THE BLOG
07/17/2007 01:44 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Nixon: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Slate's Bonnie Goldstein describes this just-released 1970 memo, in which Richard Nixon grouses to chief of staff H.R. "Bob" Haldeman about his image, as the "Best-Ever Nixon Document." That may even be true, although I'd hate to have to choose. A couple of quick bullet points about the memo:

Of the many flawed initiatives and poor choices that marked the Nixon years, anointing H.R. "Bob" Haldeman as charm czar would have to be in the Top 5.

Nixon was so repulsed by the concept of charm, especially as embodied by JFK, that he felt compelled to enclose the word in quotes, as if in a Hazmat suit.

Nixon (or "RN," as he referred to himself) seemed to feel about what he called "the warmth deal" as most people do about Calculus -- that it's something which is generally good to have a passing acquaintance with, but not something you ever really need.

Nixon apparently used the phrases "nicey-nice" and "boo-boos." This is worth the price of admission, historiographically speaking.

Every Nixon memo is funnier if one imagines it read aloud by Dan Aykroyd doing his RN impression. (Go ahead, try it now. I'll wait.)