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Title: Trump’s Toadies Should Take Note: Watergate Says Everyone Goes Down
Source: Vanity Fair
URL Source: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/201 ... ergate-says-everyone-goes-down
Published: Nov 27, 2019
Author: Kevin M. Kruse
Post Date: 2019-11-27 10:50:41 by Willie Green
Keywords: None
Views: 507
Comments: 13

The lesson Nixon imparts to today’s POTUS loyalists is that courts of law and of public opinion will judge them harshly.

As the campaign to impeach and remove President Trump has intensified, so have the defenses from his most devoted underlings. Naturally, these have included individuals closest to him—his adult children, his attorneys, and White House officials.

More die-hard demagogues have taken fortified positions on Capitol Hill. As the impeachment inquiry kicks into gear, they are doing whatever they can to downplay the charges and delegitimize the process. In hearings, they demand evidence or dismiss it; in interviews, they dodge the problems and gum up the process. Throughout, they hope that the volume of their voices might overwhelm the volumes of evidence. These Trump loyalists have now lashed themselves to the presidential mast. And if Watergate is an American parable, most of them will go down too.

Richard Nixon avoided prison time thanks to a pardon, but all the president’s men weren’t so lucky. Four dozen were convicted of criminal charges, and about half did time—including Nixon’s chief of staff, White House counsel, top advisers, and attorney general. Some of Trump’s inner circle, including his lawyer and his campaign manager, are already locked up. Odds are, they won’t be the last.

Nixon’s congressional toadies avoided courts of law, but they couldn’t escape the court of public opinion. Republicans fared so badly in the 1974 elections that prominent conservatives pronounced the GOP DOA. The party’s name was “poisoned with negatives,” said strategist Richard Viguerie. It’d be easier to sell “Typhoid Mary, the Edsel, or tickets on the Titanic.” William Rusher, publisher of National Review, wanted to scrap it all and start fresh with a “Conservative Party,” led by Ronald Reagan or George Wallace.

Reports of the Republicans’ demise were greatly exaggerated, of course, as Reagan’s career made clear. No one waged a prouder defense of Tricky Dick. Everything had been “blown out of proportion,” the California governor said in 1973; the burglars “were not criminals at heart.” Even as evidence mounted over 1974, Reagan maintained the inquiry was nothing but “blatant” partisanship. Only in Nixon’s final days did he grudgingly back impeachment.

Reagan’s fealty didn’t harm his long-term prospects, but only because his prospects were long-term. He didn’t face voters in 1974. When he challenged Gerald Ford for the nomination in 1976, the man who’d given excuses for Nixon looked fine compared with the man who’d given him a pardon. By 1980, his water-carrying over Watergate was a non-issue. But in 1974, congressional Republicans didn’t have the luxury of Reagan’s long game. Over 200 GOP members of the House and Senate were on the ballot that fall and needed to convince voters that their action—or inaction—over the president’s conduct was correct.

No one felt the pressure more than Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. They were the first GOP officials who had to take an official vote on Nixon’s conduct. And, because he resigned before the full House and Senate weighed in, they would be the only ones to do so. In May 1974, when their closed-door hearings began, Time reported that 53 percent of Americans wanted Nixon removed. But that same poll stressed that a “hard-core” of 38 percent was “solidifying into a loyalist bastion that is supporting him with growing determination.”

This not-so-Silent Majority made its feelings clear. That same month, two columnists—liberal Marquis Childs and conservative James J. Kilpatrick—published excerpts from letters sent by “Nixon loyalists,” charging that the “rotten, slanted, and biased” media “brain-washed” voters against their “brilliant” president. They warned impeachment was a “political coup d’état” that would spark “chaos.”

These loyalists spent the summer making a show of their support for Nixon. One group unrolled a 20-foot-long petition in the Oval Office; another held a “pray-in” on the steps of the Capitol. As columnist Art Buchwald marveled, the protesters wore giant sandwich boards with the names and photos of congressmen: “I AM PRAYING FOR ______.”

For those in Congress, the message was unmistakable. “Nixon loyalists,” Washington Post columnist Joseph Alsop noted in June, “constitute from 30 to 60 percent of the voters who elected every single Republican member…. You can see how simple mathematics would therefore cause a strong, if reluctant, Republican consolidation behind the president.”

Initially, House Republicans—especially those on the judiciary committee—weren’t reluctant at all. Representative Edward Hutchinson, the ranking Republican, said Nixon shouldn’t be held accountable “for every little impeachable offense.” A millionaire from Michigan, Hutchinson complained in early 1974 that impeachment had been drummed up by “some eastern newspapers.” Despite the damning evidence, Hutchinson remained “unconvinced” by the “grab bag of allegations.”

Others agreed. Del Latta, a veteran Ohio congressman, had been drafted to the committee, columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak noted, “for the purpose of defending the President.” During sessions, he put on a show not unlike Trump’s more animated defenders, letting loose “grimaces, groans and sneers” at any Republican “departing from the party line.”

Freshmen from safe districts took note. Carlos Moorhead, representing a conservative district in California, labeled impeachment “a big moat” he could never cross. Trent Lott, former aide to a Democratic congressman, who had switched parties to replace him as a Republican, represented a Mississippi district that voted 87 percent for Nixon. With a convert’s zeal, Lott called him “the best president of my lifetime.”

These Republicans formed a wall around Nixon, but cracks soon appeared. The committee had some liberal Republicans—a group not yet an oxymoron—but a staunch conservative, Maryland’s Lawrence Hogan, was the first from either party to announce his vote to impeach. In late July, the longtime Nixon loyalist announced that “my President has lied repeatedly” and said he had no choice. (“Are we now in the business of impeaching presidents for making misleading statements?” Lott asked with astonishment.)

When the time came to vote on five proposed articles of impeachment at the end of July, Hogan voted yes on three; six other Republicans voted for one or two articles. All had been warned that breaking with the party would end their political legacies, but the opposite happened. All the Republicans who approved articles of impeachment, except Hogan, stood for reelection. Five of them won. Indeed, they were repeatedly reelected: Three served into the 1980s, a fourth into the mid-1990s. The fifth—Maine’s Bill Cohen, who voted to impeach Nixon as a 33-year-old freshman—served three terms in the House and three more in the Senate. (His former aide, Susan Collins, holds his seat.)

Ten other Republicans voted against every article of impeachment. Most immediately regretted it. They had spent months demanding a “smoking gun” that proved the president’s role in Watergate. To their embarrassment, the recording showing just that became public only days after their vote. Six of them pulled an about-face, saying they would now vote for impeachment when it came before the full House. But Nixon’s abrupt resignation robbed them of a chance at redemption. Only one of the six was reelected that fall.

The rest stood fast, confident their Republican districts would save them. They survived, but had regrets. “I’m not thinking of Richard Nixon now,” Latta spat the day before the president resigned. “He didn’t show loyalty to anyone up here.”

One of the loudest loyalists, Charles Sandman of New Jersey, learned how little his allegiance mattered. The Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1973, he had lost that race badly, blaming Watergate. (“Jesus Christ,” he said, “it was like running into a brick wall.”) Although he’d been burned before, Sandman stuck by Nixon until just before the president’s resignation. But by Election Day, Sandman’s district was done with him. The congressman won 66 percent of the vote in 1972, but only 41 percent in 1974. Not even Nixon paid him attention. “Do you know,” Sandman grumbled, “he’s never said a word of thanks for what I did.”

Republicans lost 48 seats in the House that fall, with many of the president’s most vocal defenders among them. Take Indiana representative Earl Landgrebe. “Don’t confuse me with the facts: I’ve got a closed mind,” he announced. “I’m going to stick with my President even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.” He wasn’t shot, but voters killed his political career with a humiliating loss that fall.

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#1. To: Willie Green (#0)

"Vanity Fair" was as far as I read.

Orange Man Re-Elected. Watch and see.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2019-11-27   11:19:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Willie Green (#0)

Trump’s Toadies Should Take Note: Watergate Says Everyone Goes Down

Clinton's impeachment says they don't.

misterwhite  posted on  2019-11-27   11:24:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Willie Green (#0)

As the campaign to impeach and remove President Trump has intensified....

Yes, it is a political campaign. It's the Socialist Democratic 2020 campaign. It is a losing campaign. The campaign has as little substance as does the worthless field of candidates. Select one, any one of them, and they will compete to break the record of Walter Mondale who won only D.C. and his home state of Minnesota by ~4,000 votes.

nolu chan  posted on  2019-11-27   11:28:16 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: Willie Green (#0)

{ kawump... kawump }

Did you guys feel that?

Judas Goat  posted on  2019-11-27   11:29:36 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: Willie Green, Drain The Swamp, Impeach, *The Two Parties ARE the Same* (#0)

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la...

Ron Paul - Lake Jackson Texas Values

Hondo68  posted on  2019-11-27   14:05:43 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#6. To: Hondo68, Willie Green (#5)


Impeachment in the House would only lead to a Democratic fiasco in the Senate. There is no case to be made, and none was made in the House Schiff Show.

None of the hearsay at the Schiff Show is admissible at a Senate trial.

The original complaint would not come in unless Lord Voldemort testifies.

The GOP running the show could force Lord Voldemort to testify. Also, Adam Schiff and staff could be called. Lt. Col. Vindman could not decide what questions he will, or will not, answer.

Chief Justice Roberts is not a material witness and will not recuse. The Chief Justice presides but does not have the authority of a court judge. None of his rulings are binding on the Senate. Any ruling may be challenged by any senator and the matter is then put to a vote of the Senate with no debate.

Witnesses shall be examined by one person on behalf of the party producing them, and then cross-examined by one person on the other side.

If a Senator wishes a question to be put to a witness, or to a manager, or to counsel of the person impeached, or to offer a motion or order (except a motion to adjourn), it shall be reduced to writing, and put by the Presiding Officer.

The parties or their counsel may interpose objections to witnesses answering questions propounded at the request of any Senator and the merits of any such objection may be argued by the parties or their counsel. Ruling on any such objection is made by the whole Senate without debate.

It shall not be in order for any Senator to engage in colloquy. It is not a Schiff Show.

The GOP would control the timing. It might take a few months to gather complete information. The preparations can be as long or short as the majority desires. If the trial proceedings conflict with early Dem primaries, too bad. The Senators would be subject to mandatory attendance, and not campaigning. As they cannot engage in colloquy, they will sit and be quiet for however long the proceedings take.

Tis the season for Dem folly, fa la la...

nolu chan  posted on  2019-11-27   19:06:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#7. To: nolu chan (#6)

LOL! So nowadays you're toting Putin's chamber pot too, eh Komrade?

Willie Green  posted on  2019-11-28   13:09:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#8. To: Willie Green (#7)

LOL! So nowadays you're toting Putin's chamber pot too, eh Komrade?

You've been drinking from that pot if you think an impeachment trial in the senate would not be a disaster for the Dems. Your desperate need to avoid discussion of trial substance is noted.

nolu chan  posted on  2019-11-30   12:35:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: nolu chan (#8)

if you think an impeachment trial in the senate would not be a disaster for the Dems.

Trump's made too many enemies along the way...

It wouldn't surprise me if he got backstabbed by Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio... Hell, I don't think he can even rely on Moscow Mitch to do his bidding...

Your desperate need to avoid discussion of trial substance is noted.
I've been around a long time... I see no reason to waste my energy refuting convoluted KGB disinformation...

Willie Green  posted on  2019-11-30   14:21:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: Willie Green (#9)

It wouldn't surprise me if he got backstabbed by Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio... Hell, I don't think he can even rely on Moscow Mitch to do his bidding...

Try not to have a breakdown if the House never proceeds to a vote on impeachment.

Your desperate need to avoid discussion of trial substance is noted.

I've been around a long time... I see no reason to waste my energy refuting convoluted KGB disinformation...

The rules and precedents on impeachment proceedings have been around a lot longer than you or the KGB. The rules of impeachment are not KGB disinformation but readily obtainable information published by the U.S. Senate and available to those not too lazy to look for it.

nolu chan  posted on  2019-11-30   15:54:04 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#11. To: nolu chan (#10)

The rules of impeachment are not KGB disinformation but readily obtainable information published by the U.S. Senate and available to those not too lazy to look for it.

The "rules of impeachment" are merely clerical procedure, not "trial substance," you pseudo-intellectual assclown.

Willie Green  posted on  2019-12-01   9:57:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#12. To: Willie Green (#11)

The "rules of impeachment" are merely clerical procedure, not "trial substance," you pseudo-intellectual assclown.

You are a legal moron. You quite obviously have never looked at the Senate rules for impeachment or the precedents.

nolu chan  posted on  2019-12-02   11:41:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#13. To: nolu chan (#12)

You can try to divert & deflect all you want, assclown...

I'm not gonna be lured down your fucking rabbit hole...

You're just another bootlicking steppenfetchit....

Willie Green  posted on  2019-12-03   10:17:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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