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The Inimitable Martha Mitchell - 1974

(Somewhere between delusional whack-Job and Cassandra stood Martha) Martha Mitchell has faded into history's woodwork. Famous for her paranoid rant


(Somewhere between delusional whack-Job and Cassandra stood Martha)

Martha Mitchell has faded into history's woodwork. Famous for her paranoid rants and haywire midnight phone calls, she had the dubious distinction of being associated (in a rather "Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers" sort of way) with Watergate via her husband, then-Attorney General John Mitchell.

Largely dismissed at the time as a bonafide whack-job, Mitchell did gain some vindication when the scandal of Watergate broke and all fingers pointed to the White House. But it didn't dismiss the fact that she was delusional, ego-centric and had a little bit of a substance abuse problem.

In this hour long interview, part of Tom Snyder's Tomorrow Show, Snyder asks her point blank if she thought she was an alcoholic. Mitchell blurts out "no" (of course - wouldn't you?), even though the answers borders on the slurred. What Snyder failed to ask was if she had a drug problem. I believe the answer would have been a resounding yes - even if she had flatly denied it. All you have to do is listen to her.

So it was the curious mixture of the insane person being privy to shocking actual events, who took the elements of truth and turned them into a persecution extravaganza with all consequences directed straight at her that probably made her seem like she was imagining it.

The more she ranted, the more people thought she lost it. Of course, the Nixon White House did little to dispel that portrait - it did take the heat off for a while.

The bottom line was, she was probably right - but since she insisted it was all about her, the credibility drew more than raised eyebrows.

Of course nowadays, drugged out paranoid egocentrics get their own TV shows and loyal followings. Something that wasn't in the cards in 1974.

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