Saturday, September 28, 2013

Reinventing Richard Nixon 2

On page 46 of Reinventing Richard Nixon: A Cultural History of an American Obsession, Daniel Frick says the following:

"When, in the days before his resignation, Henry Kissinger tried to console Nixon with the thought that history would rank him as a great president, Nixon responded, 'That depends, Henry, on who writes the history' (RN, 1084).  Certain of the assessment his presidency deserved, Nixon determined not to bow to the judgment of the political analysts, journalists, and academicians with the power to create the accounts of his tenure in office.  In typically self-reliant fashion, Nixon resolved to write his story himself."
Here are some thoughts:

1.  Did Nixon's telling of his own story give him a good legacy in the eyes of the public?  I'd say "yes" and "no."  The fact that he kept on writing and speaking did ensure that he got to be known for something other than Watergate, and many respected him for that.  But the stigma of Watergate remained.  As far as his side of the Watergate story goes, I'm doubtful that most Americans are even aware of it.  But his books are out there for anyone who wants to learn about it.

2.  I like this paragraph because it is about a person setting out to define himself, rather than allowing others to define him.  In those days, in my opinion, a person needed some power to do so.  It wasn't like today, when all kinds of people can set up their own blog.  Rather, a person needed to have a degree of fame and influence in order to tell his side of the story, and Nixon had those things.

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