Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Guts


I've lived through many Presidential scandals. This one certainly has all the elements of great drama - a war, intrigue, leaks, inter-bureau fighting, hard-ball politics and certainly colorful personalities.

The conventional wisdom is that no matter how damning the evidence is, Bush will not be impeached. Personally it's clear to me that Bush should have been removed from office for a number of offenses. But we do have a Republican dominated Congress that exists in a highly partisan atmosphere. It would seem that Fortress Bush is pretty well protected with, perhaps, some of his minions falling on their swords.

But then I got to thinking about the conventional wisdom a year ago. A continuous stream of patriotic whistle blowers has been banging away for years at Fortress Bush. Though these patriots have been repelled, they've left dents. But even with those dents, I don't think there were many people even entertaining the idea that Fitzgerald would actually come up with anything, much less be investigating the origins of the P.R. campaign to justify attacking Iraq. And it would have been downright clairvoyant to have predicted that Cheney would be in trouble, much less be asking WDTPKAWDHKI.

All of the happenings (including a re-watching of the movie "All the President's Men") got me thinking about Nixon, Watergate and Congress in 1972. Specifically, I was wondering how Congress was able to gain a largely bipartisan agreement that Nixon had to go. Sure, the Democrats held a majority at the time. But Nixon was quite popular and any action against Nixon would require bipartisan cover. And that eventually happened. How?

In doing a little googling, I came across this article written by Richard McGowan titled "Watergate Revisited". This piece gives a purported inside view of the Senate Watergate Committee, and specifically how the partisan divide created by Republicans Howard Baker and Fred Thompson (yes, that Fred Thompson) was overcome:
If one had searched for the most incompetent group of politicians—politically biased in every way—you might have come up with the cast for the Senate Watergate Committee, more formally known as the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. Chairman Sam Erwin (D-N.C.) [in today's parlance a DINO), who reluctantly took the chairmanship, was often seen dozing during the hearings and tended to let others dictate the committee’s agenda. The Republican minority was led by Tennessee’s Howard Baker, the ambitious son-in-law of the powerful Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen. Baker, who maintained a close, personal relationship with the president, was the obvious White House plant on the rudderless committee. Baker was a “finalist” in Nixon’s original vice presidential sweepstakes, which went to Spiro Agnew. Later, Baker rejected Nixon’s offer of a seat on the Supreme Court following the rejections of Clement F. Haynsworth Jr. and G. Harrold Carswell.

Herman Talmadge (D-Ga.) [another DINO]loomed large and lethargic throughout the proceedings. Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) gave the impression he would prefer the whole smelly mess to blow away. Joseph Montoya (D-N.M.) was the laughing stock of the committee for his inane questions. The media reveled in the joke about Montoya sitting up late at night at home rehearsing yesterday’s questions.

At least the patrician Ed Gurney (R-Fla.) was totally honest about his support for Nixon. During the hearings, Gurney wrote a heartfelt note to the president in longhand, expressing his undying support. In return, he received a canned response from the White House correspondence office. That bureaucratic reply, and the mounting evidence, eventually drained some of the passion from his defense of the president. Further adding to the confusion were 60-odd staffers for the committee’s Democratic majority and 25 [lead by Thompson] for the Republican minority. The staff ran the gamut from brilliant to disastrous.
Sound familiar?

As in the current scandal with Bush, information was leaking and being developed by journalists and through the justice system...enough that the tip of the iceberg, Watergate, became important enough to investigate. But it turns out that there was a Republican hero by the name of Lowell Weicker Jr. Weicker was the Republican Senator from Connecticut who lead a staff of investigators that revealed many of the explosive revelations that came out of the Watergate hearings. While Weicker seems to have had a checkered Republican political career, he clearly was a patriot when it came to investigating Nixon:
And then there was Weicker—all 6’ 6” of him—the bull in the china shop, the Jolly Green Maverick who had no love for Nixon and Chuck Colson in particular.

...

Like no other member of the committee, Weicker was prepared. Before the panel was even formally announced, Weicker had formed his own investigative unit that interviewed scores of former and current White House employees and campaign officials. Weicker was astutely aware that there were bigger culprits out there than G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord. He zeroed in on Nixon’s chief-of-staff Bob Haldeman.

Weicker’s five-man team put in 16-hour days, and by April they found enough evidence so that the senator could confidently drop two bombs. First he called a press conference and implied his fellow senators were wasting resources concentrating on pawns like Liddy and McCord—which was precisely what the White House wanted—and overlooking bigger fish like Haldeman and former Attorney General John Mitchell who headed the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP).

At a follow-up press conference, Weicker called for Haldeman’s resignation since he supervised the people who planned and attempted to cover-up the Watergate break-in. Weicker was blasted by his fellow senators for speaking out of turn, but Weicker had achieved his goal in upping the ante of the investigation.
This leads me to this. Who in the Congress among the Republicans is going to be a real patriot this time? The conditions are ripe for a Republican to step forward for the good of the country, take a stand against Bush, and begin the cattle call for removing Bush from office.

Will it happen? Who knows, and anyone guessing today would say it ain't gonna happen. But I wonder. Despite having an awful lot of pessimism over the last five plus years, I think American patriotism survives.

I'm betting that someone steps up.

3 Comments:

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Lynne said...

"The conditions are ripe for a Republican to step forward for the good of the country, take a stand against Bush, and begin the cattle call for removing Bush from office."

Republican, Democrat, I don't care who it is. Someone get something started.
Great article.

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger Greyhair said...

I say Republican because it's a Republican Pres. It shouldn't be long before the dems start making hay....well maybe.....

 
At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how it has to be a lone hero. Barbara Boxer is one of mine. Anyway, while there's certainly strength in numbers, the leaders are preoccupied with CYA, chess game plotting, and personal economic and political advancement so the only numbers that have an effect seem to be us. And we will support that hoped-for hero.

BTW I had to look up WDTPKAWDHKI and found it here: http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/WDTPKAWDHKI
:)
dus7

 

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