NIXON IN THE DEN, BBC4.
No short-haired, yellow-bellied son of Tricky Dicky gonna Mother Hubbard soft-soap me with just a pocketful of hope, money for dope, money for rope. John Winston Lennon. From a popular 'seventies ballad of political intrigue.
Even those familiar with the rise and fall of Tricky Dicky will benefit from this succinct and cogent analysis of his melodramatic and unhappy presidency.
Written and presented by Cambridge don and would-be luvvy, David Reynolds, it veers constantly towards the arch and histrionic but manages to maintain course.
Despite his humble origins, Nixon was always a horrible bastard, conniving and ambitious in the worst way, he made his name persecuting liberals in the McCarthy Witchhunts which so dignified post-war American public discourse, was fucked-over by rich, spoiled, pretty boy, Kennedy, in the 1960 presidential election, returning, triumphant, in 1968.
On the world stage he garnered probably justified praise for his visit to the Chink Empire, now, ironically, Uncle Sam's lender of last resort, won a second term, despite the opposition of hippy and yippy and trippy youth, inelegantly extracted US WarCorp from Indo China and presided over an economy unremarkable by our fevered standards. But his paranoid, bullying, backstabbing dishonesty eventually did for him and despite having thrown all his aides to the wolves, despite all his Right Thing For The Country equivocation, he had to go, leaving the White House in one of those Marine Corp helicopters they used to throw VietCong suspects from, Nixon cut a shabby figure, pissed and unrepentant.
His presidency had a strange quirky parallel with the premiership of our own, unlamented Tony Blair, peacemaker emeritus, in that as Blair was upstaged by a brooding and unpleasant Gordon Brown, Nixon was outmanouvred-for-glory by the stunted, grunting piggy, Henry Kissinger, later Thatcher acolyte and confidante and go-fer of Lord Conrad Black, now of Florida State Prison, then proprietor of the Daily Filth-O-Graph; a horrid little turd, Kissinger but typical of the lowlifes with whom poor, barmy Nixon surrounded himself.
I don't know that Nixon was much worse than any of his successors, although I have a soft spot for Jimmy Carter. In many ways he was probably better than most of them, the odious Clintons, the race-card poseur, Obama, the bought and paid for Reagan and his mad witch, Nancy, and the unspeakable Bushes. Jesus, what a crew of grotesques. But Nixon got caught. This brief story of how and why he got caught is well worth looking-out for. On the various BBC platforms. Or is it portals?