By Gene Weingarten
Just What Was He Smoking?
Washington Post Staff Writer
Now that the latest tapes from the Nixon White House have been released, the press is all over them with characteristic glee, eager as always to remind us that not long ago the leader of the free world was buggier than a flophouse blanket. Don't you get tired of this?
Me neither. So when researcher Doug McVay from Common Sense for Drug Policy sent me tapes he culled from Nixon's Oval Office rants about drugs, I pounced on them. I figured it would be a welcome respite from Nixon's recent rants about Jews.
From the Weed Screed, May 26, 1971:
"You know, it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists."
In my professional capacity, I diagnose a delusional state of mind. It's simple logic: In a previously released rant, Nixon and Billy Graham gnash and froth over how Jews control the media. How can most Jews be psychiatrists and still control the media? Nixon does not explain.
But he does explain many other things in these drug tapes, including the insidious nexus between drugs, homosexuality, communism and, of course, Jews.
The excerpts begin with the Nixon doctrine on why marijuana is much worse than alcohol: It is because people drink "to have fun" but they smoke marijuana "to get high." This distinction was evidently enormously significant to Nixon, because he repeats it twice.
In an excruciating sequence from Sept. 9, 1971, Nixon is meeting with former Pennsylvania governor Raymond P. Shafer. Shafer heads a presidential commission on drug policy that Nixon has heard might be flirting with the notion of recommending the decriminalization of marijuana.
"You're enough of a pro," Nixon tells Shafer, "to know that for you to come out with something that would run counter to what the Congress feels and what the country feels, and what we're planning to do, would make your commission just look bad as hell."
Shafer begins to stammer. Nixon appears to be telling his commission, in advance, what to conclude.
If there is any doubt about this, Nixon erases it instantly. He instructs Shafer not to seek input from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, which he seems to think is soft on drugs, apparently because it is filled with, you know, psychiatrists:
"As an old prosecutor, I don't mind somebody putting it in J. Edgar Hoover's hands, but I come down very hard on the side of putting it in, uh, hardheaded doctors, rather than a bunch of muddle-headed psychiatrists."
Shafer can barely get a word in edgewise.
"They're all muddle-headed," Nixon says. "You know what I mean?"
The governor's discomfort is palpable. You can almost hear him hooking a finger in his collar.
Nixon continues, making things perfectly clear: "But anyway, the thing to do now is to alert the country to the problem and say now, this far, no farther, and I think that's what you want to do, take a strong line."
Suddenly, people start getting up. The meeting is over. Before Shafer knows what hits him, the president is pushing him out the door, with a gift of golf balls and cuff links.
Eventually, Shafer's commission would recommend decriminalization. The Nixon White House was appalled, understandably: Nixon saw drugs as a threat to the vitals of the republic -- right up there, hand in hand, with the scourge of homosexuality.
Nixon expounds on this in a lengthy monologue on May 13, 1971. On this day, he makes it clear that he does not like gay people. Northern California, he says, has gotten so "faggy" that "I won't shake hands with anybody from San Francisco."
Nixon loves this subject. He is nearly unstoppable on it. His top aides H.R. "Bob" Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are in the room, but they barely speak beyond monosyllabic sycophancies. It takes the president a while to get to the point, which begins with his review of a popular TV sitcom he has just watched, apparently for the first time:
"Archie is sitting here with his hippie son-in-law, married to the screwball daughter. . . . The son-in-law apparently goes both ways."
Nixon seems to have concluded, against all evidence, that Meathead is bisexual. Possibly it is the length of his hair. Another character in the show, Nixon reports, is "obviously queer. He wears an ascot, and so forth."
The president is outraged that this filth should appear on TV: "The point that I make is that, goddamn it, I do not think that you glorify on public television homosexuality. You don't glorify it, John, anymore than you glorify, uh, whores."
The president asserts that America is in jeopardy from this Archie Bunker gay thing:
"I don't want to see this country to go that way. You know what happened to the Greeks. Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was a homo, we all know that, so was Socrates." Ehrlichman interrupts to reassure his boss. Socrates, he says, "never had the influence that television had." Precisely, precisely. Nixon is on a roll, lecturing like a history professor:
"Do you know what happened to the Romans? The last six Roman emperors were fags. . . . You know what happened to the popes? It's all right that popes were laying the nuns."
Someone laughs nervously. Nixon bulls on, not a hint of humor in his voice.
"That's been going on for years, centuries, but when the popes, when the Catholic Church went to hell in, I don't know, three or four centuries ago, it was homosexual. . . . Now, that's what happened to Britain, it happened earlier to France. And let's look at the strong societies. The Russians. Goddamn it, they root them out, they don't let 'em hang around at all. You know what I mean? I don't know what they do with them."
"Dope? Do you think the Russians allow dope? Hell no. Not if they can catch it, they send them up. You see, homosexuality, dope, uh, immorality in general: These are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the Communists and the left-wingers are pushing it. They're trying to destroy us."
Well, that was 31 years ago, and I am happy to report that the Jew-homo-doper-Commie-shrink-lefty-pope cabal has not, to date, destroyed us. Nixon seems to have been wrong on this one.
Of course, it's not the first time he was wrong. Yes, he was a crook. No, it wasn't a third-rate burglary. And yes -- we do still have Dick Nixon to kick around. Apparently, thanks to his tapes, forever and ever and ever.
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