Friday, December 29, 2006

The Watergate Legacy

As I consider the death of Jerry Ford and how he became president, I can't help but think of Watergate and what it really means in American history. Most people think that it meant the Richard Nixon was a crook who disgraced the office, but I would not be suprised if every president, and major candidate, since the technology became available did not do the same thing to their opponents.

The real tragedy is something else entirely. Prior the party out of power accepted, if only in the short term, that someone else was president, not the man they wanted and they made the best of the situation. With Watergate it was learned that a President could be brought down by a scandal and it was at least tried with every president since Ford. The Independent Prosecutor's Office became a partisan hammer and both sides used it. The party that did not have the presidency, instead of bi-partisanship, concentrated on undermining and bringing down the president as was proven possible at Watergate.

Equally tragic was the media. The newspapers saw themselves as Kingslayers and became drunk with a sense of power. Instead of simply reporting the facts they saw themselves as knights in shining armor bringing down a politician.

What happened to Nixon was the least of the horrible things that were brought about by Watergate.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Shop, I have to ask though
what scandal did carter have that the media piled on? I know the media has tried to take down every Republican President. Clinton, well he brought all of that on himself, and the media sat on it until Drudge broke it, and did nothing to harm their boy.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Yes, the Independent Prosecutor's Office, is the worst legacy. Nixon was flawed (too arrogant and cynical for my tastes) but history will show that he was the smartest man in the WH in decades just as it will show that Ford was the most decent.

12:56 PM  
Blogger gawfer said...

Indeed!
You are absolutely correct 'Rat. We have seen the NYT's and the WP's and the LAT's become so corrupt they publish classified and even secret information outside of the scope of good sense. When asked not to by the State Dept., they is essense thumbed their noses at the leadership voted into office by the people of the United States, and took the security of our nation into their own hands. I don't know about you, but I did NOT vote for Bill Keller.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good post shop! as innocent as watergate seems now it was the beginning of many political missions and a great deal of media involvement in places where media had not been before.

8:55 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Steven Just before the hostage crisis blew it out of the water, Jimmy's brother Billy was involved in lobbying illegally for Libya and Jimmy appeared to know about it and looked the other way, but the hostage crisis (understandably) drew attention from this.

pjc He was smart but not very wise.

gawfer and dml The press thinks they should run the country.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Skip said...

As far as I see it, there has been a lack of respect for the office.... good or bad, In the days before Nixon, the press would not have dared to ask questions like "President Kennedy did you have sex with that girl??" Should they have kept it that way? I think so... Granted I am a little more open minded and accepting than most, I still feel that private moments are called that for a reason

5:33 PM  

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