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Tue Oct 1, 2019, 10:39 AM

Trump v Nixon

“Can you imagine what this man could have been had somebody loved him? Had somebody in his life cared for him? I don’t think anybody ever did, not his parents, not his peers. He would have been a great, great man had somebody loved him. “
Henry Kissinger on Nixon; interview with Hugh Sidey for TIME


I have had an interesting conversation with my friend Lynne on comparisons between Nixon and Trump. I've participated in some threads on this topic here in recent months. Probably thousands of people have had similar discussions in households across the nation in the past few days. And it's interesting to discuss each one's scandals, and the similarities and differences between them.

Some journalists and former prosecutors on the news have been making the same general comparisons. With the current horrors of seeing the damage that Trump is inflicting on our nation, it is tempting for me to think, “Nixon really wasn't THAT bad.” Thankfully, Lynne reminded me that he was. The truth is that they are both worse.

Let's start by considering what environmental factors in their early lives may have warped each beyond repair. Nixon grew up in a poor family. His religious mother was strongly opposed to “sins” such as dancing, drinking,or swearing His father had trouble making enough money to raise the family. His younger brother was sick, and eventually died. There is no reason to think his parents did anything less than their best, but it produced a young man with internal turbulence.

Trump was raised in the lap of luxury. However, he had a cold, reptilian father, while his mother – described by others as a socialite – seems to be missing in significance. This suggests a strict patriarchal family system. Reportedly, Trump acted out, and was thus sent to a military school for boys – another rigid patriarchal system.

I don't know if Nixon's parents provided the love and emotional support he needed. I don't think Trump's father, as a primary influence on his son, lacked the emotional capacity to love Donald, any more than Donald loves Eric. To be fair, it would be hard for any parent to love Dick, Donald, or Eric.

Nixon could have used his birthright as a Quaker to avoid military service. But he joined the Navy in 1942. Trump had bone spurs. Nixon made money playing cards in the Navy, an obvious rebellion from his mother's strict religious views. Trump played people to make (and lose) money, in an obvious attempt to please his father.

As adults, they share a number of traits. Both can be accurately described as paranoid, envious, and having a curious combination of inferiority and superiority complexes. Both are known as liars: Nixon when he believed it to be beneficial, Trump pathologically. Both used people for personal gain. Nixon had one friend, and Trump none. Both admired and conducted business with mobsters. Both believed themselves above the law, and were willing to sacrifice those close to them to avoid legal consequence. And both had a compulsive need to punish “enemies.”

That brings us to their crimes, as candidates for president and as president. (It would take far too long to examine their previous criminal adventures.) It's important to remember that Nixon, as a candidate in 1968, did have a campaign representative contact a foreign government in an illegal attempt to interfere in a US election.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/02/us/politics/nixon-tried-to-spoil-johnsons-vietnam-peace-talks-in-68-notes-show.html

Likewise, we know that the Trump campaign coordinated efforts with a foreign government to interfere with the 2016 election.

Nixon had an “enemies list” of people to be targeted by the executive branch; it consisted of political opponents and journalists. Trump has made a similar, if less formal, hit list.

https://www.businessinsider.com/nixons-enemy-list-trump-security-clearance-2018-8

The Nixon tapes document his plans to have goons attack protesters at his 1972 re-election campaign rallies and the RNC convention. There were actually plans to kidnap some leaders of the “New Left” and drop them off in Mexico so that they could not attend the convention. We all remember Trump's comments about assaulting protesters at his rallies.

When pressure was being put on each, and their criminal escapades about to be uncovered, both abused the power of office to attempt to cover their tracks by firing investigators. Nixon had the Saturday Night Massacre, Trump fired FBI director Comey, and attempted to fire Mueller.

Both administrations were exposed to the media by a series of leaks to journalists. Both presidents became extremely paranoid about the military-intelligence “spying” on them. In both cases, their fears were justified. A too often forgotten episode of the Nixon experience was the Moorer-Radford Affair.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/the-men-who-spied-on-nixon-new-details-reveal-extent-of-moorer-radford-affair

The whistle-blower who exposed Trump's call to Ukraine is a CIA analyst. And the crimes he reported are substantiated by documents the White House attempted to hide, not unlike the Nixon tapes. And the tapes were revealed by Alexander Butterfield, a retired Navy officer and associate of Al Haig.

Nixon and Trump differ in their behaviors in the White House when the pressure of investigations increased. Despite some press conferences – including the infamous “people need to know if their president is a crook” bit – Nixon became an isolated, tortured man who drank far too much. Trump is publicly taking the stance that it is legal for a president to break the law, and he doesn't drink.

However, both men blamed their problems on “enemies,” and expected subordinates to take the blame for them. And that brings us to one last similarity: in a healthy society, neither man could possibly be considered fit to exercise political power, as both would be recognized as pathetic, failed human beings.

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Trump v Nixon (Original post)
H2O Man Oct 1 OP
rsdsharp Oct 1 #1
H2O Man Oct 1 #4
rsdsharp Oct 1 #15
Tipperary Oct 1 #34
OneGrassRoot Oct 1 #2
H2O Man Oct 1 #7
shadowmayor Oct 1 #19
H2O Man Oct 1 #28
coeur_de_lion Oct 1 #32
book_worm Oct 1 #3
H2O Man Oct 1 #8
dalton99a Oct 1 #10
H2O Man Oct 1 #11
NoPasaran Oct 1 #13
H2O Man Oct 1 #17
malaise Oct 1 #5
H2O Man Oct 1 #12
malaise Oct 1 #18
MuseRider Oct 1 #6
H2O Man Oct 1 #20
Martin Eden Oct 1 #9
H2O Man Oct 1 #21
Martin Eden Oct 1 #29
BumRushDaShow Oct 1 #14
H2O Man Oct 1 #22
Kid Berwyn Oct 1 #16
H2O Man Oct 1 #23
MFGsunny Oct 1 #30
MiniMe Oct 1 #24
H2O Man Oct 1 #25
PoliticAverse Oct 1 #26
H2O Man Oct 1 #27
lunatica Oct 1 #31
coeur_de_lion Oct 1 #33

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:09 AM

1. Interesting comparison.

Nixon, however, was very smart, and whatever you think of him (I despised him) he had a firm grasp of foreign policy based on years of effort. He was also a very hard worker. There is a story of him working as a partner in a New York law firm during the 1965 blackout. The other attorneys sat out in the halls and chatted. Nixon went back to his office and worked by flashlight.

Trump, other than his ability as a con man, is dumb as a post, and too lazy and arrogant to even try to learn anything.

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Response to rsdsharp (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:16 AM

4. Valid point.

Nixon was intelligent, no doubt. And he had self-discipline. Very different than Trump.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:50 AM

15. He also had enough respect for the Constitution not to totally tear the country apart when he saw

the writing on the wall. I fear Trump won't.

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Response to rsdsharp (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 08:40 PM

34. Very good point.

Rump is a conniving moron.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:12 AM

2. K&R. I did not know that about Nixon...

and the contact with a foreign gov't to solicit interference.

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:21 AM

7. It is a too often

forgotten chapter in our history. Nixon was more than willing to prolong that ugly war, killing and wounding thousands, only to eventually strike a deal similar to what LBJ would have made.

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 01:51 PM

19. Treason

That's the word for it. LBJ caught him at it and was mum.

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Response to shadowmayor (Reply #19)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 03:02 PM

28. In a sense,

LBJ's calling Nixon to let him know he was aware of this activity is more troubling than his failure to have Nixon charged.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #28)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 07:02 PM

32. Shoot I had no idea LBJ caught Nixon!

I never could make myself like LBJ. He was an able politician but there was always something shady about him. Why on earth would he keep quiet? That was his party!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:14 AM

3. There are obvious similarities, but

When he was lucid and not bathed in self pity Nixon could be a brilliant and innovative man. Trump has the brain of a ten year old bully. Nixon also did some things that liberals lauded such as the EPA. Trump only cares about his narrow-minded base.

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Response to book_worm (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:24 AM

8. True.

Nixon was likely nervous when he approached the gates of hell, because he feared being confronted for having done some good things in life. Trump has a "clean" record in that sense.

Nixon remains the president who actually did the most for traditional Native Americans. He did things that harmed them, too. But he still did the most good.

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Response to book_worm (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:36 AM

10. Trump is pure stupid destructive evil.

Nixon never tried to destroy the environment or take away Americans' healthcare, or put kids in cages

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #10)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:43 AM

11. Right.

Nixon was a complicated man. Trump is a simpleton.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:47 AM

13. Yes

Nixon was a better class of criminal.

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Response to NoPasaran (Reply #13)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 12:03 PM

17. As a retired

psychiatric social worker who was on a forensic team, I'd note that Nixon believed in the criminals' code of conduct. Anti-social, yes, but with some convictions. Trump is a sociopath, with no sense of loyalty.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:16 AM

5. Thanks for this bro

Looking forward to one fundamental difference - Don the Con will be impeached

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:44 AM

12. Yep!

I do think that Trump will resign when the pressure increases. But I believe that will be after the House ivotes on impeachment, and likely during the Senate trial.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 12:14 PM

18. Interesting

very interesting

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:18 AM

6. It is interesting isn't it?

We are all such a mess from time to time but nothing like these two and likely many others lurking in the bushes waiting for their turn.

I always wonder why they do not know how horrible their skills for this job are. I know they have their "yes men" and their MAGAts but really, who ever made these men actually come to believe they were the right person for this job? That kind of internal ignorance baffles me.

We do seem to like strong men in this country but we always end up finding out that they are not strong at all, just loud and mean.

Just my first little thoughts, this is so interesting. Will come back and read your link about the Moorer-Radford affair. I know nothing about this. Even the name does not ring a bell. Thanks for providing the link for that!

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #6)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:02 PM

20. I just got

back from the grocery store, where I ran into an old friend. He's 86, and one of the most intelligent people I know. He was saying what all of my peer group say -- "This isn't the country we grew up in." We were laughing about hearing our elders say that in the 1960s and '70s, and wondering what they meant.

It's tragic that young folks today are dealing with someone who approximates Nixon .....history does not repeat, but it sure does rhyme. I'm hoping that enough of the younger generation becomes actively involved to bring about the changes that my generation set as goals when we were young.

The Moorer-Radford affair was a shock to Nixon. He was smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it. Trump lacks that insight and ability.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:29 AM

9. "Pathetic failed human beings"

What does that say about those who voted for them and the government officials who defend and enable them?

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #9)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:06 PM

21. Seriously, right?

I find some are too embarassed to admit that they were fooled. And others are too stupid. But I think enough recognize this, that it will take a bit off his numbers should he make it to the 2020 election.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #21)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 04:26 PM

29. I'm not surprised that sociopaths like Trump exist ...

... but I am distressed beyond words that nearly 63 million of my fellow citizens voted for this pathological liar, and that he still has around 40% approval after 2+ years of this deranged clown shitshow.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:50 AM

14. There is one glaring stark difference however

Nixon had been in elected office before becoming President (had served in both the House and Senate and was Eisenhower's VP for 8 years). So he was well aware of how government worked unlike what is in office at the moment. He also had a VP who was on the cusp of impeachment himself (although that effort was thwarted by Democrats who instead wanted to go for the jugular, which essentially lead Agnew to do a plea deal and resign).

So with that in mind, Nixon's actions were taken from the perspective of how to "work" the system vs the flailing around that we see today from someone trying to "break the system".

In any case, it eventually lead to what historically could be considered Nixon doing an "honorable" thing and resigning vs the nightmare that we are going through now with someone who has too much faux guile, bravado, and ego to do so, because he has developed a disdain for our system of government. Additionally, 45 years ago the House and Senate were controlled by Democrats where today, Democrats only control the House. So the risks and rewards are somewhat different as well.

The scary part though, is that should we manage to successfully recover from this, then it's guaranteed that someone will try again and take us to the brink (and beyond) at some point in the future. The weaknesses in this system have been laid bare and the concept of the "honor system" has been badly damaged.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #14)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:08 PM

22. Great point!

Nixon had a pretty firm grasp of how the system worked. He did try to do some things outside the boundaries, of course, from at least when he was VP and in charge of planning the Bay of Pigs invasion. But Trump doesn't have a clue. He didn't understand that there are boundaries.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 11:59 AM

16. What the cellist said...



Pablo Casals: “In the confusion that afflicts the world today, I see a disrespect for the very values of life. Beauty is all about us, but how many are blind to it! They look at the wonder of this earth — and seem to see nothing. People move hectically but give little thought to where they are going…

“Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two makes four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another child like you. And look at your body — what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your cunning fingers, the way you move! You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work — we all must work — to make this world worthy of its children.”

Source: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/03/10/pablo-casals-joys-and-sorrows-jfk/

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Response to Kid Berwyn (Reply #16)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:11 PM

23. Thank you so much for this!

It is wonderful! (It would make a great OP on DU:GD!)

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Response to Kid Berwyn (Reply #16)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 04:37 PM

30. Awesome! n/t

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:39 PM

24. tRump never had bone spurs

That was his excuse to get out of Viet Nam.

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Response to MiniMe (Reply #24)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:41 PM

25. Yes, of course.

No one believed him, then or now. He was a rich kid, and his daddy bought him a pass.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:44 PM

26. I wonder what Kissinger's excuse was. n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #26)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 02:57 PM

27. Henry's excuse ....

He pursued a career in war crimes and crimes against humanity, to such a degree that he ranks among the saddest excuses for a human being in history.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 05:05 PM

31. One key difference that might make all the difference in the future

is that Nixon was intelligent enough to know when he was beaten so he went away knowing he would be pardoned. And he lived to become an elder statesman

Trump is mentally incapable of such a strategy.

I know Trump doesn’t care about this country by his actions so far, but it’s a mixed bag with Nixon. Wealth didn’t seem to be Nixon’s goal. At least not at first sight. He obviously wanted power. I may be wrong but wasn’t he the first person to say the American President is the most powerful man in the most powerful nation in the world?

Who knows, maybe he had more profound issues with fundamentalist religion than we know. In any case he was a far more complex person than Trump.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Oct 1, 2019, 07:28 PM

33. I like to think that Nixon would never have conspired with Russia

and was decent enough to step down.

Right this minute I would trade tRump for Nixon in a heartbeat.

I didn't like Nixon much. I HATE tRump.

Nixon had *some* redeeming qualities and he was intelligent.

I have no idea what redeeming qualities tRump may have. I have never noticed any and I have been paying close attention. In the beginning I hoped that the job would be the making of him. OMG what a false hope.

I don't know either, that loving parents would have helped tRump any. There is the nature vs. nurture argument, but IMO tRump is half and half. Half of him is fucked up because he was taught to be that way. The other half of him is fucked up because it is his nature. He had siblings that weren't as fucked up as he is. So I think he rather enjoys being irredeemably fucked in the head. People do what they enjoy. He enjoys being the biggest asshole ever to set foot in the White House.

That's all I have to say about that.

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