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Nixon had taken just about every possible position short of withdrawal—we should escalate, we should negotiate, we should bomb more, we should pause the bombing, we should pour in troops, pouring in troops would be a scandal. Liberals who paid attention were enraged. They congratulated themselves for spotting the hustle. It hardly bothered Nixon; their derision only helped him with the Orthogonians. He was recieving little coverage during those eventful months. It took someone with the eye of a hawk and the obsession of a neurotic to mark all the twists and turns.

However, one man was just that neurotic, and just that attentive: Lyndon Johnson. And Johnson was the intended audience for every utterance. Every Nixonian twist and turn on Vietnam fit a specific pattern: whatever he said, whenever he said it, it was always exactly 180 degrees from the current line the president was taking. Nixon was endeavoring to drive the Texan crazy, and to make Nixon the public focus of his rage.

From Nixonland, Rick Perlstein’s tome on the the beginning of the culture wars.