Talk about blasts, or at least wet farts, from summers past. The long arc of history continues to bend towards justice, as the NYTimes mealy-mouths that “Watergate Becomes Sore Point at Nixon Library”:
Officials at the National Archives have curated a searing recollection of the Watergate scandal, based on videotaped interviews with 150 associates of Richard M. Nixon, an interactive exhibition that was supposed to have opened on July 1. But the Nixon Foundation — a group of Nixon loyalists who controlled this museum until the National Archives took it over three years ago — described it as unfair and distorted, and requested that the archives not approve the exhibition until its objections are addressed…
Bob Bostock, a former Nixon aide who designed the original Watergate exhibit and has been enlisted by the foundation to challenge the installation, filed a 132-page letter of objection to the archives last week, claiming that the exhibit lacked the context needed to help young visitors learning about Watergate to understand exactly what Nixon did.
“Taping and wiretapping go back as far as F.D.R.,” Mr. Bostock said. “It lacks the context it needs: that Nixon was not the first president to do some of these things and that some of these things had been going on with many of his predecessors, in some cases, much more than he did.”
“It is the last fight over Watergate,” said Timothy Naftali, the director of the museum, though he was quick to add that he was confident a resolution could be worked out that addressed at least some of the concerns of both sides.
Mr. Naftali has overseen the release of a flood of Nixon papers and tapes since he was appointed by the National Archives in 2006. But culturally and politically, he may not fit the profile of the person Nixon may have imagined for managing his legacy. “Think about it,” he said. “I am not a Nixon loyalist. I am not even a Republican. I am gay. I am from Canada. I was 12 years old when Richard Nixon resigned. I have no skin in the game.”
The National Archives, when it took over the museum in 2007, insisted that the museum close down what was by all accounts an opaque and perfunctory depiction of Watergate that Nixon’s associates had originally installed with the former president’s active involvement and approval.
“It was a long dark tunnel that was completely uninviting, block and after block of small panels, white text on a black wall,” said Jon Wiener, a professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, who would take his classes to the museum on annual field trips as it studied Nixon. “It had to go.”
Mr. Naftali is an optimist, possibly just for public consumption. The anti-Fidelistas in Little Havana, the Japanese soldiers who hid out in the New Guinea brush for forty years after their emperor surrendered, are mere hobbyists compared to the ferocious defenders of all things GOP. Although one can’t blame the surviving CREEPsters — monsters such as Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz — for strenuously resisting any exposure of the true “Nixon legacy”. A hundred years from now, I believe the decision to allow Nixon to escape a full accounting will be considered possibly the greatest political tragedy of its era.