An article in today’s New York Times [National Edition, 2-21-10, section I, p. 24] provides the late Alexander Haig’s assessment of politicians:
“…there is hardly a straight guy in the business. As Nixon always said to me – and he took great pride in it – ‘Al, I never took a dollar. I had somebody else do it.’ ”
Alexander Haig II (1924-2010) had a tendency toward tangled if tart tongue, so I steeled myself when Mr. Haig began with “hardly a straight guy.” However, Secretary Haig clearly did not mean straight as opposed to gay. The quotation from President Nixon made me laugh. On its face, the quotation seems daffy. However, Mr. Nixon believed in the honor and dignity of the presidency — the honor and dignity he befouled — and so may have meant that he kept the corrupt business of politicking at arm’s length from the Oval Office or White House.