Yes, we built it; can we repair it? Pt. 14

Perlstein wrote about Nixon’s book Six Crises, as well.  Nixon wrote about his role in the Alger Hiss case and the aftermath.

For the next twelve years of my public service in Washington, I was to be subjected to an utterly unprincipled and vicious smear campaign. Bigamy, forgery, drunkenness, thievery, anti-Semitism, perjury, the whole gamut of misconduct in public office, ranging from unethical to downright criminal activities—all these were among the charges that were hurled against me, some publicly and others through whispering campaigns that were even more difficult to counteract.


Bigamy, if you’re like me and didn’t know what that was, is when you marry someone else while you’re legally married to someone else.  Of course, Nixon didn’t offer any proof of these claims.  He threw them out there because to be the Nixonian victim was the ultimate victory.  If called on it, he may have merely claimed that he was speaking metaphorically.

The Nixonian victim is easy to frame.  The Nixonian victim is often replicated by Republican politicians.  The idea is to go on the attack against someone for a minor issue and maybe even say something that is slightly incorrect.  When called out upon this attack, pivot and make either a moralistic claim about the attack or defend yourself with either something that may be construed as something that is almost correct (at least to the point where you can point out that it’s technically correct), claim that you were misquoted, or a victim of the media attacking you.

The best example of being a Nixonian victim is Ted Cruz in a recent presidential debate:

Mitt Romney tried to set up the Nixonian victim attack against Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential debate