The 1968 Exhibit: Richard Nixon at 100

Richard Nixon at 100

 

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Richard M. Nixon, arguably the single most important political figure of the year 1968.  "Covering 1968" has covered Nixon before, of course.  One of my favorite posts is this one, inspired by a glossy campaign "yearbook" from 1968, complete with casual photos of "RN" (as he invariably signed his name), including a shirtless one on a beach with his daughters when they were little. 

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But I just found this image by the inimitable David Levine, the savagely brilliant editorial cartoonist at the New York Review of Books.  It takes off on the famous moment in 1966 when then-President Lyndon Johnson, talking to reporters about his gall-bladder surgery, lifted his shirt to show his scar.  Levine's first cartoon depicted LBJ showing off a "scar" in the shape of Vietnam.  Then he re-visited the image in 1970, with one of his famously rumpled, glowering images of Nixon, revealing his "secret war" in Vietnam.

Happy birthday, Mr. President.

Check out this YouTube video of Nixon playing "Happy Birthday" on the piano at a White House party for Duke Ellington's 70th.