Jane Fonda…Jack Anderson…Daniel Schorr…hey! This is Richard Nixon’s enemies list! You just crossed out his name and put yours! — Barney Gumble, “Homer’s Enemy”
The infamous “Opponents List” is just one peculiarity of a memorable presidential administration. Assembled by various Nixon stooges beginning in 1971, the list(s) detailed the president’s perceived opposition, including tidbits on “how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies”.
Though the lists were crafted and refined midway through Nixon’s first term in 1971, their existence only came to light in 1973 in the wake of the Watergate burglaries, when Nixon staffer John Dean testified before the Senate Committee. (Dean had been axed by the commander-in-chief a couple of months earlier, so he sang, sang, sang.)
So, who made the list? Various political opponents and members of the media who were known for voicing their criticism. And fundraisers for the opposition, which included celebrities aplenty…
- Paul Newman
- Hugh Hefner
- Steve McQueen
- Barbra Streisand
- Bill Cosby
This guy does a good job recounting each list, if you’re interested. I’m not on there, but you may be.
The “enemies list” trope also shows up in “Homer the Great” after Homer’s budget-line work chair collapses under him. Roll over for the full list.
[And, finally, I wanted to pass along a Simpsons-related event for NYC-area readers. Tomorrow (August 4) is Classic Simpsons Trivia Night at Berry Park in Brooklyn. Come on down and test your mettle against your fellow historians! Here’s the event page on Facebook, and here’s a write-up of the event. See you in the car! – Django]