Nixonland Gets 'Excellent' Prez Utterly Wrong

Conrad Black, author of rival bio, scorns hit job, recites strong points
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2008 4:46 PM CDT
Republican candidate Richard Nixon campaigns for the presidency in Iowa in 1968.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – The biography Nixonland is a hatchet job on an “excellent president,” media mogul Conrad Black (from behind bars) writes in the New York Sun, picking apart author Rick Perlstein’s slights—and reminding of the profound accomplishments of the 37th president. Beyond crediting Nixon with coarsening the political discourse permanently, Perlstein revels in his “manic, corrupt, rat cunning,” plus, Black notes, “cynicism, opportunism and chicanery.”

The truth, according to Nixon biographer (and mail-fraud convict) Black? He brought Republicanism out of a ditch, disposed of Joe McCarthy, “stopped the assassinations, race riots, anti-war riots, skyjackings, inflation … opened relations with China … pioneered welfare reform,” to name a few. Perlstein might portray Nixon “as a mutant” with “cloven feet,” but he was in reality a “capable and considerable president.”