Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14, 1971

President Nixon: What about the rich Jews?
Haldeman: Well, that's --
President Nixon: You see, IRS is full of Jews, Bob.

We're in the Oval Office, and Nixon is continuing his rant from the previous day. It's just the president and his Chief of Staff in this conversation.

Ready? Continuing:

Haldeman: Right.
President Nixon: That's what I think. I think that's the reason they're after Graham, is the rich Jews.
Haldeman: Well, the point that they took is that they've got to get the kind of guy -- we're not just interested -- we don't want to see the files.
President Nixon: We're trying to get anything on them.
Haldeman: But what we want to do is get a zealot who dislikes those people just as much as the zealot who dislikes Billy Graham...

Now, Chuck Colson joins the meeting

Colson: Well, Bob Brown has some friends who are going to have signs around the Muskie rallies, [Cleveland (black) Mayor Carl] Stokes for vice president. This raises the point [...]
Haldeman: In fact, [Pat] Buchanan has come in with a suggestion that may make a lot of sense which is that -- he says if we're going to spend $50 million in this campaign, then 10 percent of it, $5 million ought to be devoted --
President Nixon: To the fourth party.
Haldeman: -- to financing a black --
Colson: Shirley Chisholm and Julian Bond.
President Nixon: Do you think that the blacks will vote for a black party?
Haldeman: Some.
Colson: A lot of them will especially if --
Haldeman: Just to show the the Democratic party has no one...But Pat's point is we've got to get a viable candidate -- only if they get a viable candidate. If they got a Julian Bond --
President Nixon: Well, let me suggest this. Might -- $5 million would finance Eugene McCarthy. [...]
President Nixon: All right, Bob. Put that down for discussion -- not for discussion but for action. They should finance and contribute both to McCarthy and to the black thing.


A few quick notes.

For whatever reason, during this era what we refer to as "third parties" were invariably referred to as "fourth parties." I don't know exactly when it started or ended, but certainly by 1980 John Anderson was back to being a third party candidate. Of course, George Wallace had run a major campaign in 1968.

$50M in 1971 is somewhere north of $250M today.

Good to see that Pat Buchanan was earning his pay at the WH.

One of the interesting things in the tapes is how Nixon really does have, I don't know, maybe bemused contempt for conservative true believers. He certainly finds them useful, but otherwise he clearly has very little respect for the "zealots."

1 comment:

  1. My favorite nixon story:

    Right before the 1972, NH Primary, he made GOTV calls at 3 AM for "Homosexuals for Muskie". Hilarious. Much more fun than ordering pizza for your opponents HQ.


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