Friday, October 28, 1960: 'Nixonland'

In a speech in Oakland, California, former President Harry Truman mocks Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon. Here is most of the speech (pieced together from various sources):

"I do not feel bitterness tonight toward Richard Nixon. I feel concern and a touch of pity. I have been wondering what he could do after the election returns are in ... He is too young to retire and he will have to have some kind of a job ...

"I think I have discovered what Mr. Nixon can do. He has considerable gifts of showmanship, and the ability to create all kinds of illusions. He should go into this amusement park business and open one of his own, which we could call Nixonland ...

"Nixonland would be an interesting place. It would become in time a national shrine for Republicans, although Democrats would have to pass a loyalty examination before they could be admitted.

"Nixon would be in charge of Nixonland personally, and he would be the guide for all the Nixonland rides, which he could do very well by the way, as he has been taking the American people for a ride for a good many years already.

"One of the rules of Nixonland would be 'no cuss words' because of the children there. Of course, in Nixonland there would be nothing to cuss about, because there our prestige would always be at an all-time high -- and we would all be morally, spiritually, economically and militarily stronger than anybody else anywhere.

"Nixonland would also be very neat. In fact, it would be as clean as a hound's tooth.

"The first thing to do in Nixonland would be to take a ride on the Nixon train. This would go -- rather quickly -- through fifty-odd countries ... The end of this ride would be quite exciting, with howling Communist mobs, and all the passengers would have to be rescued by United States Marines ...

"Then there would be the Nixon trip up the Congo River, through Communistland. And you would see stuffed Communists popping up from behind every bush. And Nixon would stand in the bow of the boat, and shoot them dead -- with blanks.

"Another popular attraction would be the great Nixon submarine ride to the offshore islands. This submarine would go to Quemoy and Matsu, but not to Cuba. In fact, there would be a rule in Nixonland against mentioning Cuba. Anybody mentioning Cuba would have to get off the submarine and swim home.

"There would be lots to see in Nixonland, and fun for all -- but nothing would be real.

"And that, my friends, is the danger we face. Nixonland is not the real world, it is a world of dreams concocted to get your votes.

"Let us leave Nixonland behind us, and face the real world and its problems. Let us take the necessary action to meet these problems instead of pretending they don't exist. Let us build for the future of America and for a secure and peaceful world with Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson."

Not that Truman had been a strong supporter of Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy early on; in fact, Truman had resigned in July as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, calling it "a prearranged affair" and saying Kennedy was too young, too inexperienced to be president. But the prospect of a Nixon presidency was enough for Truman to campaign for Kennedy.

* Truman's July 2 remarks: @
* Kennedy's July 4 response: @

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