Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time : Countdown from No. 25 To No. 1

By Kerwin C. Swint | Go to book overview

10
RICHARD NIXON VERSUS THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA

Richard Nixon v. George McGovern, President, 1972

No look at dirty politics would be complete without some words about Nixon's near-total destruction of the Democratic Party in 1972. Ostensibly, the campaign was about the Republican nominee Nixon and the Democratic nominee George McGovern, but it was much bigger than that. Nixon's campaign was waged against the entire Democratic Party and, ultimately, against the rule of law.

President Nixon's campaign committee, the Committee to Reelect the President (CRP, or CREEP as it was known), actively coordinated with White House staff to weaken Democratic candidates for president throughout 1971 and 1972. This was accomplished through espionage, wiretapping, blackmail, forged documents, financial payoffs, burglary, cover-ups, and purgery, all sanctioned by the highest authorities in the land—the president, his senior staff, and the attorney general's office.

As a campaign strategy, it was incredibly effective-—that is, until everyone involved went to jail or resigned from office. What Watergate came to symbolize was an organized conspiracy from the highest office in the world to subvert the democratic process and evade any form of accountability. The general election campaign between Nixon and McGovern was just one act in this ongoing tragedy. Shakespeare would probably blush.

The feeling among Nixon and his confidants was that they had already had one election stolen from them (1960) and that his amazing political comeback in the late 1960s was endangered by Vietnam, civil rights, and economic uncertainties. They would have to take matters into their own

-133-

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Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time : Countdown from No. 25 To No. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue xiii
  • 25- From Vietnam to Iraq 1
  • 24- It''s a Jungle out There 11
  • 23- Senator Pothole versus "Putzhead" 23
  • 22- Electronic Mudslinging 31
  • 21- The Art of War 39
  • 20- Homo Sapiens, Thespians, and Extroverts 47
  • 19- Vote for the Crook—it''s Important 55
  • 18- Who''s the Boss? Richard Daley and the Chicago Political Machine 63
  • 17- Polluting the Garden State 71
  • 16- God Save the Republic, Please 79
  • 15- Rudy and the Jets 87
  • 14- A Jersey Street Fight 95
  • 13- In This Corner, Little Lord Fauntleroy 103
  • 12- Sex, Lies, and Videotape 113
  • 11- Claytie versus the Lady 123
  • 10- Richard Nixon versus the United States of America 133
  • 9- "Bye-Bye Blackbird" 143
  • 8- America, Meet Willie Horton 153
  • 7- Tricky Dick versus the Pink Lady 163
  • 6- Grantism and Mr. Greeley 173
  • 5- The First Campaign 183
  • 4- A House Divided 193
  • 3- Mud, Mugwumps, and Motherhood 203
  • 2- The Dirtiest Campaign in American History? 213
  • 1- George Wallace and the "Negro Bloc Vote" 223
  • Epilogue 233
  • Notes 237
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 251
  • About the Author 255
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