Republicans Fiddled Why Washington Burned
For those of you over sixty, you will remember the American saga referred to as Watergate. For those of you younger, some much younger, you may remember it from school and for those who have no clue, read on!
Richard Nixon was, up until January 20, 2017, the most paranoid, media-hating, schizophrenic, thin-skinned President this country had ever had. He did, however, have good traits. He was very intelligent; politically moderate, by today’s standards a flaming liberal; extremely knowledgeable in the area of foreign affairs: and was a master politician, in the good sense of the term (he was also a flawed politician in the bad sense of the term). I point that out because I have yet to see any good traits in this current President.
Nixon allowed the dark side of his persona to overrule the bright side and the result was disaster. When he was elected many of us predicted something bad would happen, which turned out to be Watergate. But if not, it would have been something else. The same scenario can be predicted for Trump.
The side bar story of Watergate, and one that does not get enough ink in academia, the media and even in historical writings, is the role the Republican Party and leadership in the Congress played in all this.
When the story broke of the Watergate break-in in June of 1972 (Nixon’s re-election year) it was dismissed by every republican in the country. Nixon himself called it a “third-rate burglary”. The democrats yelled, demanded an investigation and alleged a cover-up. The press, as they so often do, wrote a little, gave more weight to the comments from the administration and dismissed the democrats’ claim of insisting this was part of a systematic game plan from CREEP. (The Committee to Re-Elect the President). An earlier break-in under the direction of CREEP was the first “smoking gun”, which was given lip-service by the press initially.
Not until two intrepid reporters from the Washington Post were given the full go-ahead by their Editor, Ben Bradley, did the effort finally come forth to investigate just what caused all this “distraction” called Watergate, Nixon’s word not mine.
And even then, the full gravitas of the issue did not gain traction until Congress started investigating, which led to all the discoveries, along with the gutsy rulings of one Judge John Sirica. Finally, republicans started to peel off and separate themselves from THEIR President and develop a case for his impeachment. If you go back and look at the timeline of the comments starting with the republicans’ full-throated defense of Nixon and their denials of any wrong-doings (mid 1972) to their pronouncements that they saw no way to save this Presidency (mid 1974), you will see a party that turned its collective head, lied right along with Nixon and his henchmen, against all odds, to protect and preserve their man. NOT the office, but Nixon alone.
ONLY when it was incontrovertible that he was part of the crime did they run like scalded dogs to isolate themselves from him and, in a weird way, hung him out to dry.
This same scenario is playing out again. Must this country once again be subjected to a deeply flawed Republican President being empowered by a bunch (with a few notable and laudable exceptions) of lapdog republican leaders who will dismiss anything he does, illegal or not, just because all they care about is power and winning? Forget governing, forget representing ALL the people, and forget following the Rule of Law.
At some point in time it will be obvious, after much anguish is heaped upon this country, that Trump must go at which point all the republican leaders will try to put on their shining armor. Until that point arrives, they will continue to turn their head, dismiss factual allegations, swallow hard and go along with his madman rantings. Then they will say they fought him all along, they are not to blame and, by the way, the democrats are the ones to blame!
So far at the outset of this Administration, we have seen numerous examples of republicans turning their head to most of what they had previously stood for and ran campaigns on.
More than half of what Trump says he will do, legally requires Congressional action. Will Congress step up and step in to say no? Keep a scorecard. See how many things he wants they deliver on and how many they push back on. See how far he can push the envelope before any meaningful number of republicans in leadership say that is enough!
When Trump started gaining traction in the primaries, many republicans were caught off-guard, as I wrote earlier. Then when he was nominated, many still felt they must lose with him to ultimately gain. Now that he is in office, almost all have rallied around him because the person in the White House has the (R) by his name. They no longer get a pass.
If and when Trump goes, and I think it is only a matter of when, do not let the republican party off the hook. They will be just as culpable.