16 July 2007

Nicey Nixon

All the usual suspects in online media and blogland have already batted around this recently released 1970 memo from Richard Nixon to Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman which, over the course of 11 single-spaced pages, enumerates the failure of Nixon's staff to convey to the public the megalomanic president's personal warmth and kindness.

I link to Nixon's rambling, obsessive tighten up and excerpt the juiciest bits below because it is an absolute classic of the genre. Behold:
  • "we have gone far beyond any previous President in this cenury in breaking our backs to be nicey-nice to the Cabinet, staff, the congress, etc., around Christmastime in terms of activities that show personal concern, notonly for them, but for their families."
  • "Then there are such things as the treatment of household staff, the elevator operators, the office staff, the calls I make to people when they are sick, even though they no longer mean anything to anybody"
  • Referring to his cabinet: "No President could have done more than I have done in this respect and particularly in the sense that I have treated them like dignified human beings, and not like dirt under my feet."

Nixon admonishes his staff: "All of this must be handled subtly and under no circumstances am I going to sit down with anybody and start telling them all the good deeds I have done. Again, such things, to be believable, have to be discovered, and one of the great factors that should be emphasized is that the President does not brag about all the good things he does for people."

Exactly - and that's why Nixon goes on to ennumerate his every selfless act for an additional 6,000 words, including that time in 3rd grade when he shared his thermos of chicken noodle soup with little Peggy Prichard and then let her see the first page of his original Secret Enemies List (but not the next 16 pages where her name appeared three times).

If only Haldeman, et. al, listened to Nixon's advice and endeavored to educate the public about the President's finer virtues, instead of unleashing and covering up a massive criminal conspiracy, we might have never been denied the continued public service of a great humanitarian and world-class tighten upper.

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