The Flame Yet Burns

nixon-watergate-exhibit.jpgNixon Foundation Executive Director John H. Taylor continues to lash out in exile, now that the Nixon Museum is in federal hands.

He’s emitted another cry for help, a “Letter From Yorba Linda” titled “Don’t Mention Bella,” which explains that “It supercedes “Letter from Yorba Linda #63, entitled “Lies.”

Taylor begins by painting a sad portrait of a Nixon Museum in tatters. “Its Watergate exhibit is closed, the long, narrow hallway stripped to the bare walls as our new government director plans a strictly neutral alternative to the Nixon Library’s old exhibition on the epic scandal.”

Then the cryptic title is [sort of] explained. The document should be read in its entirety to capture the tone of barely contained rage.

Short version: historian who slammed the old exhibit tells Taylor, according to Taylor, that what he objected to especially was a claim that Bella Abzug* and other House members tried to block Gerald Ford’s confirmation as Vice President. The hope was that with Nixon’s looming impeachment they could leave the post vacant and the Democratic House Speaker would assume the Presidency. Taylor quotes others calling it a coup attempt and implies the demolished exhibit did as well.

Then he sort of defends the old Watergate hall, while implying he’s moved on, while ratting out other Presidential Libraries for their crimes of omission.

“Since President Nixon resigned before being impeached, it can be hard to argue, as the old gallery did, that his Watergate misdeeds were overblown and many of his opponents politically motivated. But as far as some scholars were concerned, it was a crime to try. They have graded other Presidential museums less strictly. The Bill Clinton museum reveals that his impeachment was a right-wing plot. The Lyndon Johnson museum opened in the early 1970s without much on Vietnam, and today the Ronald Reagan museum has little if anything on Iran-Contra. All three are operated with taxpayers’ funds. But don’t dare murmur “Bella Abzug” at the Nixon.”

*Youngsters may not recall, but Abzug in her day was sort of an all purpose boogywoman to the right – lefty, Jewish, New Yorkish, loud. She left Congress when she and Ramsey Clark split the left vote and let Daniel Patrick Moynihan win the 1976 Democratic primary for Senate. The moles at Wikipedia push the coup line too, quoting the same source as Taylor, who in turn attribute the coup line to “some historians.” Case Closed!nixon-letter-from-yorba-linda-abzug.jpg

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