5 thoughts on “Wonder How Watergate Would Have Played Out With A Democrat In The White House?”

  1. OK, OK, already.

    For one thing, Richard Nixon, for whatever reason, had those audio tapes. Yes, other presidents had tapes, there are those Johnson tapes, but President Nixon had perhaps the most comprehensive set of tapes of anybody. If it weren’t for the tapes, Watergate could be one of those he said/this other person said kind of standoffs.

    Secondly, it wasn’t that Richard Nixon was simply a Republican, any old Republican, he was Richard Nixon, whose whole being was tied up in being an outsider. He wasn’t simply an outsider to the mainline Ivy League New Deal-Democrat political class, he was an outsider to the Republican Establishment. Heck, he was an outsider to the William F Buckley Conservative Movement, he was an outsider to everybody.

    Probably the closest person among the Republicans today with this kind of educated-at-a-cow-college-and-not-the-Ivy-League-not-part-of-the-political-class would be Sarah Palin. There are strong difference way beyond one being a man and the other a woman. I am thinking that Sarah Palin was indeed a soccer mom, a community-spirited and ambitious soccer mom, who was swept from political activism of “fight the (Republican) establishment in Alaska to share (yes, share! Socialism!) the oil wealth” to being Mayor, Governor, and then Vice Presidential running mate.” Richard Nixon, it seems, had the ambition to be President since he was wee high, and almost everything he did was directed at surmounting the obstacles to that happening.

    Thirdly, Nixon had engaged in a kind of bare-knuckles politics of his own, insinuating that his blue-blood Senate adversary was soft on Communism. Then there was the Alger Hiss drama, where he as some punk California Congressman went after Alger Hiss, who was the poster child for the class of person bred for political leadership.

    So long before Watergate, he had his Enemies List, and Mr. Nixon in turn was an Enemy on a lot of other persons lists.

    And go watch the “Checkers Speech” — it is readily found on the Web, where he was fighting against what were perhaps spurious and scurilous accusations of scandal, and Presidential Candidate Eisenhower left his running-mate “out to dry”, where when he was done, General Eisenhower was left drained of political capital as it all had gone into Nixon’s account. Kinda, sorta, but not exactly like Sarah Palin becoming a Conservative rock star and McCain’s inner circle left fuming that their man is being upstaged.

    Also along the Palin analogy, to all right-thinking people, that Checkers Speech is pure political camp, but that is one of those cultural shibboleths where anyone exposed to the “University/Education complex” (myself included) is left rolling their eyes, but that speech was a tremendous “hit” with the intended audience of who Nixon would later call the “Great Silent Majority.”

    Like the time I visited the Nixon Birthplace and Museum in Whittier, California, where the whole ambiance of the place was Nixon Checkers Speech camp, and where I found myself reflexively lapsing into Rich Little routines. If I were a true liberal and Nixon hater, I wouldn’t have even found the place funny let alone gone there, but my companion on the visit scolded me, “Paul, people are staring at us, there are people who still believe in Nixon.”

    So why did I go to Whittier only to think it a campy tribute to everything Nixon rather than take it on its own terms. As a College Republican and YAF member, I was a Movement Conservative. Nixon and his true-believer followers were perhaps “natural conservatives”, with some intuitive believes about how the world should be, but they were certainly not Movement Conservatives. When Nixon ran into his Watergate troubles, the Movement Conservatives, starting with Barry Goldwater, were the first to declaim, “Depart I say, and let us have done with you.”

    The thing about Watergate and the “web of illegal activities” that to this day has Messrs. Woodward and Bernstein in such a lather of indignation is that there was a war going on, and there was some good reason to question whether the organized anti-war movement represented to concerns of moms and dad’s whose sons were drafted to go fight and die in what Walter Cronkite told us was a lost cause, or whether it was a front for a Communist insurgency on the home front or some mixture of both, with otherwise patriotic Americans playing useful fools for some apparatchiks behind the scenes. The Watergate break-in was a kind of spun-out-of-control spin-off of a variety of operations, operations that Bobby Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson would find familiar.

    Finally, it was the optics of the whole thing that brought Mr. Nixon down, to resign in disgrace rather than be impeached. I remember Dad, a refugee from Yugoslavia with family “back there in a captive nation” much like Communist Vietnam, commenting on Watergate “going too far” in “conducting such operations against the opposition political party.” It seemed that “dark ops” meant to investigate traitors and Communist-connected insiders of the anti-war movement had morphed into an aggressive “oppo research.”

    Snark all you want about Mr. Obama getting a “free pass”, but one, Nixon’s downfall was a Perfect Storm whereas Mr. Obama is far from this point, however craven his politics. Secondly, Watergate didn’t blow wide open until well into Mr. Nixon’s second term . . .

    1. Wow, Paul. It’s actually much simpler than that. Break out your Strauss & Howe. He was the “wrong” guy at the right time. The overthrow of King Nixon was simply the Boomers killing their parents — the Prophet generation’s overthrow of the austere culture created in the wake of the crisis war (WWII) and a renewed celebration of the culture of individualism, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.

      1. You are missing something. Poppa was of The Greatest Generation by adoption, coming to the US with refugee status in the aftermath of WW-II, a staunch anti-Communist with mother and brother and cousins remaining behind the Iron Curtain.

        He thought that a break-in at the Democratic Party Headquarters was whatever deep-cover operation to fight Communists or other subversives gone off the deep end. Whatever he thought about Democrats, they weren’t the Communists.

        Poppa was not a Movement Conservative either, he was a natural conservative in his values and that austere culture you talk about. Poppa wasn’t a die hard Nixon true believer, but he was definitely the demographic, life experience, and set of values of Nixon’s Silent Majority. It is like “when (Johnson) lost Walter Cronkite (on victory in Vietnam).” When President Nixon lost lost Poppa, it was all over.

  2. “If the media didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all,” is a classic right up there with the old Hee Haw lyric, “If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.”

    Gloom, despair, and agony on us all, indeed.

  3. If the media didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all.

    That’s a classic line worthy of the Hee Haw original, If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all.

    Gloom, despair, and agony on us all, indeed.

Comments are closed.