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Old 03-09-2021, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Iowa
3,211 posts, read 3,775,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly Q. Bobalink View Post
Is that really settled history, that Nixon was aware of the break-in and spying before the fact? I only remember him being charged with the cover-up. I have to wonder how history would have evolved had he stayed in office (if he would have not been involved to begin with, and not covered up the break-in). With Nixon (honorably) completing his second term, would Ford have run in 1976? Would the R's have captured another term if not for Watergate? Would the Iranian Hostage crisis gone down the same way? Have historians ever war-gamed that scenario?
As it was, Liddy was told not to use White House people on the break in team. Liddy betrayed his orders and used James McCord, whom was the White House security chief, McCord was the man whom would eventually bring down the house of cards, he was getting old and did not want to do a long stretch in prison, so he ratted out John Dean and Jeb Magruder to get a lighter sentence. Up to that point, the cover up was working great and Nixon was in the clear. Nixon probably knew about the break in team, but did not know how inept and ill suited these men were for this type of job.

If Nixon would have called off Watergate, then things proceed differently for sure. Nixon wanted a national healthcare plan and there's a pretty good chance it gets done with Nixon's reputation intact. However, this probably retards some of the advancements in healthcare over the coming years, as there would not be as much money gushing into that field without the unrestricted blood letting. Agnew still goes down in '73 and I'm fairly sure Ford is not picked to be Nixon's new VP, Connally probably refuses again so who knows for sure, but Reagan is fast tracked to become the republican nominee in '76, on the dem side, Carter's anti corruption new guy angle does not work as well as it did with Nixon resigning. Not sure why Ted Kennedy did not run in '76 but I think Reagan and Carter might go head to head under very different circumstances than they did in '80, with Reagan having the edge being governor of California, a tougher job than gov of Georgia. The economy would be the main focus in that election, but possibly Vietnam is still in the picture, with a strong Nixon in '74 - '76, perhaps he is more persuasive than Ford in getting funds for South Vietnamese army to sustain them longer, and North Vietnam hesitates a while longer before invading Saigon, fearing what Nixon might do.

Whomever wins in '76, with Iran policy, even if they prop up the Shah, he gets weak and dies before his son is old enough to take over..... big problem there, no easy way to fix that without invading Iran and finding someone to run the country until sonny boy grows up. This probably would have failed if they did not get Khomeini out of the way. The US economy would still be in bad shape for a while, and I'm not all that sure Reagan could turn it around in 4 years, he might be a one term president like Carter was, or maybe Carter wins in '80 and the economy recovers under his first term, and he wins a second term. Maybe Ted wins in '80.

Last edited by mofford; 03-09-2021 at 10:51 PM..
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Old 03-10-2021, 02:17 AM
Status: "Alea iacta est" (set 11 days ago)
 
12,654 posts, read 6,844,714 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly Q. Bobalink View Post
Is that really settled history, that Nixon was aware of the break-in and spying before the fact? I only remember him being charged with the cover-up. I have to wonder how history would have evolved had he stayed in office (if he would have not been involved to begin with, and not covered up the break-in). With Nixon (honorably) completing his second term, would Ford have run in 1976? Would the R's have captured another term if not for Watergate? Would the Iranian Hostage crisis gone down the same way? Have historians ever war-gamed that scenario?
I enjoy your level of inquiry. I hadn't given much thought to that perspective.

Yes Nixon falls under the following :
Definition. Someone aiding in or contributing to the commission or concealment of a felony, e.g. by assisting in planning or encouraging another to commit a crime (an accessory before the fact) or by helping another escape arrest or punishment (an accessory after the fact).

So I think his involvement was "knowing" and then concealing ( His secretary "cough" accidently erased the tapes) .
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Old 03-10-2021, 03:08 AM
 
4,065 posts, read 1,782,072 times
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Nixon was not an evil man, and his goals were for the good of the nation.

He was convicted of: Adopted: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, contempt of Congress
Rejected: usurping congressional war powers, tax fraud

In the big picture of governing a nation, how trivial are those charges. Every time an accused pleads innocence, justice is obstructed, but gets over it. Why else would anyone aspire to power, but to abuse it? Congress often richly deserves contempt.

A great deal more harm was done to America by our zeal to punish, than by the crimes themselves.
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Old 03-10-2021, 04:14 AM
 
Location: HONOLULU
1,017 posts, read 369,007 times
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Nixon was a cop. And he was impeached. Richard Nixon. He was in the Navy reserve in WWII. So he was a military man. He popularized sports so much to the point of putting former football college players and telling them go teach in high school. And teach them what you learned in college football, hard work takes you places.

Last edited by tyCable; 03-10-2021 at 04:24 AM..
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:52 AM
 
13,331 posts, read 12,524,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arr430 View Post
Nixon was not an evil man, and his goals were for the good of the nation.

He was convicted of: Adopted: obstruction of justice, abuse of power, contempt of Congress
Rejected: usurping congressional war powers, tax fraud

In the big picture of governing a nation, how trivial are those charges. Every time an accused pleads innocence, justice is obstructed, but gets over it. Why else would anyone aspire to power, but to abuse it? Congress often richly deserves contempt.

A great deal more harm was done to America by our zeal to punish, than by the crimes themselves.
How old were you when Watergate occurred? Or were you born yet?

I don't challenge the idea that Nixon's motives were not to steal money or based on avarice. What I believe is that the motives were based on the acquisition and maintenance of power. This is not a good or acceptable motive particularly within a republic.

Let's look at what was actually done. After the Watergate burglary, Nixon and his closest aides met in the Oval Office and discussed how they could prevent the burglars from testifying truthfully about what had actually occurred. What Nixon and his aides knew was that the burglary of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate had been ordered by men who worked inside the White House. They were placing bugs inside the DNC, so they could tap telephones and be privy to everything their political opponents were saying. Nixon had authorized the creation of a special unit that had the nickname "the Plumbers" that was designed specifically to tap phones and commit other illegal acts. Nixon knew that much. That, in and of itself was a gross abuse of power.

However, it gets much worse. Nixon and his aides decided that the best way to prevent the Watergate burglars from testifying truthfully about the break in was to pay them off. There is a discussion that appears on the White House tapes where Nixon is conspiring with his top aides to pay off the families of the burglars. Nixon is heard quite distinctly saying "It would be no problem to get a million dollars for this purpose". Subsequently, men who worked for Nixon carried suitcases full of cash all over this country. These were delivered to the families of the burglars in exchange for the silence of these men during federal criminal proceedings. It is a textbook case of the commission of the criminal offense of obstruction of justice.

These were not "trivial charges". They are offenses which strike at the heart of the judicial process and when committed by the president, they inflict what could have been mortal blows upon government by the people. Criminal offenses committed by the leader of the nation that go unpunished destroy respect for the law. They cause every citizen to doubt the legitimacy of the law and our judicial system. The reason "Deep Throat" came forward (he was an assistant director of the FBI) is because he knew his boss, Attorney General John Mitchell, was part of the conspiracy. Nixon's offenses threatened the very viability of a two hundred year old system that was designed to be government by the people, for the people.

The subsequent investigation into the Watergate Scandal revealed other abuses of power. It was learned that Nixon had authorized another burglary. When Daniel Ellsburg was being prosecuted for leaking information to the New York Times, Nixon authorized the burglary of his psychiatrist's office to try to obtain incriminating information about him. Hundreds of people had their phones tapped. During the election of 1972, an office was created to smear Nixon's political opponents with totally false and malicious accusations.

There literally came a point where for the sake of the republic, Nixon had to be forced from office.
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:36 PM
 
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^^^^^ I was in my 30's, but living outside the US at the time, so my day to day awareness of it may have had a diffident slant.

There is nothing wrong with your summation, but I still dispute its importance.

It wasn't about national security or administrative power, it was about partisan politics, in a year when a landslide election was hardly in doubt. Most other presidents were guilty of much more shameful abuses, but they were "popular" abuses, so they were given a pass.
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Old 03-10-2021, 09:32 PM
 
Location: The High Desert
13,847 posts, read 8,024,073 times
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The happy Nixon may not have been evil but he had an "evil twin" aspect that was very ugly and vindictive. There was a character flaw that allowed him to be gracious, open doors with China, conduct fragile diplomacy, be a reformer in some respects while being secretive, underhanded, vengeful, and bigoted. Nixon had help in these ugly facets of his life from FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson, Hoover's protégé, deputy and frequent companion for 25 years. If there was dirt to be dug, Hoover had it or else a shovel. Tolson helped or just held his beer. Hoover died in 1972 and Tolson retired a few days later so Nixon had to find his own way.

Not to worry. He had already established, through John Ehrlichman, "the White House Plumbers" in 1971. That September they burgled the office of Daniel Ellsburg's psychiatrist to steal the medical records. (Ellsburg released the Pentagon Papers in June, 1971.) The burglary operation was botched. The bunglers went on to other tasks including participation in the Watergate break-in. This was all Nixon lashing out at his enemies. His fingerprints may not be physically found but he was certainly involved. The Plumbers and their operations were made public as things fell apart around Nixon. The President's "fixers" were a 'who's who' of shady characters, ex-CIA operatives, corrupt advisors and politicians, and loose cannons. It is odd to me that Nixon trusted these people with his future and legacy but he seemed to attract or foster that kind of covert unlawful behavior.

Last edited by SunGrins; 03-10-2021 at 10:27 PM..
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:25 AM
 
7,070 posts, read 8,751,567 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mofford View Post
. Not sure why Ted Kennedy did not run in '76
Chappaquiddick.
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Old 03-11-2021, 02:28 PM
 
197 posts, read 98,639 times
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Nixon would often blow off steam giving outrageous orders in the heat of the moment. He appears to have meant them at the time, but most of the time his subordinates had the wisdom to disregard his more problematic demands. But Nixon's circle included some dubious characters, and sometimes they didn't have their president's back. Colson and Liddy come to mind. None of this absolves Nixon of anything. No professional should be so out of control that he needs aides to ignore his unhinged and sometimes illegals directives.

It was all quite a tragedy. Nixon was paranoid, particularly about intellectuals and Jews. The former is a curious fixation, for he was one of the most intelligent men to occupy the Oval Office in the 20th century. The latter was just an ancient trope of a prejudice, fodder for fools that aside from its immorality should have been far beneath a man as capable of critical thinking as was Richard Nixon.

His life was Shakespearean, save for the ending. He didn't learn much and stuck to his excuses and rationalizations to the lingering end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
I think Nixon's resignation, crimes, and personality will forever get in the way of accurately judging his accomplishments. We spent a long time studying his administrative policies, budgeting practices and domestic policy when I was in graduate school. He actually tried to increase rationality into government administration. He certainly was anti-communist to the core but saw the folly of our China policy.

He lost it with his paranoia and his enemies list. The break-in at Watergate was absolutely unnecessary as McGovern was not gaining any real traction in the election. He just could not step away from pursuing his imagined demons. He would be well respected had he been a one-term president.
It should be noted that at the time of the break-in (June 17, 1972) it was not at all clear that George McGovern would be the Democratic nominee. Muskie and then Humphrey had led the polls up until June, with McGovern steadily rising. Muskie withdrew in late April, and it was then a dead heat between Humphrey, McGovern and Wallace - and though Wallace stayed in the race after being shot in May, he was no longer a serious candidate.

However, by June Nixon's approval rating was hovering near the 60% mark, having gradually improved from around 50%, where it had been since early 1971. It appears that regardless of who the Democrats nominated, the data strongly indicated a successful Nixon reelection. So in that respect, it was indeed foolish of Nixon to risk everything with the 'dirty tricks'.

He was, as you say a man consumed by his demons.
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Old 03-17-2021, 12:45 PM
 
2,166 posts, read 2,558,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly Q. Bobalink View Post
Is that really settled history, that Nixon was aware of the break-in and spying before the fact? I only remember him being charged with the cover-up. I have to wonder how history would have evolved had he stayed in office (if he would have not been involved to begin with, and not covered up the break-in). With Nixon (honorably) completing his second term, would Ford have run in 1976? Would the R's have captured another term if not for Watergate? Would the Iranian Hostage crisis gone down the same way? Have historians ever war-gamed that scenario?
Wait, wasn't the problem that Tricky Dick *covered it up* rather than that it happened?

Wasn't he not aware of it happening at first, as evidenced by all his outraged expletives at his subordinates upon the discovery of it? (on the tapes, that is)?

Last edited by NickB1967; 03-17-2021 at 01:03 PM..
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