Give the Guy a Job

Cabbages and Kings

RICHARD NIXON doesn't think The American People can demand his resignation. The American People, Nixon insists, gave him a mandate just over a year ago to press on with the great and good work of this great and good country.

In an obvious sense, Nixon's wrong, Sixty-one per cent of the electorate assured Nixon a welcome mat at the White House doorstep. But they didn't welcome Nixon to lie, rob, spy, fix judicial decisions to his heart's delight, or use his great and good position for medium to fair personal profits here and there. Not even a welcome mat at one's own home is a mandate for thieves to come and rob him blind; the people may have picked up Richard Nixon's option for the presidency, but they included no clauses in their second four-year contract for Christmas bonuses or Christmas bombings.

But in another sense, maybe Nixon's got a point. The American People did promise him a job for four more years. If The American People can muster sufficient self-righteousness to throw Nixon out for dishonesty, he would not be unreasonable to expect The American People to make good on its most basic promise. Nixon does have payments on a few houses to keep up. Pat eventually will need another good Republican cloth coat. And you can't rely on Whittier College alumni in hard times for a job; going to Harvard might not be everything in life, but when you're pounding the streets for work, it beats having to say you went to Whittier.

I personally think Harvard should give Nixon a job and relieve The American People of its insufferable burden. When John Dunlop resigned as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to supervise America's decline into endless economic recession, former Crimson President G. Garrett Epps '72 suggested that Harvard save the world from McGeorge Bundy's leadership at the Ford Foundation by making Bundy dean. I would not be so presumptuous. I would hardly be the one to tell so expert a Faculty as ours which people are the world's most qualified for the most prestigious academic chairs this side of Kohoutek. In addition, I wouldn't suggest Harvard rehire a man the University took years to get rid of. McGeorge Bundy had enough time to leave his indelible depression on Harvard's landscape; let's give Nixon a chance.

CONSIDER, EVEN BRIEFLY, the courses Nixon might teach. With his proven ability to judge people guilty before their trials--Charles Manson, John Erlichman, and Bob Haldeman, for example--Nixon would be a sure bet to add a new dimension to Harvard's offerings in jurisprudence. Or consider taking a course on "Meaning and Perception" from a man who divides assertions about objective reality into two categories: operative and inoperative.


The Psychology and Social Relations Department could hire Nixon to teach a pro-seminar on "Anger and Respect: How to Stay Cool When the Going Gets Tough." Or Nixon might make a fine professor of Population Statistics: His figures proved U.S. Marines destroyed all of North Vietnam ten times over.

In addition, events last week proved another surprising area of expertise; having encountered "sinister forces" in his very own White House, Richard Nixon could even teach demonology for the Study of Religion.

Such suggestions only scratch the surface of Nixon's academic competence. His version of the Vietnam War should be taught in Folklore and Mythology. The Music Department would no doubt like to hear what Nixon said that made John Dean sing so loudly. But for what Nixon has taught The American People about the abuse of power and the general perversion of truth, Nixon deserves a Gen Ed slot with all Harvard Stadium to hold his auditors.

Even though I wouldn't insist that Nixon be made a dean, I wouldn't rule him out for a major administrative post either. After all, nine Harvard professors who last fall signed a petition praising Nixon as a "prudent" administrator last week declined to renege on the terms of their support--even though Prudent Administrator Nixon claims to have been completely ignorant of the illegal operations of his White House staff, the FBI, and possibly the CIA.

NIXON CERTAINLY could operate as effectively as some current Harvard administrators. Nixon can study reports as long as anyone as an excuse to put off taking public stands. Nixon's had plenty of experience ignoring commissions, and he could ignore the Faculty in pushing forward some study on the reestablishment of ROTC. And Nixon certainly has demonstrated his commitment to affirmative action. He appointed a woman U.S. treasurer even though the workers at her California factory charged her with hiring illegal Mexican immigrants at substandard wages and threatening to report them if they quit or went on strike.

All in all, Nixon's got a hell of a lot to offer Harvard. He can teach, administer, and call Joe Restic with football plays. But if worse comes to worse, we could still reasonably expect administrative whiz Steven S.J. Hall to hire Nixon for Buildings and Grounds: Adams House is reportedly having trouble keepings its pool clean. At the very least, Nixon could be hired to make the water perfectly clear.

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