On Saturday, December 31, the New York Times published an article by John A. Farrell, author of a forthcoming biography of Richard Nixon.“Nixon’s Vietnam Treachery” describes how Farrell made a startling discovery while conducting research at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California: notes written by Nixon’s top aide, H.R. Haldeman, confirming that Nixon tried to sabotage Vietnam War peace negotiations in the fall of ’68. He feared that a peace settlement engineered by Lyndon Johnson before the election would assure his defeat at the hands of Johnson’s vice president, Hubert Humphrey.
“Haldeman’s notes return us to the dark side,” Farrell wrote in the Times. “…we must now weigh apparently criminal behavior that, given the human lives at stake and the decade of carnage that followed in Southeast Asia, may be more reprehensible than anything Nixon did in Watergate.”Farrell wrote that Haldeman’s notes, unsealed only nine years ago, “contain other gems, like Haldeman’s notations of a promise, made by Nixon to Southern Republicans, that he would retreat on civil rights and ‘lay off pro-Negro crap’ if elected president. There are notes from Nixon’s 1962 California gubernatorial campaign, in which he and his aides discuss the need to wiretap political foes.” The Farrell piece may be found in its entirety, and I strongly encourage everyone to read it, at:
So, we have been given proof that the 37th president of the United States was so driven to become the most powerful man in the world he did not care if U.S. soldiers had to keep on dying and suffering grievous battle wounds if that is what it would take to put him in office.
Every person who runs for president is possessed by a rare form of ambition, of course. Nixon was not the first candidate in which that ambition boiled over into pathology. Nor would he be the last, as is apparent in the president-elect to anyone who opens his eyes and is ready to accept the evidence of his senses.In the case of Nixon and now Trump, we citizens of the Commonwealth can mutter the refrain, “Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts." In the instant the slogan is voiced, we know it provides no consolation.
Forty-eight years ago in November, Humphrey beat Nixon here by 702,374 votes. Of the 2,331,752 residents of Massachusetts who voted in that election, 63% wanted Humphrey. [Interesting footnote: The president/vice president ticket of George Wallace and Curtis Lemay received 87,088 votes in Massachusetts, 3.73%, in the final election.]I’m glad I won't be around five decades from now when presidential historians and biographers will still be unearthing the sickening evidence of Trump’s ability to justify the means by the ends.