Watergate revisited | New NY 23rd

Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?–Bob Dylan

If Nixon goes free, I don’t think anyone should be found guilty of anything.–Statement of a prospective juror circa 1974. The judge warned him about contempt of court, but let him go unpunished.

The current administration seems determined to rerun Watergate. Here is the cast:

  • Nixon/Trump
  • Agnew/Pence
  • Mitchell/Sessions
  • Dean/McGahn

(Trump is not Nixon in many ways; unlike Pence, Agnew was a criminal; Mitchell and Dean were conspirators in a way that Sessions and McGahn may not be.)

Here is the plot:

  • Crime
  • Lies
  • Exposure
  • Desperate action

President Trump, lying about his actions, ranting about those investigating his crimes, threatening to fire investigators, and suggesting pardons for cronies, echos the unfolding of Watergate.

I don’t remember scandal around the 1968 election. As I remember, Nixon gave two reasons for selecting Agnew as his running mate.

  • Agnew made Democrats see red
  • No one would wish him ill if Agnew would be his successor

Pence may have been selected for other reasons, but he does meet Nixon’s criteria. As it happened, Agnew was replaced with Gerald Ford before Nixon resigned.

By 1972 Nixon, paranoid and determined to be a two-term president, was up to his neck in crime.

Watergate didn’t reach its conclusion until Republicans saw Nixon as an insufferable liability. We must be near that point now with a criminal conspiracy unraveling, potential for self-serving pardons, another “Saturday Night Massacre” possible, and midterm elections looming.

What’s next for Trump? If the analogy with Watergate holds, we already know how the drama ends.

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