Abuse of power : the new Nixon tapes

by Stanley I. Kutler

Hardcover, 1997




New York : Free Press, c1997.


PRESIDENT NIXON: Here we go. What in the name of God are we doing on this one? What are we doing about the financial contributors? Now, those lists there, are we looking over McGovern's financial contributors? Are we looking over the financial contributors to the Democratic National Committee? Are we running their income tax returns? Is the Justice Department checking to see whether or not there is any antitrust suits? Do we have anything going on any of these things? HALDEMAN: Not as far as I know. PRESIDENT NIXON: We better forget the Goddamn campaign right this minute, not tomorrow, no. That's what concerns me. We have all this power and we aren't using it.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ck2935
This is a really good book which provides insights into the Nixon White House.
LibraryThing member keylawk
I give this 4 stars because the author had to sue Nixon to get these tapes. Professor Kutler, and the advocacy group Public Citizen, took the suit all the way to the Supreme Court. Kutler was already an accomplished historian when he sued Nixon for the release of the tapes. This very topical selection of actual transcripts is true history. These are actual word "facts" of Nixon himself, revealed. History as reality. The text is not the opinions and the spin of the ideologues--enemies or friends. These are transcripts of the secret taping machines set up to record Nixon's conversations in the Oval Office.

Sadly, but conclusively, the transcripts reveal not only the criminality of the man, but his obsession with destroying other people. Day by day, there is a complete absence of ideas, of policy debate, or historicity or interest in truth. Nixon is revealed as obscene, petty, tyrannical,racist [20], and sacrilegious. He is at one with the instincts of his close life-long friend, the gangster, Bebe Rebozo, whose wealth was accumulated directly from criminal syndications.

Granted, this work is still incomplete. Only 3,000 hours of tapes have been brought to light. (Nixon himself only released 60 hours, and only involuntarily.)

The two-term leader of the Republican Party destroyed the Party from the inside. His own words are monuments of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The "immoral tone", in Billy Graham's words, infected the entire White House and administration. [xv]

The selections in this book chronicle the year after the Watergate break-in. Many of the remarks infer many miscreant deeds of which little is known. [Nixon remarks that E. Howard Hunt, should disappear since he had "done a lot of things". xv]. These transcripts ignite a large battery of smoking guns.

Having pointed out that the transcripts reveal the truth that the Presidency and much of America had fallen into the hands of a political thug, it is also important to see how heroic those were who struggled to keep the concept of "public service" intact. Although indirectly -- none of the righteous were invited into the sanctum -- the transcripts also show us the courageous of people who stood up for the Constitution and resisted the infectious crook and his party henchmen revealed here.

Ironically, Nixon was a man of many dark secrets, but the tapes he had installed behind his own burning chair, provide a record of his unguarded moments. This is unprecedented in history.

Having read the stenographic recordings of Hitler's negotiations and phone calls, and having worked with Nixon's attorney in Newport Beach, the record of Nixon's daily business has a personal dimension for me.

Nixon acknowledges "we are the party of the rich and the fact that the prices are high" [136, "our businessmen" 137]. Every day he and the staff devote themselves to cynical plays, often snickering and boasting of "fucking" the Democrats and the public.

We knew then, in the early 1970s, that our political institutions were riddled with corruption. Here, the irrefragable proof. Sadly, even Gerald Ford, the pre-arranged successor to Nixon, is complicit in at least four conspiracies alluded to by the staff and Nixon himself. [22, 150 ff, 243, 285, 552 ff, 582, 638].

Will we ever be able to forgive ourselves for failing to clean up the house he turned into a latrine? The biggest criminal investigation in the country was stalled by his Party allies for years, and only after being finally abandoned by the entire Republican caucus in August 1974 did Nixon himself choose resignation over impeachment.

Will we forgive our generation for permitting the present generation to forget?
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