Wednesday, December 28, 2005

How Nixon Helps us Imagine the Worst

'Although Nixon's responsibility for Vietnam is large and for Watergate central, he could be forgiven for not entirely understanding the convulsions he had visited upon politics and the presidency. As a result of his actions, presidents not only would be subject to doubt and second guessing, they would be suspected of outright criminality. Nixon's tapes of his office and the telephone conversations left an irrefutable historical record that the president abused government power for political purposes, obstructed justice and ordered his aides to do so as well. Watergate ended with unusual clarity and unusual closure because Nixon resigned. The scandal left a series of obvious questions that would come to plague his successors. Could another president be a criminal? Did presidents talk and plot in private like Nixon? Would another president have to resign?'

--From the introduction to Bob Woodward's Shadow, a book about the toxic legacy Watergate left on each of Nixon's successors.


At 9:28 PM, Blogger Daniella said...

You wetted our appetite and stopped, would another president have to resign?

Nice to have you back

At 11:26 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Daniella dear,
It was left as an open, rhetorical question in the book, which by the way ended with the Clinton presidency. As you may guess from my other earlier writing, I'm rather less than a George W. Bush fan, and this latest news about his illegal secret electronic spying on Americans is front and center in my mind in this context. Some months ago I wrote that the current presidential administration's sins don't approach those of Nixon's, but I've since changed my mind. I think they're even worse, even more fundamental, and strike closer to the heart of democracy. Do I think Bush should be impeached? You bet I do...


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