Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Nixon On the Couch

An article by the late Charles Krauthammer from 1999 about ethnic slurs in public and private. From The Washington Post:
As Bob Woodward likes to say, he is the gift that keeps on giving. Richard Nixon, that is. And an endless source of amusement he is. We have all been having a great chuckle listening to Nixon again. More tapes, more titillation, most notably his ranting and raving about Jews. ("Generally speaking, you can't trust the bastards," etc.)

As a Jew, I have been asked several times about these revelations. I am entirely unmoved. First, I wonder how anyone would fare who had an open microphone in his office for 3,700 hours running. Second, Nixon was suspicious and paranoid about everyone. So what else is new?

Third and most important: I don't really care what a public figure thinks. I care about what he does. Let God probe his inner heart. Tell me about his outer acts. And what were Nixon's outer acts vis-a-vis Jews? Well, in 1973, he saved Israel from possible destruction with his massive weapons airlift during the Yom Kippur War. He even put the U.S. military on worldwide alert to keep the Russians from intervening on Egypt's behalf.

I feel about Nixon the way I feel reading about Truman's occasional ethnic lapses. "In private, Truman was a man who still . . . could use a word like 'kike,' " writes David McCullough, "or, in a letter to his wife, dismiss Miami as nothing but 'hotels, filling stations, Hebrews, and cabins.' " So what? Truman remains a hero to Jews for having recognized the State of Israel at the crucial moment of its birth in 1948. (Read more.)

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