Nixon Foundation Kicks Around John Dean, Tim Naftali

Dean riles Nixonites, again and again.

The most interesting part of Melody Chiu's Register report on former Nixon White House counsel John Dean speaking at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Wednesday night was not the speech itself, but the private Richard Nixon Library N Birthplace Foundation's attempts to torpedo that and other “controversial” events presented by the National Archives. 

As Michael Mello revealed in an earlier Register piece, the foundation is pulling back $150,000 it had pledged for co-sponsorships at the Yorba Linda facility because the Nixonites do not like the direction events staged by the public National Archives have gone since it took over operations from the private foundation two years ago.

The National Archives, being an agency of a federal government that represents all Americans and not just die-hard supporters of a pathetic, disgraced, arguably criminal dead ex-president, has strived to present speakers who reflect the broad spectrum of public opinion, director Tim Naftali (who would not describe Nixon the way I just did) will tell you.

But there is no truth expect the pro-Nixon truth, according to the foundation. Check out what its assistant director told Mello about Dean, who camed to Yorba Linda to promote his book Blind Ambition.



“He's disgraced and has been disbarred,” Sandy Quinn, mirroring the reasoning of many Nixonites who claim Dean was the real White House criminal mastermind, reportedly says. “He's so controversial … and [Blind Ambition] is not a new book. It's 33 years old. It would have been more serving and non-partisan it would [have been] point-counterpoint.”

Quinn also said Naftali should have consulted with the foundation before booking Dean.

The only part of her complaint that sounds like it has merit–and fuel for speculation that Naftali is going out of his way to stick it to Nixon lovers–is the part about the advanced age of Dean's tome. But Dean just updated the book. Why? Because of all the Nixon revisionism that has spread in recent years, particularly from the Nixon library when it was run by the foundation (which Dean had dutifully pounded in public appearances).

Views of what happened at Watergate–the defining event of the Nixon presidency (I know, Commie talk)–by people who were not there have been in the news recently thanks to controversy over what is and is not on those infamous Nixon tapes, which keep getting released thanks to Naftali and his crew. So along comes someone who was there to add some context, and that's inappropriate, according to the foundation. Heck, it sounds like exactly the kind of thing a presidential educational center should be presenting about its titular subject.

As for Dean being controversial, is he more controversial than Ann Coulter, who the foundation hosted at the Nixon library during Naftali's tenure? Is the foundation's idea of point-counterpoint hosting Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager at the same event, as it did during Naftali's tenure? Does the foundation, whose office is still down the hall from Naftali's, consult the director before it books, say, Bill O'Reilly, as it did during Naftali's tenure?

Dean puts it best in the Chiu piece.

“The controversy about me coming here is petty,” Dean said prior to the event. “I don't see what the benefit is. The foundation is reviving the dark side of Richard Nixon.”

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