Sunday, July 23, 2006

revealing leaders, one blooper at a time

If you're wondering why the nation and the world seem so fascinated with playing and replaying Internet-spread video of President Bush (or any world leader) getting caught with a slip of the lip, wonder no more. In today's New York Times Week in Review, Jim Rutenberg here notes how times have changed for modern U.S. presidents, thanks to President Nixon:
Nixon famously and reluctantly provided 2,700 hours of tape from his inner sanctum, along with tens of thousands of pages of transcripts of conversations, which combined to blow any vestige of a strait-laced facade off his White House--and hastened the march toward impeachment. After Nixon, though, presidents tended to keep the candor well guarded, and so to the blooper bin we go for insight.

It is deep.
Rutenberg also notes that the Nixon tapes and the resultant damage "pretty much ensured that no president would again make the mistake of keeping vast archives of recordings. White Houses are better than ever at hiding the true humanity of presidents, so historians are glad to have the bloopers." Not to mention the joke-passers of the Web...

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