Friday, July 07, 2017

Blame Johnson And Nixon

     I was thinking the other day why I find the Trump Presidency pretty much a yawner.  Which I do.

     Sure, I work around a lot of people who think he is The Worst Ever, a new old-fashioned fascist like Hitler or Mussolini, but that is patent nonsense: whatever else you can say about Schicklgruber and il Duce, they had philosophies and published plans -- evil, horrible plans based on a twisted philosophy, but a definite framework nonetheless.  Mr. Trump, now, everything I have seen indicates he's an absolute spur-of-the-moment pragmatist, which may not be the best of possible Presidential traits but is solid proof that he's not up to anything much past late-night twitter spats.  He doesn't even have a fancy uniform, which is a pretty stunning omission given what I have seen of his sense of style.

     Growing up, the first election I (barely) remember is the Nixon-Kennedy race, and the awful suspicion by my parents that some female member of the extended family had had the temerity to vote for Mr. Kennedy.  This was generally held to be an awful mistake caused by the candidate's good looks.  Then everything came crashing down and even the adults who had been most incensed at the thought of someone they knew and trusted having voted for that East Coast Democrat were horrified by the assassin's shot in Dallas.

     President Johnson was in and my folks loathed him.  He reportedly held conferences from the toilet (true) and showed reporters his gallbladder surgery scar.  He was, for lack of a better word, crass.  The hippie kids hated him for the Vietnam War; conservative adults loathed him for carrying on just like a big ol' Democrat and for his abrasive personal style. Eventually even the Press disliked him, and it showed.

     So he was disliked from both sides and the big middle of the bell curve was irked.  In a comeback effort by scrappy ol' Dick Nixon, the man who went toe-to-toe with Nikita Khrushchev over the state of kitchens and daily life in their respective nations, he spoke directly to that "silent majority" and made his way into office on the strength of their votes.

     The press promptly found he was a President they could dislike far more heartily than they had Johnson -- and Mr. Nixon had long possessed a gift for hating them right back and redoubled, which he proceeded to exercise.

     Richard Milhous Nixon was (in my opinion) a foreign policy genius, who probably should have been pulled into the State Department and kept there as a resource.  The Presidency did him no good and directly led to the multi-year feud and growing cynicism on both sides that culminated in the Watergate investigation, his resignation, and President Ford followed by President Carter, two men as determined to be likeable as puppies and neither one especially suited for that tail-wagging role.  It  left me so burned out on Federal politics that after pulling a lever in the Carter-Ford contest, I didn't vote for years.

     And Mr. Trump?  He's just Mr. Johnson's personal style with Mr. Nixon's sullenness, and lacking the nasty war in Southeast Asia that allowed them both to seem bigger than life.  He just doesn't bother me that much.  I don't think he's the Great Savior of Conservatism (seriously, guys?  Can you not do better?), nor do I think he is a would-be fascist dictator.  He's just Another One Like Them, of which this country has had plenty, most of them buffed warm and shiny by history but a plain ugly bunch of outright bastards in their day.

     Love him?  Hate him?  He, too, shall pass.


Old 1811 said...

Nixon ran against Kennedy in '60.
Goldwater ran against Johnson in'64. (Kennedy would have run, but he was dead.)
"In your heart, you know he's right."

Roberta X said...

You're right, I fixed it. Somehow it is stuck in my memory as Goldwater vs. Kennedy.

Guffaw in AZ said...

President Trump is a populist, but not a conservative nor a libertarian.
Thinks he speaks for the Silent Majority.
(He might in some instances).

You are correct, of course.

This too shall pass.

I'm greatly concerned with what will follow, however...


JimBob said...


I know a lot of "real" conservatives and Libertarians aren't happy Trump, but with all due respect, he wasn't elected to be the "great savior of conservatism", he was elected because he was the only one of 17 candidates (19 if you include Bernie & O'Malley) who could beat the "Great Satan of progressivism/liberalism".

And so far IMHO he's doing a GRRREAT JOB of pretty much single handedly undoing the mess made by Obama, Hillary and some of their predecessors.

As Will Rogers once said, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Trump has stopped the digging and has filled in quite a bit of the hole he inherited.

Here's another analogy: Stop the bleeding!

Hey, love your blog! If I ever get back to Indy I'll buy you & your room mate a beer!

naleta said...

All I have to say about President Trump is "He's not Hillary."

Roberta X said...

That was a large measure of his appeal to many.

Jay said...

I find it amazing that so many believe Trump=Fascist when more actual actions taken by Obama fit the definition.

Roberta X said...

I would argue that Mr. Obama wasn't much of a fascist, either. Congress kind of leans that way whenever it decides something needs leaned on, but that -- as Davy Crockett famously pointed out -- is kind of baked right into such actions.

pigpen51 said...

The less the government does, the better our country is served. As far as Richard Nixon is concerned, I think your assessment of him is spot on. He was a very astute foreign policy wonk. He DID get us out of Vietnam, even if it meant leaving with egg on our face to some peoples way of thinking. It was not actually a war he wanted, but a Democrats war. He opened up trade with China, starting with the ping pong team stuff, and then with the first ever American President visit to Communist China. He used Kissinger for a lot of dealings with foreign leaders, and Kissinger was very good at it, even though many didn't like or trust him. Nixon was a slime and not adverse to playing dirty pool when it suited his goals. But one could argue that most presidents are, at least the successful ones. Carter and Ford, while bad presidents by many standards, if not all, went on after they left D.C. to be much better leaders then while actually in a position of leadership. An interesting bit of trivia is that I think Richard Nixon was involved after he left office in negotiating an end to a professional baseball players strike.

Drang said...

Well said, madam, well said.

I'm with Guffaw, I'm more concerned about what we get after Trump than with trump. As I said elsewhere, I dream of a universe where the 2016 campaign was between Ted Cruz and Jim Webb. Alas, Ted Cruz doesn't have it in him to be popular enough to make it in modern presidential politics, and the Democratic party shifted way left on Jim Webb when he wasn't looking.

Also, BTW, I've seen articles saying that Davy Crockett didn't actually give the "Not Yours To Give" speech. Doesn't stop me from linking in my blog's sidebar.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I can't argue with a word you wrote. Which is fine with me.

Chuck Pergiel said...

Right on, Roberta.