Monday, December 15, 2008


Just Leave.

1. (n.) The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he/she finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.


Former President of the United States and record holder for most bestial occupant the modern White House until the all-time record was smashed to atoms by George W. Bush. Nixon -- of whom Illinois' Governor-still-at-large is inexplicably fond

His political hero is Richard Nixon. I was watching the local PBS station rerun a story it did as he was first running for governor in 2002. When Blagojevich went to New York as a young man in 1980, he excitedly waited for Nixon to come out to get his autograph.

-- was never more faithfully summed up than by his Gonzo Boswell, Hunter S. Thompson, in Doctor's Thompson's eulogy of Nixon, excerpted here:

He was the real thing--a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family. Not even Gerald Ford, the unhappy ex-president who pardoned Nixon and kept him out of prison, was immune to the evil fallout.

As long as Nixon was politically alive--and he was, all the way to the end--we could always be sure of finding the enemy on the Low Road. There was no need to look anywhere else for the evil bastard. He had the fighting instincts of a badger trapped by hounds. The badger will roll over on its back and emit a smell of death, which confuses the dogs and lures them in for the traditional ripping and tearing action. But it is usually the badger who does the ripping and tearing. It is a beast that fights best on its back: rolling under the throat of the enemy and seizing it by the head with all four claws.

That was Nixon's style--and if you forgot, he would kill you as a lesson to the others. Badgers don't fight fair, bubba. That's why God made dachshunds.

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.

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.

Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism--which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.

When he arrived in the White House as VP at the age of 40, he was a smart young man on the rise--a hubris-crazed monster from the bowels of the American dream with a heart full of hate and an overweening lust to be President. He had won every office he'd run for and stomped like a Nazi on all of his enemies and even some of his friends.

For Nixon, the loss of Hoover led inevitably to the disaster of Watergate. It meant hiring a New Director--who turned out to be an unfortunate toady named L. Patrick Gray, who squealed like a pig in hot oil the first time Nixon leaned on him. Gray panicked and fingered White House Counsel John Dean, who refused to take the rap and rolled over, instead, on Nixon, who was trapped like a rat by Dean's relentless, vengeful testimony and went all to pieces right in front of our eyes on TV.

That is Watergate, in a nut, for people with seriously diminished attention spans. The real story is a lot longer and reads like a textbook on human treachery.

Unlike Nixon, Agnew didn't argue. He quit his job and fled in the night to Baltimore, where he appeared the next morning in U.S. District Court, which allowed him to stay out of prison for bribery and extortion in exchange for a guilty (no contest) plea on income-tax evasion. After that he became a major celebrity and played golf and tried to get a Coors distributorship.

Agnew was the Joey Buttafuoco of the Nixon administration, and Hoover was its Caligula. They were brutal, brain-damaged degenerates worse than any hit man out of The Godfather, yet they were the men Richard Nixon trusted most. Together they defined his Presidency.

Nixon's spirit will be with us for the rest of our lives--whether you're me or Bill Clinton or you or Kurt Cobain or Bishop Tutu or Keith Richards or Amy Fisher or Boris Yeltsin's daughter or your fiancee's 16-year-old beer-drunk brother with his braided goatee and his whole life like a thundercloud out in front of him. This is not a generational thing. You don't even have to know who Richard Nixon was to be a victim of his ugly, Nazi spirit.

He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.

Two observations:

First, Hunter Thompson could make any verb a porn star and any noun a king.

Second, as bent as Rod Blagojevich is, in the end, we are a nation ruled by fifth-generation Nixon photocopies and he is just one more of Nixon’s many, many bastard political children.

We join our shakedown

already in progress.


US Blues said...

Tis a shame the good Doctor is not still inhabiting his mortal coil to write the political epitaph of one George W. Bush. An encapsulation of the career of the Worst. President. Ever. would be an immortal screed.

Drifty if you feel the urge, or necessity...

driftglass said...

US Blues,

Mauigirl said...

Hunter Thompson's diatribe on Nixon is amazing. I concur it is too bad that he's not still around to write about W. (I also am sad that Phil Ochs isn't around to sing about W's crimes).

Great Sat. Night Live spoof, thanks for posting, as I missed it.

ofladrt said...

When DG writes the book about the WPE, I will buy as many copies as I can afford, and read each of them twice.

Angel Of Mercy said...

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was one of a kind; when it came to political commentary, he was The Main Man and in a class entirely by himself. I used to read him when Rolling Stone was an "underground" paper and he could make me laugh until it was hard to inhale!

You're his spiritual offspring, too, Mr. Glass, with every bit of the towering outrage and a linguistic acuity all your own. (You can make an adjective geek like nobody I know!)

I sure do hope you decide to take that Sunday whack at the Bush epitaph, Sir...

Manitoban said...

What Angel of Mercy said. Looking forward to your book.

karen marie said...

one of the biggest mistakes this country ever made was not impeaching nixon. thank you congress!

and we are about to compound that mistake four times over by not impeaching and then prosecuting the bush administration.


unrelated topic: thanks for coming by to view my meager offering driftglass. i feel like i've had a celebrity has stopped by!

Michael Hart said...

"[Politics] is a cruel and shallow money trench,
a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free,
and good men die like dogs.
There's also a negative side."
—Hunter S. Thompson

res ipsa loquitur said...

Agnew was the Joey Buttafuoco of the Nixon administration,

/laughing uncontrollably

the political epitaph of one George W. Bush

Too short. dg needs the freedom of longform. Write his political obituary.

tanbark said...

Assholes have cut the video access.

Somethin' about a copywrite claim.


scott said...

I just watched part of a Candy Crowley interview with Bush in which she gently coaxes pointless uniformative gibberish out of him,while the two of them chuckle warmly in the knowledge that they're both in on this contrived nonsense.
Hence another mutant child of Nixon will waltz off into another fake sunset,covered in the chipped bone fragments and slick gore of his pathetic innocent victims.
Hail to the Chief.