How to Kill Nixonland, Part 2

In the comments for my most recent bout of Nixonland-inspired navel gazing, Jackson writes:

If you establish the inevitability of certain pendular rhythms in politics, or indeed anything in general, picking a point at which you could disrupt the cycle is fruitless. To argue that the last decade, or two, had to happen the way they did because of the events of forty years ago is to ignore the inevitability of Nixonland. After a large social upheaval, a fist cracks down, be it from the left or right. In America, it had to be from the right.

Granted; but Richard Nixon wasn’t just Generic Knuckle-Cracking Right-Winger, he was Richard Nixon. This gets back to what I said at the beginning of that post–Obama wasn’t an inevitable nominee for the Democrats, and rose to prominence running a very different game from his competitors in a period of post-Bush anarchy (sure, Bush is still in office, but I think it’s fair to say that the post-Bush political era began somewhere around the time his approval crashed past 30%). Similarly, Nixon made a remarkable comeback in the post-Johnson anarchy; and if his campaigning style wasn’t exactly unprecedented, it was still a lot more skillful and borderline manic when it came to image manipulation than anything that had come before.


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