Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The All-Time Worst President

There is no question at all who that would be, and his reputation continues to go into the gutter.

There was a reason why Nixon spent the remainder of his life after the presidency fighting tooth and nail against the release of those tapes.

And apparently we ain't seen nothing yet:

Deceit and disregard for the law were the common threads. The abuses that constituted Watergate began with events tied to the Vietnam war: first was the attempt to sabotage LBJ’s peace talks in October 1968. In 1969 came the secret bombing of Cambodia and the wiretapping of reporters and White House aides, provoked by a leak to The New York Times about the secret bombing. Then the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the war. The Huston Plan, drawn up by a White House aide in 1970 and approved by Nixon, proposed break-ins and black-bag jobs aimed at radicals, especially anti-Vietnam activists. The plan was rescinded, but many were kept under surveillance. Nixon explicitly ratified the use of illegal break-ins when he ordered aides to “blow the safe” at the Brookings Institution in Washington in search of Vietnam secrets from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. That order was also never carried out, but soon after Nixon issued it, Mitchell and others came up with the idea of breaking into the Democratic committee offices. Ultimately, deceit and lawlessness forced Nixon from office, and sent twenty-two of his colleagues to jail.10

We have learned more about the Nixon presidency than about any other, but, astoundingly, there is much more to come. Nearly 2,700 hours of Nixon tapes have been released, but 774 hours more are still being withheld for various reasons. So are hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million pages of White House documents. Some of this material is still classified; some involves personal records of the Nixon family; some is being withheld without explanation. Eventually everything will come out, assuring that Nixon will live on as the subject of new books with new revelations. None of this seems likely to be exculpatory.

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