Author Topic: Trump v Nixon  (Read 2052 times)

Trump v Nixon
« on: January 07, 2021, 09:40:16 PM »
In the great constitutional smackdown, which of these two titans has caused greater damage to US institutions?

It may take a decade or two of dust-settling to have a sufficiently clear view of the question, but I think that actually Nixon will be seen as the more harmful.  The crucial difference between his attempted subversions and Trump's is that Nixon's were covert.  He didn't create the general cynicism with which people view political institutions, but I can't think of any single event which has done more to encourage such an attitude than Watergate.

Then there's Donald.  His methods and motivations are utterly transparent, tweeted out for all to see, and the consequences - yahoos unhappy with an election result literally forcing their way into the halls of power - will I think engender an increased respect for these institutions (if not for those who are elected to and work in them).

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2021, 09:53:32 PM »
Easy to pick Trump as I didn't live through Nixon but on every single measure Trump has degraded political, public and business life. There is no aspect I can think of where he hasn't lowered standards.

Worse of all, he has create a personality cult which is incapable of determining fact from fiction and has actually developed coping mechanisms to deter themselves from confronting facts that are inconvenient. He has built an army to proliferate this nonsense globally which we now encounter daily on social media, even our own family and friends are infected.

His legacy is infecting ordinary people with mental illness and delusion, diverting their legitimate grievances to dead end issues and bigotry, and lowering the standards of decency on every single conceivable measure and inspiring other conservative leaders to mimic this.

It's been the worst 4 years for the globe since WWII.

Even with the looming dread of a more sophisticated and deadly replacement, and the installation of a geriatric ghost in an adult nappy representing the supposed 'good guys' (yeah right) , I'll be raising a glass in celebration at the official fucking off ceremony. You have to take the wins when you can get them.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2021, 10:49:09 PM »
JFK

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2021, 10:53:13 PM »
joe biden isn't going to give trump a pardon

sorry that sounded a bit yas kween dem. whatever. trump is possibly a blip in history, who knows

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2021, 11:03:36 PM »
In the great constitutional smackdown, which of these two titans has caused greater damage to US institutions?

It may take a decade or two of dust-settling to have a sufficiently clear view of the question, but I think that actually Nixon will be seen as the more harmful.  The crucial difference between his attempted subversions and Trump's is that Nixon's were covert.  He didn't create the general cynicism with which people view political institutions, but I can't think of any single event which has done more to encourage such an attitude than Watergate.

Then there's Donald.  His methods and motivations are utterly transparent, tweeted out for all to see, and the consequences - yahoos unhappy with an election result literally forcing their way into the halls of power - will I think engender an increased respect for these institutions (if not for those who are elected to and work in them).

Hard to see without the perspective of history, but I think it will end up as Trump.  Like you’ve said, Nixon was smarter and more covert.  The ‘southern strategy’ which won him a landslide in 1972 was also responsible for many of the problems which still exist today (which I’d argue Trump simply exploited), and literally changed the political geography of the US (it should also be noted that he was more than happy in 1968 to allow racist loon George Wallace to lay the groundwork for south flipping from blue to red).  He fostered mistrust in the system, which again Trump exploited.  What Trump capriciously did could only have been done in an environment that Nixon created.  So it could be argued that Nixon was the worse of the two.

The reason I think it is probable that Trump will finish below Nixon in the presidential rankings that historians occasionally take part in - Nixon’s achievements re defrosting of relations with China and SALT I dwarf Trump’s achievements (ie effectively nothing) and would be ticks in the ‘positive’ column.  Nixon was nasty, paranoid and cunning.  Trump is nasty, paranoid and a complete fucking idiot.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2021, 11:14:21 PM »
Virtually every President has done shady shit on par with Watergate.

Nixon is also responsible for more overtly introducing white supremacy into the electoral strategy of the Republican Party though, laying the groundwork for the insane polarization we have today.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2021, 11:17:35 PM »
Nixon did a few good lefty things- environmental policy, opening a relationship with China etc. Trump has withdrawn some troops and made some sort of peace with North Korea?

Also if you read their different biographies Nixon comes off pretty sympathetic. As a kid he grew up fairly poor, had a beloved brother who died at a young age and was a smart quiet loner who had a good heart. IIrc when he was young he caught a woman shoplifting from their family store but rather than calling the sheriff or embarrassing the woman publicly in a small community he convinced his parents that he'd run out and quietly tell her she could pay for the items in installments. But as he went to college he begun to have a huge chip on the shoulder and became paranoid.

Trump was a shit from the start who became a shit storm under his father's influence.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2021, 11:19:59 PM »
Trump has withdrawn some troops and made some sort of peace with North Korea?

He has done neither, unfortunately. Has been ineffectually and dishonestly talking about the former for four years without lifting a finger, and it looked for about a week like he might be doing the latter before he got bored and changed his mind.

Military intervention overseas up bigly during Trump's term.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2021, 11:22:14 PM »
Nixon also had his cancer campaign and at one point was considering Universal Basic Income, which is ludicrous to think of any US President doing let alone a Republican.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2021, 11:40:06 PM »
With a heavy heart I think Nixon was worse. Breaking into the headquarters of the democratic national committee to find... fuck all - who gives a fuck? Sabotaging an imminent peace deal by LBJ to end the Vietnam war in his final week of presidency? Tut tut. Founding the Environmental Protection Agency - intriguing. Dumping the gold standard - silly silly man. Opening China and Salt 1 with the Russians - tasty. Bombing Laos and Cambodia into oblivion? Ah now come on.

But it was Nixon who began the great polarization of the U.S. population. He made up the term "silent majority" to appeal to his base, and demonized protestors, liberals, etc.

Trump is a pussy grabbing twonk.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2021, 02:17:40 AM »
I forget to mention two others reasons why history might just be more damning of Trump than Nixon.

The first may not be universally agreed on here, but we don’t have the hindsight of the future to know how damaging it might prove; Trump allowing his jealousy and hatred of Obama to make him throw out the Iran nuclear deal.  Nixon was petty too - but it’s hard to imagine him throwing out an JFK/LBJ international policy through ignorance or jealousy.

The second might be the biggest of all - Trump’s belief in bogus climate conspiracies.  As Oy Vey pointed out re the formation of the EPA, Nixon at least paid credence to the importance of a form of environmentalism (and was president a fair time before global warming became known or accepted as scientific fact).  It’s not hard to imagine in a few decades time Trump’s wilful neglect of environmental issues (given the science at his disposal) being seen as a much bigger negative factor than even his terrible conduct in terms of racism and race relations (not to downplay his role in this; but the US hasn’t the greatest history in this regard.  Perhaps Trump will just be seen as a particularly nasty right wing president from a long line of them).

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2021, 02:35:43 AM »
I think Nixon was probably worse mainly because he and the people he surrounded himself with were competent.

But history loves a loudmouth. Nixon pretty much disappeared after Frost\Nixon- I doubt Trump is going to go quietly until his death.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2021, 12:57:17 PM »
Nixon was before my time but I don't ever recall hearing about him inspiring a cult of tens of millions of people. Trump once said he could shoot someone in the face in public and people would still love him. Judging from the reaction to this week, he isn't wrong.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2021, 01:41:23 PM »
You can't compare the two. It's not possible. The media landscape now is utterly different from the 1970s. We don't know how Nixon would have used Twitter (or how he would've directed a mouthpiece to use it). We don't know how Trump would behave if it didn't exist. Not to mention that in 1970, the major networks were NBC, CBS and ABC. After that there was PBS and a few Christian/religious state or regional channels. Fox wasn't launched till 1986. And no Internet. Much harder for conspiracies to spread, no rolling news coverage of the President's every little burp and fart.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2021, 01:47:53 PM »
Trump never guested on Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In, so I prefer Nixon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3e9iWizfsm8

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2021, 01:56:39 PM »
The only way they can compare on a level playing field is with a head-to-head-in-a-jar Futurama special. Arooo!

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2021, 01:58:00 PM »
What about in an actual fist fight? I suppose Trump has the weight advantage. Wouldn't put it past Nixon to slip a knife into his sock and stab the guy though.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2021, 02:05:47 PM »
I understand that the 'War on Drugs' originated with Nixon. Here's one of his advisors in the '90s openly admitting that it was designed to oppress black people:

Quote
The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

The War on Drugs, of course, was only the latest incarnation of slavery-by-any-other-name, and is directly linked to disproportionate incarceration rates, police brutality, militarised policing, and racism in public opinion.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2021, 04:39:57 PM »
Where would Bush Jr fall in this ranking?

I remember seeing a talk he did with Bill Clinton about 5-10 years ago, and the question of what he believed his greatest legacy was stumped him. Old Slick Willy came to his rescue and pointed out some donation to the building they were in or something. But it does seem that all Bush 2 has to his name is the Iraq War.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2021, 04:45:42 PM »
Where would Bush Jr fall in this ranking?

I remember seeing a talk he did with Bill Clinton about 5-10 years ago, and the question of what he believed his greatest legacy was stumped him. Old Slick Willy came to his rescue and pointed out some donation to the building they were in or something. But it does seem that all Bush 2 has to his name is the Iraq War.
He's fortunate that Trump came after him. If someone pissed in my face it would be unpleasant (Bush), but it would be even more unpleasant if someone did a shit in my mouth (Trump).

Analogy not great as Trump would be more likely to piss in my face.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2021, 06:43:14 PM »
He has done neither, unfortunately. Has been ineffectually and dishonestly talking about the former for four years without lifting a finger, and it looked for about a week like he might be doing the latter before he got bored and changed his mind.

Military intervention overseas up bigly during Trump's term.
So much for people preferring Trump because he hasn’t done anything bad in the Middle East.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2021, 09:26:30 PM »
I remember seeing a talk he did with Bill Clinton about 5-10 years ago, and the question of what he believed his greatest legacy was stumped him.

Well it's his art, obviously.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2021, 10:53:42 PM »
Where would Bush Jr fall in this ranking?

worse than Trump. actually stealing an election & starting two wars. Bush will be rehabilited by the Biden administration and since people have a very short memory, Trump will be the scapegoat for everything the other fuckers have done.

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2021, 12:59:15 AM »
Bush the second tends to sit mid-table whenever you get those poll of historian lists.  Probably about right.  As does Nixon tbf, which again will no doubt be due to the actual achievements of his presidency balanced against the obvious negatives.

The bottom five usually (not always) consists of Harding, Pierce, Fillmore - and usually (and correctly, for me) Buchanan and Johnson (A) vying for bottom spot.

It’s probable that Trump will make the usual bottom five a bottom six.  I struggle to see anyone making a case that he’s worse than Buchanan or Johnson tbf.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2021, 02:10:11 AM »
On a personal level, Nixon was a wife-beating drunk; Trump is a rapist. Take your pick, I guess.

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2021, 12:36:04 PM »
Where would Bush Jr fall in this ranking?

I remember seeing a talk he did with Bill Clinton about 5-10 years ago, and the question of what he believed his greatest legacy was stumped him. Old Slick Willy came to his rescue and pointed out some donation to the building they were in or something. But it does seem that all Bush 2 has to his name is the Iraq War.

Dodging a shoe?

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2021, 12:41:31 PM »
Dodging a shoe?

Closest he ever came to looking cool

Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2021, 02:18:39 PM »

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Re: Trump v Nixon
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2021, 03:18:53 PM »
Dodging a shoe?
Closest he ever came to looking cool

I swear he had a look of excitement/joy when that happened, as if he was finally having childlike fun for the first time in a long while. All those boring meetings and people yelling at him to make decisions, daddy told him he had to, even though it was all so dull. But in that one moment, he got to play dodge-ballshoe, and the inner-child smiled.


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