My youngest daughter is 46 today (Aug. 19, 2018). I’ve done the birthday greeting via Facebook — had planned to be with her and her sister and others today but that will be in some days in the future.
So, she is 46 years old today. She was born basically at the beginning of my working career (after a stint in the army). And now I am at the other end, but still working at 69 years old, but that is another story.
Back on that day of my younger daughter’s birth the Watergate scandal had just begun and the steady drip, drip, drip made it clearer and clearer through the days and weeks and months that President Nixon was directly involved in the break-in, the burglary, of the Democratic Party national headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. In his successful bid for re-election, Nixon had directed some thuggish clowns to commit a felony. Of course campaign dirty tricks between Republicans and Democrats and others have been going on since there were elections. It turned out that the worse crime was covering up the crime. Had Nixon simply said in beginning: “well it looks like some of my campaign workers were a little over zealous and got caught. Whoops our bad”, it might have been left at that. But Nixon and his henchmen’s efforts to deny and cover up served as the impetus for Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein to do a lot of investigating, along with others in the press, most notably the New York Times.
But even with all the investigations and revelations, there would not have been enough to oust Nixon. It took a “smoking gun”, which turned out to be the Watergate tapes. Republican Nixon, following the practice of his predecessor, the Democrat Lyndon Johnson, secretly taped conversations in the oval office. I’ll bet that they were so used to it they forgot that they were taping themselves.
Nixon tried to prevent the tapes from being released. There is some evidence that a portion of them were erased on purpose by his secretary, but there was way more than enough left to show that he directed the break in and ordered the culprits to be paid off after they were caught red-handed, in an attempt to buy their silence.
Also, during the scandal it was brought out that Nixon used the power of the IRS to go after his enemies.
(It seems that practice might have survived. Under Barack Obama, a former IRS official seemed to have targeted some of his opposition — not clear evidence on that, but seems fishy. No idea whether Obama had any hand personally in all that — and at this point, who cares?)
With Nixon’s refusal to hand over evidence there was a constitutional crisis.
Today we face something similar. But it seems not to be as clear. But there is the steady drip, drip, drip in the ongoing Russia investigation that basically or purportedly is aimed at determining the extent Russian involvement in disrupting democracy in the U.S. and the possible collusion in it all with the Trump campaign and administration.
In Nixon’s case, the Supreme Court ordered him to hand over the tapes. The high court held that even as president he was not above the law.
Another constitutional crisis concerning whether the president is above the law, particularly while he is in office, is brewing. Trump himself has seemed to indicate that he is. His lawyers and other mouthpieces have at various times pointed in that direction (even though one of his lawyers is reportedly legitimately cooperating with investigators). Trump is pushing to have a man appointed to the Supreme Court who has opined that the president is above the law while in office (even though he was on the team that tried to oust Democrat Bill Clinton over his sex scandal).
But for anything to happen to Trump over the Russian investigation or the like, there would seem to have to be a smoking gun. He himself has made statements that almost amount to that, but since he says anything at anytime and then refutes it later, sometimes almost seconds later, his credibility is zero. It’s like Trump does not really need the protection against being forced to testify against himself, like we all have, because who would believe him?
A smoking gun could appear though.
But Trump with all of his outlandish and despicable behavior might be right in what he always claimed during his campaign: he said he gets people talking about and looking at issues they might not otherwise have addressed.
Meanwhile it seems for the time the Republican party has gone far right, so much so it is akin to the fascism or Nazism with all of its nationalistic and intolerant and anti-democracy characteristics and that in response the Democratic Party is being pulled to the left of the political spectrum, which strangely, history has shown, with communism, amounts to the same thing, even though it is supposed to be the opposite on the political spectrum.
We need the middle ground.