — "hit them" was a favorite phrase — the president brooded over his reputation as a hard man whose gentle side was not being seen by the public.
Nixon called that side of him "the whole warmth business."
In 1970, he wrote an 11-page, single-spaced memo detailing his acts of kindness to staff and strangers and expressing regret that he was getting no credit for being "nicey-nice."
And in the profanity-laced conversation for which he was known in private, Nixon complained bitterly about Democratic campaign hecklers who shouted down his speeches, in contrast to well-mannered Republicans.
"Our people," he snapped, "are so goddamn polite."
I was born on the day that Nixon announced his resignation; my mother was (understandably, in my opinion) upset that the doctors were watching the television instead of the tiny human soon to be known as Jordan that was emerging... my recorded time of birth is actually approximate. However mischievous I was as a boy (i.e. very), it could have been worse, Mom: you could have been stuck with Tricky Dicky...