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Nations can be unhealthily focused on their leaders’ love/sex lives, especially if those leaders are the type to marry Carla Bruni, to prefer parties of the bunga bunga ilk, or to possess both an appreciation for blue Gap dresses and poor ejaculatory aim. But there are some presidents who defy our best attempts at sexualization. Richard Nixon is one. Perhaps it’s the jowls. Or the Watergate thing. Or those scary tapes. Or the jowls.
But a recent exhibit at the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum features love letters from Dick to Pat, and the blogosphere's jumped on the most unnervingly sweet excerpts, basically bringing Nixon’s feelings — and the fact that Nixon indeed had feelings — into the public sphere. The LA Times has one choice excerpt, in which Nixon professes his love in language that sounds like a Hallmark take on Sir Walter Raleigh: "And when the wind blows and the rains fall and the sun shines through the clouds (as it is now) he still resolves, as he did then, that nothing so fine ever happened to him or anyone else as falling in love with Thee — my dearest heart."
Jezebel's article on the exhibit includes this quote, which reveals the childlike Nixon, the innocent Nixon, the pining, rosy-jowled Nixon:
"Somehow on Tuesday there was something electric in the usually almost stifling air in Whittier. And now I know. An Irish gypsy who radiates all that is happy and beautiful was there. She left behind her a note addressed to a struggling barrister who looks from a window and dreams. And in that note he found sunshine and flowers, and a great spirit which only great ladies can inspire. Someday let me see you again? In September? Maybe?"
Between these letters and Dan Hedaya’s fiery portrayal opposite Kirsten Dunst in Dick, I have all I need: I can officially cancel my daddy-porn subscription. Nixon was the real deal.