What’s the best way to reform a reputation?….Surprise people.
The Richard Nixon Presidential Library has just released six of the former President’s love letters to the woman that would become his wife, Pat. In the case of Richard Nixon the strategy of reforming a reputation by stealth seems to be working.
Nicknamed “tricky Dick” by his detractors (and there were many), Nixon’s tarnished career ended when he resigned the presidency. The rehabilation of his image has followed a familiar strategy. Let the ugly defining moment pass and introduce ongoing new material to provide a different perspective.
The letters make surprising reading. As the curator enthused to the media, “It’s a totally different person from the Watergate tapes that people know…. There’s a lot of hope, there’s a lot of tenderness and it’s very poetic”.
The PR Verdict: “B” Smart move from the guardians of Nixon’s reputation. Only six letters, but they put the former President in a different light.
“Let’s go for a long ride Sunday; let’s go to the mountains weekends; let’s read books in front of fires; most of all, let’s really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours” he wrote to Pat. These breathless romantic scribblings will surprise many. Remembered more for his sweating in front of TV cameras than tender words, these short letters will move the perception toward a deeper and more nuanced character…..Now, does anyone have love letters from recently deceased Kim Jon Il to hand?
To read more about the letters click here and to take the Vanity Fair quiz on the letters click here. Is there a news item that you think needs a grade? Send us your suggestion for the next PR Verdict: firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s your PR verdict on these letters? Will they help reform Tricky Dick’s image?