Subscribe via RSS Feed

Worst American Birthdays, vol. 32

[ 26 ] November 30, 2007 |

Watergate co-conspirator and gibbering loon G. Gordon Liddy turns 77 today.

As a child during the Great Depression, Liddy quivered with glee at the sound of Adolf Hitler’s voice on the radio. As he recounted in his autobiography (appropriately titled Will), the Fuhrer’s words filled him with hope and delivered him from fear.

Hitler’s voice called out calmly, in low, dispassionate tones, but as he spoke of what his people would accomplish, his voice rose in pitch and tempo. Once united, the German people could do anything, surmount any obstacle, rout any enemy, achieve fulfillment. He would lead them; there would be one people, one nation, one leader. Here was the very antithesis of fear — sheer animal confidence and power of will. He sent an electric current through my body and, as the massive audience thundered its absolute support and determination, the air on the back of my neck rose and I realized suddenly that I had stopped breathing.

Hitler taught Liddy that if nations could be “lifted out of weakness,” so might a puny asthmatic boy like himself. To condition his body and soul for a long life of struggle against weakness, Liddy embarked on a fascist-inspired campaign of personal growth. He stood defiantly on railroad tracks, challenging oncoming trains to run him over; he scaled trees during storms and baited the lightning; he killed chickens and ate rats to prove that he could overcome his aversion to death and his fear of vermin.

I killed and killed and killed, and, finally, I could kill efficiently and without emotion or thought. I was satisfied; when my turn to go to war came, I’d be ready. I could kill as I could run — like a machine.

Though Liddy served two years as an artillery officer during the Korean war, he never left stateside and thus never got the chance to kill actual humans. This missed opportunity proved to be an enormous disappointment.

Two decades later, while working as one of Richard Nixon’s resident goons, Liddy’s bloodlust was further thwarted. Though the US continued to wage war against the people of Vietnam, it lacked the will to bomb the dams along the Red River — as Liddy would have preferred — and flood the country. His plans to bomb the Brookings Institution and kill journalists like Jack Anderson were similarly tabled, and Liddy was reduced to planning mere burglaries and scheming to tap the telephone wires of political enemies. Arrested and convicted for his role in planning the Watergate break-in, Liddy endured nearly five years in prison. After his release, he reinvented himself as a novelist, sometime actor and right-wing radio host, where he could apply the rhetorical skills he learned as a child and warn the fatherland of dangers to come.

Comments (26)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Flavor Flavius Julianus says:

    He sent an electric current through my body and, ass
    Indeed.

  2. Cass says:

    “He stood defiantly on railroad tracks, challenging oncoming trains to run him over…”
    Good thing, I suppose, that the trains backed down.

  3. d says:

    Oops — in re Flav, I fixed that unintentionally revealing typo….

  4. norbizness says:

    You know the trick to continuing to exist in an uncaring universe populated by elderly asswads like Liddy: not MINDING.

  5. Hogan says:

    The reason he did five years was that he refused to confess or name names.
    Hey, you can say what you want about “stop snitching,” at least it’s an ethos.

  6. Erik says:

    I have to wonder if Liddy didn’t just make up all that bullshit about his childhood.

  7. Rasselas says:

    His novel’s sex scene is pretty ridiculous, too.

  8. coozledad says:

    He will be remembered chiefly for his breathless praise of the presidential nubbin.

  9. Jude says:

    Do you think that Liddy sings along to “Die Wacht Am Rhein” with the German soldiers in Casablanca?
    I’d bet that he does.

  10. d says:

    He will be remembered chiefly for his breathless praise of the presidential nubbin.
    Please tell me you’re thinking of the Chris Matthews appearance…. God, that was truly surreal. More dick jokes in three minutes than most people can manage all day.

  11. Julia Grey says:

    I have to wonder if Liddy didn’t just make up all that bullshit about his childhood.
    No kidding. Or was as German his first language as a child?
    How did he know what Hitler was saying? Was it translated in the newsreels, or what?

  12. jackd says:

    I killed and killed and killed, and, finally, I could kill efficiently and without emotion or thought.
    Make that earlier line, “puny asthmatic young psychopath”.
    It would be interesting to see if a psychiatrist could determine what kept Liddy from becoming another Green River killer.

  13. Tom Hilton says:

    It would be interesting to see if a psychiatrist could determine what kept Liddy from becoming another Green River killer.
    Government sponsorship.

  14. coozledad says:

    I think I remember reading that Liddy said something on his radio show along the lines of (and I paraphrase freely) “Every woman in America just went all tingly at the sight of jet boy’s sweaty athletic cup, because my little storm trooper is standing to attention in a way he hasn’t since Hitler opened the ’36 Olympics.”
    You’re right d. It was Matthew’s show. Here’s the actual transcript:
    LIDDY: Well, I — in the first place, I think it’s envy. I mean, after all, Al Gore had to go get some woman to tell him how to be a man. And here comes George Bush. You know, he’s in his flight suit, he’s striding across the deck, and he’s wearing his parachute harness, you know — and I’ve worn those because I parachute — and it makes the best of his manly characteristic. You go run those — run that stuff again of him walking across there with the parachute. He has just won every woman’s vote in the United States of America. You know, all those women who say size doesn’t count — they’re all liars. Check that out. I hope the Democrats keep ratting on him and all of this stuff so that they keep showing that tape.

  15. crazynick says:

    Wow, I’m a little speechless. Anyone remember Gov. Arnold talking about how Nixon was the reason he got in to politics at the last Republican presidential convention? And Liddy basically says Hitler made him who he is (and not pejoratively, either)?
    Seriously, since when is it a good thing to speak approvingly of Hitler and Nixon? Is there such a thing as the antithesis of Godwin’s Law?

  16. d says:

    i highly recommend the first chapter of Will to anyone who wants to read what happens when people write un-selfconsciously…

  17. ThresherK says:

    Nobody picked up on this particular BS yet:
    “[Der Fuhrer's] voice called out calmly, in low, dispassionate tones”
    What? Everything I’ve ever seen of him on TV show his head bobbing, his fist pounding the podium, and people roaring in response.
    I don’t know German, and I don’t know from public speaking, but geez, when did he all of a sudden some sorta Shepherd/Keillor monologuist’s voice?

  18. ThresherK says:

    (guess I edited out a verb there)
    …when did he all of a sudden become regarded as having some sorta….

  19. Roger Ailes says:

    Gordon Liddy and Ann Althouse would make a cute couple.
    Any chance of introducing those two crazy kids?

  20. stickler says:

    ThresherK:
    What? Everything I’ve ever seen of him on TV show his head bobbing, his fist pounding the podium, and people roaring in response.
    No, actually Liddy is spot on, and it suggests he actually did listen to Hitler speeches (as a child or not I leave to speculation). Hitler’s rhetorical skills are actually pretty impressive, and Liddy’s description is accurate. Hitler often arrived late, so that tension would build in the crowd. Then he’d make a dramatic entrance. Most of the time, his speeches would start out quietly and he might even seem to stutter or hesitate. Then he would build up the volume and tension, piling ridiculous metaphors and images one atop the other until he reached a shrieking, spittle-flecked climax. And then the crowd would roar. It’s more like performance art than any kind of normal public speaking.
    If you ever get to see Triumph of the Will, watch Hitler’s speaking style. He really knew how to play the crowd.

  21. JP Stormcrow says:

    Liddy had an interesting relationship with Timothy Leary. Liddy was an assistant DA in Dutchess County New York in the ’60s and led a number of raids on Millbrook, the estate (financed by young heirs of the Mellon fortune – that money has turned up in some interesting places) where Leary was doing psychedlic research.
    Then in the early ’80s they toured together as documented in the movie Return Engagement.

  22. MarktheSpark says:

    Thanks for a fascinating post. Keep your friends close, & your enemies closer. This type of unapologetic neo-fascist is what has taken over our gov’t.
    The main difference between sociopaths of the Liddy school & the likes of Shooter Cheney & the Boy Emperor is that I believe Liddy actually gets joy out of burning his hand, slaughtering animals, imagining slaughtering “gooks” & lib’ruls, etc. (what racist tag did our 50′s freedom fighters have for the Koreans, b/t/w/? Maybe the generic “slopes”?)
    Cheney likes to kill 4-500 wingless quail at a time, but they murder humans dispassionately, at a distance, while feeding off the big-gov’t. teat.
    If that kid who organized the gang-rape of the 14 yr. old girl & the murder of her & her family in Iraqwere a bit smarter & better organized, he could’ve been the equal of G. Gordon Liddy. Some day those Iraqis will thank us for the “liberty” we bring them.

  23. melior says:

    The psychopathic stunt in Will that sticks in my mind is Liddy holding a lit cigarette lighter under his outstretched hand while staring people down, until they cringed at the smell of his burning flesh.

  24. ThresherK says:

    Stickler,
    Wow. Well, I stand corrected on that.
    I can’t say I’ve done a lot of first-hand research.

  25. JSG says:

    Wow, Liddy’s quote about Flightsuit Boy is pretty… um… revealing.
    Who knew Georgy Liddy was a cockgazer?

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

  • Switch to our mobile site