Justin Jacoby Smith is an organizer, web geek, Buddhist, and poet.

Nixon's Brilliant Badness

Nixon's maneuver was really an incredible thing. He said he idolized Woodrow Wilson--who sought "progressive improvement in the conditions of their labor" and ways they might be "served better by the communities which their labor sustains and advances. But Nixon turned Wilson's thinking on its head. He wanted to make their economic interests secondary to their morality, their whiteness, their patriotism. Nixon laid the groundwork for the realignment of workers by aiming to convince them through cultural warfare to put everything *but* their material conditions first. He didn't do it, and certainly not alone. That took years, events he couldn't have predicted (including his own resignation) and a few other Presidents, but the weird political tragedy of Nixon is that he understood how the game needed to be changed in order to invent the political world we have today. He had insights that helped invent the Washington Consensus, the neoliberal status quo. I understand more now, I think, why he was so hated by the Left. The only models for Republicanism in my lifetime have been clowns like Bush or brittle robots like Romney. Nixon wasn't just bad, he was *brilliant* and bad. That's so much deeply worse.