Nixon, Volume 3: Ruin & Recovery 1973 - 1990
Stephen E. Ambrose
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In Nixon: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990, Stephen E. Ambrose completes his acclaimed biography of the man many historians call the most fascinating politician in American history: Richard Milhous Nixon.
Rarely before on the stage of global politics has one man, respected and reviled, blessed and cursed, held us in such rapt attention. Using Nixon’s own words, private writings, and tape-recorded conversations, Ambrose captures the man and all his contradictions as he faces the ordeal of Watergate and its aftermath, the long road back to public life.
Watergate is a drama with high stakes and low skullduggery, of lies and bribes, of greed and lust for power.
At its center is the obsession of the country and much of the world with President Richard Nixon himself. It is a remarkable play of foolhardy heroism as Nixon risked everything trying to maintain dignity and his job, when he alone had the power to determine the outcome of the scandal, whether by resigning,...
controlled Congress, more because the public had an affection, even a love for them. (Truman and Johnson had lost that sentiment in their last years in office, which was one reason why neither one stood for re-election.) For Nixon, it was the case that while many people admired him, few loved him. In this, he was the opposite of one of his GOP successors, Ronald Reagan. Nixon’s inability to bring enough Republican congressional candidates along on his coattails, coupled with his inability to
think of some way to deal with the situation. “Let King lick it off,” one of his aides suggested. Nixon sat in his chair, stuck out his arm, and King happily licked him clean.5 John Connally called, to wish him a happy birthday, but the sentiment was marred by the gossip Connally passed along. He had just been in Washington, he said, where he learned of a group of Republicans from the West (he called them the “Arizona Mafia”) that was plotting to force Nixon to resign. “Some of them are men you
summit in June, while Senator Jacob Javits charged that Nixon was trying to appease the conservatives in an attempt “to please a given number of senators: 33 plus one.” Javits said it was “tragic” that Nixon was playing “impeachment politics.”75 The leaks continued to erode his defenses. One was that at least ten of the forty-two tapes sought by Jaworski did not exist. Another anticipated Nixon’s nomination of Leonard Firestone as Ambassador to Belgium. The press reported that Firestone had
these people who had worked so hard for me and who I had let down so badly.”44 But they were not in fact his audience, and he did not speak to them. He turned his full attention to the camera. He began by saying the event was spontaneous, although he realized the press would report that it had been arranged. “We don’t mind” what the press would say, he went on, “because they have to call it as they see it. But on our part, believe me, it is spontaneous.” He repeated the lines he had used
“false and scurrilous and malicious” charges that he accepted bribes as Governor of Maryland. It was August 8, 1973. Nixon, Pat, and Rebozo share a happy moment in a golf cart at La Casa Pacifica, August 20, 1973. Dan Rather of CBS-TV asks Nixon a hostile question, September 5, 1973. They often clashed at these news conferences, each playing to his own audience. Press Secretary Ron Ziegler assures doubting reporters that all is well on October 10, 1973, the day Vice President Agnew resigned.