July 9, 2015

On the Hillary interview, James Taranto highlights a "nonsensical" remark about immigration and quotes something I said about Richard Nixon.

In yesterday's Best of the Web, Taranto analyzes Hillary Clinton’s CNN interview and says a lot of interesting things, including:
Keilar asked a specific question about immigration policy and got a nonsensical reply....
Mrs. Clinton: ...The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported.... This man had already been deported five times. And he should have been deported at the request of the federal government.
Cities, of course, cannot deport aliens; that is exclusively a federal responsibility. Sanctuary cities are those that, by policy or practice, refuse to cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws—for instance by forbidding police officers from inquiring about criminal suspects’ immigration status. It’s unclear if Mrs. Clinton is herself confused about all this or is cynically speaking in gibberish so as to confuse the voters.
Somebody really ought to try to pin down Mrs. Clinton about her opinion of sanctuary cities. It's not just an oddball San Francisco thing. There are many sanctuary cities, and I think it has to do with some serious policing issues that you shouldn't just mouth off about.

And I'd like to see some connection to an issue that figured large in the 2012 presidential election: Arizona's heightened get-people-deported policy. (You may remember that the Obama administration fought this to the Supreme Court and won.) At the time, I asked "What's the best position for a 2012 candidate to take on the Arizona approach to immigration enforcement?" In that post, I reminded people that back in 2008, it was an immigration issue that shifted the primary race toward Barack Obama: Hillary came out in favor of states giving driver's licenses to undocumented aliens.

Anyway, back to Taranto. He ends with:
Even when dealing with...  fluff, Mrs. Clinton was laughably noncommittal: “It may be more appropriate to look at the $20 than the $10. I don’t know. We’ll see.” As for SNL: “I think I’m the best Hillary Clinton, to be honest. So I’m just going to be my own little self and kind of keep going along and saying what I believe in and putting forth changes that I think would be good for the country.”

In response to which blogress Ann Althouse quips:
Be my own little self . . . Is that something her people say behind the scenes, something like “Let Nixon be Nixon”? But Nixon never said: “I’m just going to let Nixon be Nixon.”
Never mind that, try to imagine Nixon saying “I’m just going to be my own little self.”
I'd have trouble imagining Hillary doing a little-me routine if I hadn't heard it.

Anyway, I'm not sure the phrase "Let Nixon be Nixon" is sufficiently embedded in the public mind for my use of it to be understood. It doesn't google well (like, say "I am not a crook").  I believe it's what Nixon's people said to each other as they worked on how he could present himself in the 1968 election. He had an awkward, weird quality that could not be expunged and that would only get worse if he paid attention to it. I remember that problem and non-solution from the book "The Selling of the President," but I can't find "Let Nixon be Nixon" in a search of the book. And Meade is telling me the phrase is "Let Reagan be Reagan." The phrase "Let Reagan be Reagan" does google well. (For example there's a 1987 NYT column that begins "'Let Reagan Be Reagan' has long been the cry of the President's conservative supporters.") My confidence fades, but I feel that "Let Reagan be Reagan," like many other let-X-be-X phrases was built on the original, which was "Let Nixon be Nixon."

72 comments:

MayBee said...

What have Obama and Clinton done about illegal immigration, but winge?

MayBee said...

One of the other commenters brought up sanctuary cities when we were talking about cities/clerks who don't want to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Two sides of the same coin, no?

Scott said...

The Taranto column is behind a paywall. SMH

MayBee said...

Finally, as my little self spams this thread--are there really 34 million (or even 11 million) illegal immigrants in this country right now? Isn't that completely unacceptable to everybody?
Is the number being inflated to 34 million so it looks so large we have no choice but to create a path to citizenship for them?

It's a huge failure on someone's part, isn't it?

sean said...

I'm almost as old as Prof. Althouse (I was born in 1958), and I'm with Meade. I don't remember "Let Nixon be Nixon," just "Let Reagan be Reagan."

Gahrie said...

Isn't "let X be X" basic computer code?

Ann Althouse said...

"The Taranto column is behind a paywall."

Yes, I know, and the solution is to google some of the text and get your own link, which will work. I sometimes put that advice in the post, but I'd rather not always have to do it. That's the work-around for the Wall Street Journal.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm almost as old as Prof. Althouse (I was born in 1958)..."

You were 10 in 1968. I was 17. That could make a difference. You should remember the '68 election more like I remember the '60 election. That's a pretty big difference, if my (possibly bad) memory serves me well enough.

But I feel I remember it from reading about the election later, primarily from the Joe McGinniss book. I bought the Kindle version mainly to do a search and couldn't find it.

tim in vermont said...

I remember "Let Nixon be Nixon" for what it's worth. Though I don't know where it came from.

As far as the Clinton quote about sanctuary cities, if you give her the benefit that it is a thoughtful response, then she is trying to stay firmly on both sides of the issue.

She is for sanctuary cites! Let there be no doubt! But she is against the bad outcomes of that policy too! Let her be perfectly clear!

Ann Althouse said...

"I remember "Let Nixon be Nixon" for what it's worth. Though I don't know where it came from."

Thank you!!!

Ann Althouse said...

My "Let Nixon be Nixon" made it through whatever filters they have at the Wall Street Journal...

Tank said...

Ann Althouse said...

"The Taranto column is behind a paywall."

Yes, I know, and the solution is to google some of the text and get your own link, which will work. I sometimes put that advice in the post, but I'd rather not always have to do it. That's the work-around for the Wall Street Journal.


Even though many people already know how, is it ethical to give this advice (how to avoid paying for something the WSJ is charging for)? Is this the same as, or different from, illegally downloading (stealing) music and videos?

Mattman26 said...

I thought it was "Let Nixon go to China." (Kidding. Sort of.)

Hagar said...

"Illegal immigrants" is a contradiction in terms. "Immigrant" implies legality. The correct term is "illegal alien," since aliens can be here (or in whatever country) either legally or illegally.

Roy Jacobsen said...

While campaigning, Monica's boyfriend's wife's favorite color is plaid.

#whyisthiswomannotinprison

MadisonMan said...

Even though many people already know how, is it ethical to give this advice (how to avoid paying for something the WSJ is charging for)? Is this the same as, or different from, illegally downloading (stealing) music and videos?

It would not be hard for the WSJ to disallow this.

I routinely clear out my history so my cookies are gone, and that allows me access to many websites that give you x number of visits before the paywall goes up.

rhhardin said...

In "Let Nixon be Nixon" the second Nixon is narrower and the first broader.

I'll be my own little self doesn't have that difference. "I" is not a reference like a name.

jr565 said...

If any conservative cities refuse to enforce the courts rulings on gay marriage and liberals have a problem with it, the conservatives should ask them about sanctuary cities. Do liberals have problems with those cities that don't abide by federal law? What should happen to them?
flip the narrative and make them live up to their own rules.

Even better, say they WILL abide by the law even though they don't agree with the ruling. UNlike these democrats who refuse to abide by the law when it comes to our immigration policy.

Bob Ellison said...

I used to read Taranto. He was an important pundit before Murdoch put him behind a paywall.

phantommut said...

Hillary is so tightly packaged that if she ever comes the tiniest bit unglued the resulting decompression will be absolutely spectacular.

Tank said...

@MM

Thank you for another lesson in how to steal stuff LOL.

rhhardin said...

You can get Taranto by subscribing to the free best of the web emailed, which gives you enough of it to quote and google for the entire article.

Mostly I don't bother. He has more columns than ideas.

Also he doesn't ever understand that literatlly can be used figuratively.

Ann Althouse said...

"Even though many people already know how, is it ethical to give this advice (how to avoid paying for something the WSJ is charging for)?"

I think it's ethical because I think it's true that the WSJ intends to leave that door open for that form of access. It's part of the overall plan in setting up the wall. The NYT has a wall that you can get through with a normal link. If the WSJ had that, I'd be a subscriber (as I am with the NYT) so I could get links for you that would work. But that's not the form of access the WSJ has chosen.

rhhardin said...

They allow googled references because they need new subscribers. If nobody can read it but subscribers, you don't get new ones.

It's like Derbyshire's radio derb now being behind a paywall. They make the first one of each month available to all so people can find out that it's good.

Michael McNeil said...

“Illegal immigrants” is a contradiction in terms. “Immigrant” implies legality.

No it isn't, and no it doesn't. “Immigrant” comes from the Latin immigrāns which simply means “to move into,” and the modern meaning (in English) contains no greater hint of somehow implying or requiring “legality.” (Source: dictionary.com)

Christopher said...

Even though many people already know how, is it ethical to give this advice (how to avoid paying for something the WSJ is charging for)? Is this the same as, or different from, illegally downloading (stealing) music and videos?

It is different than stealing content. The WSJ deliberately has a leaky paywall strategy; they could shut that down anytime they want. They want the revenue they can get from paying subscribers and the wider buzz that comes from sharing everthing. The leaky paywall is the middle ground they choose. Not enough people bother to jump through the hoops to impair the paying subscriber base--so far!

Oh and FWIW I'm 59 and I totally remember Let Nixon Be Nixon. And McGovern saying he was behind Eagleton "1000%." And a great many other things that were the social coin of the realm and are now WTF (as indeed, someday, WTF will be).

Peter said...

The implicit comparison "Hillary = Nixon" seems apt, as both are profoundly ugly people, ugly in that essential deep-down way that no amount of cosmetics could ever conceal.

Tank said...

hhardin said...

They allow googled references because they need new subscribers. If nobody can read it but subscribers, you don't get new ones.

It's like Derbyshire's radio derb now being behind a paywall. They make the first one of each month available to all so people can find out that it's good.


Actually, I think it's all free a couple of days later at his site.

sparrow said...

Let X be X was a Reagan era song by Laurie Anderson

MadisonMan said...

Thank you for another lesson in how to steal stuff LOL.

Dr. Who #12 always advises to clear your internet history.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, I'm older than you and as draft bait in 1968 I paid very close attention to the election. I have no recollection whatsoever of "let Nixon by Nixon." As a county vice chairman for the Reagan-Bush reelection committee I know exactly what was meant by "let Reagan be Reagan." There was a big push by Republican moderates to have Reagan speak and act less conservative lest the election be Goldwater all over again, and the response to them was "let Reagan be Reagan." And that turned out to be the right response as not only did Carter get (deservedly) whipped in 1980, but Walter Mondale had to campaign hard in his home state of Minnesota in the final week of the 1984 campaign to avoid a fifty state sweep.

@Christopher, you are simply wrong. Moreover the proof that Dick Nixon was not a sound brand (as we'd say today) is that his campaign team in 1972 was not called the "Nixon for President" campaign but the "Committee to Reelect the President." In other words, he didn't run as Dick Nixon or even President Nixon; he ran as "the President."

rhhardin said...

It's like Derbyshire's radio derb now being behind a paywall. They make the first one of each month available to all so people can find out that it's good.

Actually, I think it's all free a couple of days later at his site.


There's sort of a commenter silent agreement over there not to mention it.

Tank said...

@rhhardin

When they changed the policy they POSTED an announcement about it.

Ann Althouse said...

I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would’ve stayed home
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone
That man whom with his fingers cheats
And who lies with ev’ry breath
Who passionately hates his life
And likewise, fears his death

I pity the poor immigrant
Whose strength is spent in vain
Whose heaven is like Ironsides
Whose tears are like rain
Who eats but is not satisfied
Who hears but does not see
Who falls in love with wealth itself
And turns his back on me

I pity the poor immigrant
Who tramples through the mud
Who fills his mouth with laughing
And who builds his town with blood
Whose visions in the final end
Must shatter like the glass
I pity the poor immigrant
When his gladness comes to pass


(Bob Dylan)

Meade said...

Ron Reagan before Reagan rons you.

Ann Althouse said...

Da doo ron ron.

Ann Althouse said...

"That man whom with his fingers cheats" is a grammatical error, perhaps brought on by the proximity of the preposition "with" and similarity to the instinctive "with whom."

SeanF said...

The Washington Post used "Let Nixon be Nixon" in 1984, but doesn't seem to give a historical reference to it.

Ed Goldman, at the Sacramento Business Journal, wrote a column just a couple months ago in which he says he remembers it from the 1968 campaign.

And Ann's used it at least twice before on this blog, most recently in 2007 about Hillary, coincidentally enough, and as far back as 2004 about Kerry.

Carter Wood said...

I've always said, "Let Marni Nixon be Nixon." Instead of, say, Natalie Wood.

tim maguire said...

Tank said...Even though many people already know how, is it ethical to give this advice (how to avoid paying for something the WSJ is charging for)? Is this the same as, or different from, illegally downloading (stealing) music and videos?

I don't see why this would be a problem. It's nothing at all like stealing music (MMs cookie clean out isn't either--erasing your history is basic computer maintenance and it's not your fault or your problem if keeping your computer clean interferes with some company's tracking system).

The WSJ has chosen to allow people to access their articles in this manner, there's nothing wrong with telling people about the method they have approved.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Washington Post used "Let Nixon be Nixon" in 1984, but doesn't seem to give a historical reference to it."

I saw that when I googled. Of course, it's already the Reagan years. But it's used as if it's a known phrase, right?

Ann Althouse said...

I searched for "Let Nixon be Nixon" in the NYT archive and got nothing. "Let Reagan be Reagan" got 45 results.

Ann Althouse said...

"And Ann's used it at least twice before on this blog, most recently in 2007 about Hillary, coincidentally enough, and as far back as 2004 about Kerry."

Ha ha. Thanks. I'd forgotten that. It's because Kerry is so darned stiff. He had a problem.

Psota said...

In the '68 campaign, they were more concerned with presenting the "New Nixon." That would not have worked if you were simultaneously letting "Nixon be Nixon."

According to this book extract:
https://books.google.com/books?id=Hy18GdyY5AAC&pg=PR10&lpg=PR10&dq=%22let%27s+let+nixon+be+nixon%22&source=bl&ots=-DpRcY83rg&sig=3Md63f4EUKDb0hNyA9gIHv3kgco&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZoWeVazWC8_doATkmoTIBg&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22let's%20let%20nixon%20be%20nixon%22&f=false

the phrase "Let's let Nixon be Nixon" was a seventies-era phrase (perhaps as part of the '72 campaign?) that I vaguely recall from reading about the Nixon presidency.

TosaGuy said...

My guess is that a porous paywall provides enough of a PITA that forces serious readers subscribe but still provides an opportunity for casual readers and future serious readers to check out the content.

Media sites that allow you to bypass a paywall using basic browser maintenance and search engine techniques know what they are doing and don't care. They don't hire the world's dumbest IT guys who miss this stuff. There is nothing wrong with accessing material that way because I am sure they have found a way to monetize your page clicks.

If a person is writing code to hack through a paywall, that is stealing.

SteveR said...

It’s unclear if Mrs. Clinton is herself confused about all this or is cynically speaking in gibberish so as to confuse the voters.

Both, everything all at once.

rhhardin said...

Standish O'Grady immigrated to Canada, looked around, wrote a poem, and went back to Ireland.

Here forests crowd, unprofitable lumber,
O'er fruitless lands indefinite as number;
Where birds scarce light, and with the north winds veer
On wings of wind, and quickly disappear,
Here the rough Bear subsists his winter year,
And licks his paw and finds no better fare . . .
The lank Canadian eager trims his fire,
And all around their simpering stoves retire;
With fur clad friends their progenies abound,
And thus regale their buffaloes around;
Unlettered race, how few the number tells,
Their only pride a cariole and bells ....
Perchance they revel; still around they creep,
And talk, and smoke, and spit, and drink, and sleep.

Fernandinande said...

"Let Reagan be Reagan" = 146 results
"Let Nixon be Nixon" = 21 results

Sammy Finkelman said...

Of course Hillary Clinton is speaking cynically.

Her whole campaign is geared to low information voters, so of course the easiest way for her to handle it was to misrepresent the status quo or what really happened here.

It's not true that this man was badly wanted. He was not wanted at all, except for purposes of deportation. Maybe.

Had there been an indictment or an arrest warrant out against him, San Francisco would have turned him over, and what the policy of San Francisco was, by the way, was not any secret, so if federal authorities intended to get ahold of him, they should have indicted him even if they didn't intend to prosecute.

It is very peculiar we are not getting any further information about this man, or it is not circulating widely.

rhhardin said...

"That man whom with his fingers cheats" is a grammatical error, perhaps brought on by the proximity of the preposition "with" and similarity to the instinctive "with whom."

Double standard. Nobody's faulting Miss Felicia Hemans for

The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled

because she's a woman.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I reminded people that back in 2008, it was an immigration issue that shifted the primary race toward Barack Obama: Hillary came out in favor of states giving driver's licenses to undocumented aliens.

I think she was against that. And that's what helped Barack Obama. Morer maybe her insincerity than the issue itself.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/us/politics/01words.html

MRS. CLINTON: I just want to add, I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it. And we have failed——

MR. DODD: Wait a minute. No, no, no. You said, yes, you thought it made sense to do it.

MRS. CLINTON: No, I didn’t, Chris. But the point is, what are we going to do with all these illegal immigrants who are driving?





Sammy Finkelman said...

I liked the way James Taranto pointed out the way Hillary Clinton even hedged on the question of portraits on U.S. currency!!

Sammy Finkelman said...

Let Nixon be Nixon sounds maybe like something said by people in his Administration, or daid to have been said by some people after he was president. Maybe in an Evans and Novak column.

It doesn't date from the 1968 campaign.

Anonymous said...

Would we even be talking about this if it weren't for Donald Trump? Would they have asked Hillary about sanctuary cities?

Thanks Trump!

Sammy Finkelman said...

I think if you go to the WSJ article from Google you can see it the first time.

Anyway, this is from the article:

Presumably Keilar had a time limit and couldn’t ask everything. Then again, she did conclude the interview with a couple of real softballs—one about the Treasury Department’s proposal to put a woman on the $10 bill and one about her preference between Kate McKinnon and Amy Poehler, the two “Saturday Night Live” players who’ve portrayed Mrs. Clinton.

Even when dealing with such fluff, Mrs. Clinton was laughably noncommittal: “It may be more appropriate to look at the $20 than the $10. I don’t know. We’ll see.” As for SNL: “I think I’m the best Hillary Clinton, to be honest. So I’m just going to be my own little self and kind of keep going along and saying what I believe in and putting forth changes that I think would be good for the country.”


Ann Althouse said...

"Media sites that allow you to bypass a paywall using basic browser maintenance and search engine techniques know what they are doing and don't care. They don't hire the world's dumbest IT guys who miss this stuff. There is nothing wrong with accessing material that way because I am sure they have found a way to monetize your page clicks."

And since they can see that they are getting traffic from me, all they'd have to do is email me and say please don't do that, and I wouldn't. Years have gone by and there's never been a peep. I assume they want the traffic and I'm promoting them. They link to me.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think if you go to the WSJ article from Google you can see it the first time."

Yes, that's what I mean by Google it and get your own link. When you Google it, there will be a clickable link on your search-returns page.

Ann Althouse said...

"Presumably Keilar had a time limit and couldn’t ask everything. Then again, she did conclude the interview with a couple of real softballs..."

There were many cuts, so my question is, what was cut and who had the final cut?

Roger Sweeny said...

I am almost exactly Professor Althouse's age and was a political junkie during the 1968 election and for a few years after. I have no memory of "Let Nixon be Nixon," though it could have been used later.

(I still have a "Nixon's the One" poster from the 1968 New Hampshire primary that was up by the Dartmouth student mailboxes. Some additions have been made to the picture and there are numerous comments like, "A pile of pig shit", "Can't lick our Dick.")

Ann Althouse said...

"I still have a "Nixon's the One" poster from the 1968 New Hampshire primary that was up by the Dartmouth student mailboxes. Some additions have been made to the picture and there are numerous comments like, "A pile of pig shit", "Can't lick our Dick.""

Meade remembered: "Dick Nixon before he dicks you."

Ann Althouse said...

"I still have a "Nixon's the One" poster from the 1968 New Hampshire primary that was up by the Dartmouth student mailboxes."

I remember that slogan repurposed as a caption on a poster of a pregnant woman.

Anonymous said...

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/07/08/flashback-hillary-clintons-longtime-support-for-sanctuary-cities/



I can't wait until Republicans have sanctuary cities for the unborn, and traditional marriage!!! If it's ok for one side to do whatever they want against the federal law....it should be ok when the other side WINS!

ken in tx said...

Nixon was not deep down ugly the way Clinton is. Nixon was an anti-communist, pro-American, big government, Republican. He was economically ignorant. However, he did not contest the 1960 election even though there was massive voter fraud and much more grounds than Gore had. He thought it would be bad for the country. He was loyal to those who were loyal to him. He tried to cover for his bungling minions. He resigned when he became convinced that it was in the best interests of the country. Can you imagine Clinton doing that?

rhhardin said...

The Lazlo Letters (first set, in the 70s) had two letters where the writers came off well.

Nixon and Nguyen Van Thieu.

There's no sign that Lazlo recognized that, by the way.

Hagar said...

If Jerry Voorhis had been a Republican, Richard Nixon would have become a Democrat.

Spin your own history after that!

DanTheMan said...

Did "Let Reagan be Reagan" inspire "Let Poland be Poland", or was it the other way around?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5avzxLrBUY

averagejoe said...

Let Althouse be Althouse.

EMD said...

"who had the final cut?"

Hillary. To pretend otherwise is to delude oneself.

Matthew Sablan said...

I have no doubt Clinton's campaign had the final cut. As we saw from the emails that were released, she often was promised final review before anything was published, with the promise she'd like it. I see no reason why CNN would be any different, especially with a friendly interviewer on a friendly network.

Matthew Sablan said...

And honestly? I can't blame Clinton.

If I were a politician, and some media came to me and said: We want an exclusive interview, and you can have veto power, I would snap that up. I would not think "Is this ethical, as a journalist?" I'd think: "Score, remember to mark down that X at Y studio/publication is favorable to us when we need to leak something."

It isn't a politician's job to not take advantage of the media. It is the media's job not to be taken advantage OF.

eddie willers said...

I was born in 1952 and well remember 'Let Reagan be Reagan'.

This thread is the first time I ever heard the term Let Nixon be Nixon.

And the cartoon I remember with the pregnant girl had the caption: "I went all the way with LBJ".

Michael K said...

My first vote for president was in 1960 for Nixon. My family was furious but I had taken an economics class.

I have never regretted it except for a brief period when I was fooled into think he was a bad guy because of Watergate.

Watergate was a coup d'etat by Mark Felt.