Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

17 Jun 2003, 15:19 p.m.

A line from "Go" by The Apples in Stereo that's…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

A line from "Go" by The Apples in Stereo that's been stuck in my head: "She don't like the way you look, so she treats you like a crook." I'm imagining Nixon in there somewhere.

In elementary school -- one of the six elementary schools I attended -- at one point the class headed to the library to choose presidents for some report or other. I dawdled or misunderstood, and arrived last. Nixon was the only one left. So I learned that his hometown was Yorba Linda in faraway California, and the book tried be be both gentle and straightforward in explaining his sin to children.

I wish I'd met Nixon. Bob Greene did a column about how weird it was to meet him years after Watergate, how presidential and forgotten he was. He was the only native-born Californian president, the only one to resign, a Quaker like Hoover, incredibly smart in some ways and delusionally dumb in others. Caffeinated. He and Clinton were both presidents of great intelligence and sometimes awful judgment, and I harbor some affection and lenience towards broken smart people that I withold from dummies.