These posts reminded me of an anecdote about Nixon from R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.�s book The Conservative Crack-Up, which came out in 1992. Tyrrell was pretty astute in its prognostication, though he failed to foresee the 1994 takeover of the House � �Newt Gingrich� does not appear in his index. The book is mostly a backward look at the rise of the Conservative movement, focusing on an idiosyncratic mix of interesting figures whom Tyrrell had known — Reagan, Irving Kristol, Clare Booth Luce, Malcolm Muggeridge, Luigi Barzini. I think Tyrrell lost his way during the Clinton years, after foolishly moving from beautiful Bloomington, Indiana to the snakepit on the Potomac, and devoting the entire period to unproductive scandal-mongering. But “Crack-Up” is a good book, and there are copies literally selling for a quarter.
Here is Tyrell on Nixon:
The only glimmer I ever caught of the RN that prowled through Liberal nightmares came while we were riding along the East River Drive in the back of his ancient armored limousine. He was silently peering out on a bleak expanse of the river. We were on the last lap of the 1980 election. Republicans were in a sweat over reports of an impending hostage swap between Jimmy Carter and the Ayatollah. � [O]n the eve of the 1980 election Carter was obviously pursuing a deal. It was in the headlines, and I naturally asked RN what he would do if he were president. �Cut a deal,� he replied impassively. I objected, and sought further explanation. An impatient RN turned to me and repeated: �You cut a deal,� and looking back toward the river he added ��and then you screw �em.� When I asked how, the former president�s impatience enlarged into exasperation: �There are a million ways to screw �em,� he said. �Tell them the deal is tied up on Capitol Hill. Tell them the material is lost in the pipeline.�
I miss Nixon.