Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Different Explanation for Nixon's Ouster

President Nixon is such a unique case in American electoral politics. Neil Young said Nixon had a rock star's career path and wrote a song about Nixon "Campaigner". No one has accomplished what Nixon did with his '68/'72 victories after his defeats in '60 (POTUS) and '62 (CA Gov). His resignation and the scandal that forever stains his presidency seem a bit odd as time passes. Maybe Nixon's genius rehabilitation efforts have worked on me, but I now find I'm sitting in that Murphy Brown position of thinking "Nixon got a bad deal" (season 6 "Angst for the Memories"). Roger L. Simon's recent column on the media coup that happened with Watergate, and the media running the show todaygot me thinking about Watergate causes. The lesson from Watergate was 'the cover up is worse than the crime' or 'the cover up is what nails you'. Looking deeper at Watergate, the lesson should be that the leviathan United States Government and it's true power holders, the media and universities, will not be stopped.

Nixon had an awesome resume and a brilliant mind (graduated 3rd in his Duke Law class). He was also raised in a strict household with great strain, and those demons tormented him throughout his political career. He rose to fame as part of the HUAC Commie hearings, especially his actions and handling of the Alger Hiss case. He was a fierce anti-communist who rode that wave to VP on Ike's ticket. Per the book Nixonland, he was also everything the East Coast Establishment hated, but he used that to his advantage to tap that outsider vibe that many non-SWPL americans felt. His domestic policy was basically rubber stamping the lib creations of Congress. Nixon created government programs and departments that no Republican wants now (EPA/OSHA). He also closed the gold window and began the oddities of the '70s stagflation and even our current financial distress. He had a fantastic approach to foreign policy. His methods varied per the problem or the opponent, completely contrasting the current "one size fits all overthrow + create a democracy" method. His interest was in US security and fighting back against the spread of Communism. His Vietnamization strategy for the Vietnam War allowed for US withdrawal in and orderly fashion, his Middle East balancing act as well as opening relations with China which took advantage of the Sino-Soviet split and then detente. It is superhawkish, but I look at the Operation Condor policy as a necessary evil to combat the psychopaths in Commie movements in South America. Ever talk to kids who grew up
under Communism? Their stories will forever stick with me. Nixon got run out for covering up a burglary by minions down the chain on his campaign staff.

Nixon got nervous and didn't just nip it quickly. How fast does the story die if there is no cover up and when questioned about it months later, Nixon says "we had some low level staff get overzealous, and they will go to jail for their actions"? Believe me, if you read Nixonland, you'll read how the Dems, especially the convention, in '72 were such a mess that McGovern had no shot in hell. Nixon won every state except Massachusetts, so I doubt a small burglary in the back pages of the Wapo would've made waves. The real driver of the Watergate scandal was the defensive moves by the FBI as Nixon tried to clean it up with an outsider as well as the desire of the media to assert their place at the top of the pecking order.

Motive #1 - FBI power struggle that insiders wanted to see go their way. The Deep Throat source spoonfed Woodward and Bernstein, mere crime beat reporters, the information of the FBI's investigation. Why? Felt was passed over for promotion to the top spot as Nixon attempted to appoint an outsider to clean up the FBI after Hoover's death. Felt guided the Watergate reporting, and without him, do Woodward and Bernstein even make the connections to that small time burglary and CREEP? Felt's fight against Nixon's attempt to reduce the autonomy of the FBI and bring it under presidential control smells strongly of the Cathedral wanting to assert itself.
 
Motive #2 - Nixon's admin in '71-'72 made power moves w/media. Nixon's strong Silent Majority speech tested well, and was punced on immediately by the media on TV as it was broadcast. Nixon's team used a speech at the Regional Republican Conference in Des Moines by VP Agnew a week later on television as well to target the media's control over public opinion. Agnew's money line quote in the speech is:
 
"The American people would rightly not tolerate this kind of concentration of power in government. is it not fair and relevant to question its concentration in the hands of a tiny and closeted fraternity of privileged men, elected by no one and enjoying a monopoly sanctioned by government?"
 
Agnew speech struck at the heart and power of television news. He was swinging at the media. He was going after the Cathedral. The key part is the very last bit I quoted. Agnew recognizes that this is an unelected crew of powerful men who have tv station licensing granted by the very government they skewer when not controlled by Democrats. The media was legitimately cared about licensing. This was pre-cable. If the stations were not licensed, how can a network exist? It was powerful. The Cathedral was just figuring out TV, and this was a tool they would need to work on and use to their advantage. How else did northerners learn about the Civil Rights struggle? How else was Vietnam's horrors shown to people eating their TV dinners?
 
Notice the Watergate timeline of when reporting started on Watergate. The break in happens on June 17th at 2:30am. By the print time on June 20th, the no. 2 man in the FBI is tipping reporters to look into this burglary. There are some theorists who think Nixon feared the burglary was a set up already to make him look bad. To this day, G. Gordon Liddy still doesn't know why they broke in (he has some odd theories). Even if Nixon's crew did order this, and he was busted not just for the break in but for the corruption in his admin, including insane fundraising, this does seem like theater of the plot against the king sort. "Cathedral takes Nixon down using small time crime reporters uncovering a giant conspiracy with the no. 2 man in the FBI leading them at every step of the way." It's a brilliant coup. Cathedral asserts control as it explains in the theater of Congress, TV and power that now a POTUS cannot break the law but the media can do whatever it takes to do it's job: mold public opinion.

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