The Third Shift

  1. If the right people had been in charge of Nixon’s funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

    These are harsh words for a man only recently canonized by President Clinton and my old friend George McGovern — but I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum.

    Let there be no mistake in the history books about that. Richard Nixon was an evil man — evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it. He was utterly without ethics or morals or any bedrock sense of decency. Nobody trusted him — except maybe the Stalinist Chinese, and honest historians will remember him mainly as a rat who kept scrambling to get back on the ship.

    He Was a Crook - Hunter S. Thompson - The Atlantic

    Today would have been Richard M. Nixon’s 100th birthday, and today, one of the two major political parties in America is made in his bent image, rotten to the core and uninterested in that which it is elected to do: govern. 

  2. to my fellow members of the media:

    Please stop adding the “-gate” suffix to every sort of scandal, particularly the trivial ones. It obscures and degrades a few basic truths about Watergate to have its most lasting legacy be a cheap and lazy lede tactic, for these reasons:

    1. The Watergate office complex is an actual place; the location of a burglary by Nixon staffers to steal information from the Democratic National Committee, and the name for the subsequent conspiracy to cover the abuse of power up by the president and his closest advisors. 
    2. Most importantly: the Watergate break-in was a REAL scandal. Yes, Anthony Weiner’s faux pas is a scandal in the sense that he is married and should not be sending erotic, lewd, or whatever-adjective-you-use photos to women who are not his wife, but it has absolutely no implications for the future health of our nation. Nixon’s abuses of power were some real heavy ish, so heavy the networks carried the Congressional hearings LIVE on broadcast television during the day. My parents were part of said mainstream media during the Watergate hearings. This break-in and cover-up had massive implications for the future of our republic, specifically the balance of powers the Founding Fathers had designed. It was THE TEST of our ability to see if we could keep the republic, to borrow a phrase.
    3. This is almost 2a more than 3, but let’s continue: the end of that test was more along the lines of an “Incomplete” grade — because Ford decided to pardon Nixon and kind of made his former boss’s words true: if the president does it, it’s not illegal. Sure, Nixon had to resign, but he never had to face a judge or jury for his crimes. He lived out the rest of his days in Orange County, the place that spawned his rise to power and enabled him. The most powerful man in the world never had to face the same rule of law that applied to the rest of us. We kicked that bucket down the road in the name of “national healing” and quietly allowed every executive to encroach more on powers meant for Congress to handle. Nearly four decades after he resigned, we are still paying for the sins of Richard Milhous Nixon, as well as our own.

    So leave the word “gate” alone, because it’s meant for things much bigger than any congressman’s crotch shot.