Saturday, August 09, 2014

40 Years Later: Maybe America Owes Nixon An Apology

Forty years ago yesterday, Richard Nixon told America he would resign the Presidency at noon on August 9, to then-Vice President Gerald Ford, after he faced certain impeachment by the House of Representatives for his part in trying to cover-up the Watergate burglary in 1972 (Fox News).

He had seen it coming for a long time – but that didn’t make doing it any easier. As early as April 1973, 16 months before the act, President Richard Nixon mused aloud about resigning his office. Now, at last, the hour of decision was upon him.

How had it come to this? Against incredible odds and amid explosive upheavals, this brooding and solitary creature, now facing ignominy on an unparalleled scale, had been one of America’s most popular and enduring politicians: one of only two men in U.S. history – Franklin D. Roosevelt was the other – to have appeared on a national ticket five times.

Indeed, it was only after losing the presidency by a hair’s breadth to John F. Kennedy in 1960 that Nixon had gone on to win the presidency twice. His re-election, in November 1972, marked one of America’s greatest landslides and as clear a vote of confidence from the American people as any incumbent could ever hope to receive: Forty-nine states, 60.7 percent of the popular vote, 97 percent of the electoral vote.

How, indeed, had it come to this? Had everyone forgotten the bombings, the riots, the street crime, the weekly body bags from Vietnam, the chaos and craziness that had torn America asunder from1968 to 1971? Had they forgotten the opening to China, the SALT nuclear accord with the Soviets, the rescue of Israel in the Yom Kippur War? How had he, the president, allowed the fantastical cast of characters in Watergate to entrap him, Lilliputians to his Gulliver? How had everything gone so wrong?

None of that mattered anymore, really – now, on the eighth of August, 1974, what mattered was simply that he had to do it: He had to resign, to become the first U.S. president ever to abdicate the office before his term was over. For the business of resignation, there was no road map: no historical precedent for Nixon to model, no pinstriped Wise Men with experience in this realm to consult, no former presidents alive to counsel the man soon to become America’s first and only ex-president.

When he began, the 37th American president bade his viewers and listeners a good evening and noted that this was the 37th time he had addressed them from the Oval Office. That there was something foreordained, a sense of grim fate, about the Nixon presidency was not lost on the man who embodied it. Nixon spoke of the erosion of his political base in Congress, without which he saw no point in fighting the Watergate impeachment drive to its conclusion. “The interests of the Nation,” he said, “must always come before any personal considerations.”

I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interests of America first. America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad.

To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.

Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

The speech was received well. In their instant analysis – the advent of which, in his first term, had driven Nixon bonkers: Who the hell were Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather to tell the American people what to think thirty seconds after the president had just finished addressing them on Vietnam? – the team at CBS News generally spoke approvingly. “It seemed to me as effective, magnanimous, a speech as Mr. Nixon has ever made,” said commentator Eric Sevareid, “and I suppose there’d be many, even among his critics, who will say that perhaps few things in his presidency became him as much as his manner of leaving the presidency. Certainly, no attacks on his enemies, none on the press. ... I think people will find it very hard to find fault with this.”

Rather, perhaps Nixon’s most spirited antagonist in the White House press corps, emphasized the rule of law in America, and said Nixon’s address “made clear that he respects that. He understands that. He has that appreciation and that awe for it. ... He gave to this moment a touch of class; more than that, a touch of majesty, touching that nerve in most people that says to their brain: We revere the presidency, we respect the president; the Republic and the country comes first.”

In the years since, and especially every tenth anniversary, all the Watergate Cast of Characters come out of the woodwork to pat themselves on the backs over their accomplishment. This year is no different, another Woodward & Bernstein appearance. Ten years ago, all the comparisons of Nixon to Bush (from John Dean, no less), seemed like a bunch of Leftists eager to relive their salad days of the 1960s and mid-1970s all over again. A Republican President who they could label "corrupt" and "secretive" and try to bring down.

We saw what Dan Rather did in 2004, no doubt he wanted to relive Watergate with the use of phony documents.  Just like he went after George W.'s dad in 1988 with a hatchet interview (where the elder Bush got the better of the slimy liberal Rather).

Politically, I've never been much of a fan of Richard Nixon, and I won't excuse what he did. Covering up the crimes of those under him was wrong.  But seeing what is has been going on the last few years, I think perhaps that Richard Nixon is owed an apology from the American people.

Why? Can you name me one person who was killed as a result of Watergate? No one was murdered and their deaths covered up?  Yet what do we have at Benghazi, and yet the same media that brought Nixon down, as well as the Democrat Party, could care less and are arguably protecting Richard Milhous Obama, instead of investigating what happened.

Here's another reason. The following is from Article II of the Articles of Impeachment that were to be voted upon against Nixon, which read:
Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.

This conduct has included one or more of the following:
He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
He misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.
Richard Milhous Obama has been able to do what Nixon had an impeachment charge brought against him for merely suggesting, using the IRS as a political tool against ideological opponents. Obama achieved this end by having like-minded appointees like Lois Lerner working at the IRS, who have a hate for conservatives and religious people. Now we are seeing how the IRS is going to go after churches for the messages preached behind their pulpit.

I haven't yet talked about Obamacare and how that was done in a way that defrauded the nation, nor how Obama has acted in ways that circumvent the separation of powers as outlined in the Constitution.

And yet where is Woodward and Bernstein? Where's the same media? Where's John Dean? Where are the Democrats? All silent, because Obama doesn't have an "R" by his name.

John Adams has been quoted as stating that America was supposed to be a "government of laws, not of men."  Is that still the case?  Because we sure have a selective outrage when it comes to the person sworn to faithfully "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America."

What Richard Nixon did was wrong, but what Obama is being allowed to get away with is more destructive to the rule of law and our Constitution that what happened 40 years ago. And if the media today says nothing out of fear of guilt, but will endlessly relive the bringing down of Nixon, then I think we should be honest and apologize to the Nixon family for the double-standard they have had to live with.

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