NIXON DEFEATED BUT NOT THE CULPRIT
By: Roderick T. Beaman
The fortieth anniversary of the Watergate burglary just passed. Its been all
over the internet and the newscasts. Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein are taking their
bows once again over their roles as the relentless cub reporters who pursued the story and
scooped it for The Washington Post with The New York Times left red-faced. It was the
chance of a lifetime to destroy the presidency of the man that all good liberals
viscerally hated and The Times had muffed it.
In 1968, I had voted for Richard Nixon and would again in 1972. During that summer, the
Watergate burglary was just a blip on the national consciousness. More of the
nations political attention was focused on the race for the Democratic
After Robert Kennedys assassination in 1968, George McGovern declared himself his
heir and was widely viewed as the likely 1972 Democratic nominee but an unexpected bump
had emerged in the form of segregationist George Wallace who scored a string of surprising
victories in the Democratic primaries. The possibility of a Wallace presidential
nomination horrified the Democratic national leadership but his campaign was halted in an
attempted assassination in Maryland that left him paralyzed; McGovern went on to the
nomination and an historic electoral defeat, taking just Massachusetts and The District of
Columbia. The Watergate break-in occurred just about a month after the Wallace
As that summer wore on, Watergate blossomed but really didnt bloom as an issue
until after the November election. By the following summer, it was everywhere. One
revelation followed the other, culminating in Nixons resignation in August
After the resignation, the media looked up from Nixons political
corpse and chortled, congratulating itself, as if it had stopped a demon unparalleled in
American history. What they never mentioned was the part that the visceral hatred between
Nixon and the media played in their pursuit, yet surely that hatred played a significant
role. Never again would they permit such contempt from a president and theyve never
It wasnt just about Watergate, though. It concerned the entire matter of the
organized cover-up which he likely engineered or, at least ordered (Im still not
sure which) and there were other things, many of them unrelated but unearthed during the
investigations and hearings. There was a milk fund scandal that received some attention
and there were illegal campaign finance contributions including one that resulted in the
conviction of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, a Democrat. There was the
burglarizing of the office of Daniel Ellsbergs psychiatrist and many other
I got the feeling early on though, and I think numerous others did, that the scandal
would result in Nixons resignation. In the years since that epochal event, there
have been numerous books and a movie, All The Presidents Men, based on
the eponymously titled book, starring Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman and Jason Robards as
Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who took home an Oscar for best Supporting
Bradlee, for his part, was a liberal and personal friend of John F. Kennedy. In the
movie, hes lionized, shown saying to Redford and Hoffman, "Print it,"
meaning the piece of the story they had just unearthed.
So the scenario was of an actor, we may presume a liberal, portraying a liberal editor
of one of the most liberal newspapers in te country, telling two reporters, we may also
presume were liberals, played by two Hollywood liberals (Redford even admitting that he
had despised Nixon from the time they had met when he was a high school student in Van
Nuys) to print a story reflecting badly on an administration they hated. Why those must
have been acting challenges worthy of Laurence Olivier!
But after all is said and done, no one has ever brought into focus the entire series of
events. No one has ever really, convincingly, determined exactly why those burglars were
there, yet the media applauded themselves on their job. There have been all sorts of
theories including that John Dean had orchestrated the entire affair to have some
deleterious information connecting his wife, Maureen, to a prostitution ring, removed from
the office, according to Silent Coup. In Family of Secrets Russ
Baker argues that the George H. W. Bush was involved in a silent coup to oust Nixon. The
intertwinings of power are so byzantine so, who knows?
Many were repulsed by the depths to which the Nixon White House and the Committee to
Re-elect the President, CREEP (talk about appropriate acronyms), had stooped. People were
appalled that the Administration had used various government agencies against its enemies.
In fact, it had an enemies list and Barbra Streisand and Joe Namath were on
it. The White House had tried to use the CIA to block the FBIs investigation (again,
or was it the other way round & does it matter?)
The big unaddressed point in the whole sordid affair, was would it have all been
possible if we hadnt had the power invested in the presidency and the federal
government that we did? And, of course, that power has grown exponentially since then. It
is far worse today and thus affording far more opportunity for these things; just ask Nat
And, of course, as so many have said, Nixon just got caught. Administrations had been
using government agencies against opponents since Franklin D. Roosevelt as had other
administrations ever since then. FDR had the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
reject the license renewal application of a small Catholic radio station in the midwest
that had been critical of him. John Kennedy did the same thing and Lyndon Johnson did it,
too; big time. So, its hardly new.
Yes, it was the very existence of power that was at the core of Watergate, not simply
Nixon, as reprehensible as he might have been. (Personally, I am not too sure how
reprehensible Nixon really was given what has been uncovered about Lyndon Johnson, the
Kennedys, Bushes, the Clintons, the CIA, etc. since. Was he unique in American history and
just one example of the descent into evil of one aberrant or just another permutation of
the type of person to seek power over others? I think the latter.)
Its important to realize that the very same cast of characters who feigned such
horror were the same ones who had been applauding the concentration of power in the
federal government throughout the entire twentieth century. Actons lesson seems lost
on them. You cant have it both ways; you cant celebrate it on the one hand and
then decry it on the other, when its used in a way you dont like. Power is
evil, not just Nixon or Kennedy or FDR, etc.
But there wont be a single commentator, Democrat or Republican, liberal or
conservative, who will actually come out and say it. Not one of them will look at
Washington, DC and say the honest thing; it should be scaled down, it is out of hand. It
would be refreshing if someone actually did but no one will.
So while the pundits all ooh and aah over the wonderful job done by these relentless
reporters, these pursuers of the truth, astride their white steeds of righteousness,
defeating the gargantuan evils of Richard Nixon, Ill be out in the bathroom,
throwing up. None of them will address this most central issue of our nation. None of them
will raise this central question. It probably wont even occur to them.
When all is said & done, they love reveling and cavorting in those hallways of
power, rubbing elbows with the elite. It feeds their egos. Woodward, Bernstein, Bradlee;
their lives would have been meaningless were government reduced to the proper size.
Thats the central point. Anyone care to give odds that it will be addressed?
Dr. Roderick T. Beaman is an osteopathic
family physician practicing in Jacksonville, Florida. Born in New York City, he attended
New York University as an undergraduate. A recipient of a 2003 Ron Paul Liberty in Media
Award, he has had dreams (delusions?) of becoming a writer. He has written a novel that he
has given up hope of ever getting published and so has made it available for the asking
He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.
"Published originally at EtherZone.com :
republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
He can be reached at: TheFreedomBeam@comcast.netJULY 8, 2012 issue of Ether Zone.
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