Forty Years Out, Watergate Still Matters–and Gets Repeated

Forty years ago this past summer, this country was riveted by the hearings of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, better known as the Watergate Hearings.  Although they did not directly lead to Richard Nixon’s exit from office, they were an important step in that process.

I’ve discussed Watergate many times on this blog.  I listened to most of it across the room from what you see at the right, drafting away at the family business at our West Palm Beach facility.  I recorded some of the proceedings on 25 and 26 July 1973; you can hear that here and here, forty years ago today.

And it’s still relevant, more so now than in most of the recent past:

  • We have an administration with powers to spy on enemy and friend alike–and the will to use the power of the government to punish opponents–that Nixon could only dream of.  The only reason why we don’t have the media hue and cry now we had then is that the media is so deep in the tank with this administration, which is a stark contrast in many ways to what we had then.
  • Hillary Clinton is still out there.  She’s the “safe bet” in 2016 for President (but then again she was in 2008 and look what happened).  And she still has this in her record:
    • His (Sen. Sam Ervin’s) solicitousness of these rights would be sorely missed the following year, when the House Impeachment Committee’s legal staff–including Bernard Nussbaum and Hillary Clinton–would construct rules of procedure such as:
      • Denying the President representation by legal counsel;
        Prohibiting impeachment committee members from hearing live testimony or cross-examining witnesses (such as took place in these hearings,)
        Obtaining gag orders to prevent committee members from disclosing contents of documentary evidence (leak plugging, which was Nixon’s own obsession and got him into more trouble than anything else);
        Denying committee members the power to draft impeachment articles.
    • One of the things that Watergate was supposed to be “about” was the need for openness in government as opposed to the secrecy that Nixon, his staff and the “Plumbers” operated in.  But already we see that Nixon’s opponents were–and are–not opposed to secrecy when it suits their own purpose.

Why conservatives prefer her to Barack Obama is beyond me; they are both Saul Alinsky radicals.

As for me, I found the Watergate business disheartening.  Coupled with the many other adverse events of the time, I felt that the left, against which we were ostensibly fighting the Cold War to keep away, was moving in for the kill.  I looked elsewhere for inspiration and wrote the first version of this.  But ultimately the answer came from God, and that’s made the difference ever since.

Today we’re in a bad way once again.  Many want to repeat the 1980’s, when the left stumbled and we had “morning in America”, in spite of stuff like this.  But they’re not coming back, not this time.  We have only one true country, and we need to pursue the path to it whether the one we’re in makes it or not.

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