Saturday, July 07, 2007
That's not me speaking. That's Richard Nixon's zombie corpse haunting us with words of wisdom from the grave.
Nixon was disappointed with the selection of Thompson, whom he called "dumb as hell." The president did not think Thompson was skilled enough to interrogate unfriendly witnesses and would be outsmarted by the committee's Democratic counsel.
This assessment comes from audio tapes of White House conversations recently reviewed by The Associated Press at the National Archives in College Park, Md., and transcripts of those discussions that are published in "Abuse of Power: The New
Watergate Tapes," by historian StanleyKutler.
"Oh s---, that kid," Nixon said when told by his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, of Thompson's appointment on Feb. 22, 1973.
"Well, we're stuck with him," Haldeman said.
Nixon may have been evil, but his intellect was never questioned. Maybe
Thompson has gained some IQ points from all of his lobbying and acting work, but I doubt it. Nixon was worried that John Dean wouldn't get a good grilling from Thompson because he was too stupid to do the job properly.
We also learned this week that Thompson's leaks to Nixon included a heads up on the taping system about to be revealed by the Senate Watergate Committee. Perhaps the Rosemary Woods and the eighteen and a half minute (very cut) gap in the tapes could get a fresh looksie in light of this news.
Nixon did think that Thompson was "friendly". So, it's not all bad news. The
problem is that it sounds like Dick Nixon was describing Checkers instead of a man to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate.