Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Final Days 3

On page 104 of The Final Days, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein say:

"Nixon's inability to handle more than one drink was well known to his intimates.  During campaigns he had wisely chosen not to touch alcohol.  But now, on too many afternoons, he started sipping in his office with [his friend Bebe] Rebozo.  On the mornings after, the President arrived in his office late, sometimes not until noon.  [Chief of Staff Alexander] Haig was worried that the press would learn about it, and he ordered that the time the President left his residence to go to work no longer be recorded."

If this is accurate, then I can identify with Nixon here: he was going through a hard time, and he tried to self-medicate by drinking alcohol with his friend.  But Woodward and Bernstein say that there was a downside to this: that drinking was hindering Nixon from doing his job.  Now, people may debate about whether or not Nixon was hindered in doing his job during Watergate.  Nixon argues that he was accomplishing stuff, especially in the field of foreign policy, and that his political critics were upset about this.  Anthony Summers in The Arrogance of Power, by contrast, argues that Nixon was dropping the ball, on some things.

During the time when I was drinking, I got things done.  I read a lot, especially when I was eating dinner and sipping my beers.  I wrote papers.  But there were times when I drank, and I would wake up late, with a hangover.  Ever since I quit drinking, I don't have to put up with that.  And that makes me happy.

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