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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 02:50 PM
Original message
"That statement is no longer operative."
Being a short lesson in history for the under 40 crowd, and how it MAY (I am hopeful) repeat itself.

The statement in the subject line was made when Nixon was caught in an absolute, straight-up (no ice), bald-faced lie. It has been attributed to Ron Ziegler*, his press secretary, but may have come from H.R. Haldeman*, Nixon's chief of staff. Even then, no one in the Republican party would say the president lied, or fibbed, or even "prevaricated" (which would have sent a few folks to their American Heritage Unabridged). Nope. Just "That statement is no longer operative". As I remember, there were incredulous looks from the press, followed by howls of laughter. No one had yet come up with the wonderful "case closed", which wouldn't have mattered anyway.
It was the beginning of the end.

The point is that it wasn't one huge whopper that brought down Nixon and most of his staff*. It was a series of ever growing fudging and half-truths and withheld information and spinning (didn't have that term yet, either) that eventually created the big whoppers that did it. I certainly see the same pattern, only moreso, with this administration. I can only hope the history is once again the harbinger of future events.

*Ziegler did say that Watergate was "a third rate burglary". Right.
*Haldeman said (referring to the mire they had gotten themselves into) "Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, you can't put it back in". Really right.
*Nixon felons: (from bartcop)"Then came Richard M. Nixon, and a cavalcade of major scandals and convictions, involving (among other things) such crimes against the state as political burglary, bribery, extortion, wiretapping, conspiracy, and illegal use of the C.I.A., I.R.S., and F.B.I. Most of these crimes are now lumped together under the collective heading of Watergate.
The results:
One presidential resignation.
One vice-presidential resignation.
40 federal officials indicted.
Attorney-General John Mitchell, convicted and jailed.
White House officials H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Charles Colson, John Dean, convicted and jailed.
Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, "plumbers" and ex-White House officials, convicted and jailed.
James McCord, Committee for the Re-election of the President (CREEP), convicted and jailed.
The reaction to Watergate, and to Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon, brought the election of Jimmy Carter to the White House."
http://www.thebird.org/bartcop/convictions2.htm
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JitterbugPerfume Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. thanks for the summary
It gives one HOPE , doesn't it?
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. "A Place Called Hope"
Gives me the warm fuzzies all over again.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
2. Trof, I love this.
Brings back such warm happy memories.

What was that thing they used to say? -- "A modified limited hang-out" or something like that. There were various carefully calibrated degrees of "letting it all hang out."

And just so people really understand how long it took, Nixon was actually re-elected AFTER the stories started to come out. It was a very long process.

(What a DARK post-election day that was. But not as bad as post-selection day 2000.)

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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. A postscript
Yep, they managed to keep a lid on it until after the election. I remember it well. It was the first time I voted. I was in my early 30s and our baby girl had just arrived. I decided it was time for me to at least ACT a little more grown up.

I had been fairly apolitical until then, but I thought Watergate was a big deal from the git go. I voted for McGovern. My friends mostly laughed at me and said it wasn't a big deal, "Aw...it's just a bunch of bullshit. The dems do the same thing. It's nothing."

I don't claim to be an astute political prognosticator, but I was sure as hell right that time.
I so hope I'm right this time too.

It was a time when you still thought the right would prevail because it was...just...right.
I don't feel that way any more.
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TheBigGuy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. "Nixons Ende"
I was in Germany when Tricky Dicky finally resigned. We heard it first on German radio while driving around, and then swithced to AFN to get the news in English.

That night, on German TV, they had a special news show, "Nixons Ende", that chronicled the whole sorrry affair.

I do recall this was sort of a slow start, too. I think the burglary had happened in the later days of the McGovern campaign...and for some reason it hit the news (who burgles political party HQs anyway)....speculation began early that something fishy was up.

But also recall the Democrats did control Congress, so could actually investigate this.

With Bush, the GOP is running the show, so I dont expect much to happen.
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Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks for your historical perspective
Edited on Sun Jul-13-03 12:11 PM by Sophree
I was born post-Watergate so I don't have anything to gauge this by.

Although, this seems MUCH worse. The general public back then seemed to know that Nixon had lied about a cover up. If they weren't astute political observers, they didn't know about all the other abuses of power.

Now the public will know that * lied about NUCLEAR weapons to fabricate evidence to bring us to war. Americans do NOT like to be lied to or feel like they were bamboozled or tricked.

edited for typo
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GayboyBilly Donating Member (177 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Watergate
We are closer to another type of watergate than people realize.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-03 02:37 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. from your mouth to
<diety of your choice>'s ear.
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