A liberal Nixon, payoffs, booze and sex.
Robert Gene Baker, the Senate page from Pickens, S.C., who rose to become secretary to the Senate’s Democratic majority in the 1950s and ’60s, tells all in recordings that Politico Magazine is publishing.
Known as “Little Lyndon,” Baker counted votes for LBJ when the Texan was a mover and shaker in the Senate and the White House.
Now 85 and retired in Florida, Baker recalls:
• NAACP lobbyists were frequently in and out of Vice President Nixon’s “little, old office right off the Senate floor. … He was much, much more liberal on the Negro question than the Democrats were.”
• Walter Reuther, the United Autoworkers honcho, found a way to get cash to senators at a time when unions were barred from making political contributions. “He had to be very careful with cash money that came to his union in the United States. But he had no such rule in Canada. So as a consequence, Walter Reuther, probably because of his cash contributions, had a minimum of 20 senators that would vote any way he wanted. … He bought more United States Senate seats than anybody in my life.”
• “Sen. (Estes) Kefauver (a Tennessee Democrat who became famous for his committee’s investigation of organized crime) had a drinking problem. He smelled like booze all the time.”
• “Sen. (Jacob) Javits (R-N.Y.) was a publicity hound. He was a very, very bright man, but he was another one — like Sen. Jack Kennedy — he was a sex maniac.”
You can read more at Politico. (Warning: Expletives are not deleted.)