Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now: https://t.co/9NCmordowo
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) February 14, 2017
Thing is, Nixon didn't need Watergate to win. But Trump needed Russians & Comey to squeak out electoral college win https://t.co/cn4QLCEH4f
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) February 15, 2017
Sensible people understand that Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon — and thereby eliminating any chance of airing the true extent of the nitwitted criminality of the entire Nixon Administration and its GOP supporters — was a national tragedy. It allowed all the low-level CREEPsters to scurry away into wingnut-welfare hidey-holes from which they would reemerge, stronger and ever more venal, first during the Reagan Adminstration (aka ‘Iran-Contra’), and later during the Cheney Regency. What the country needed in 1974 was the equivalent of South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission, where amnesty might be granted, but only after a full examination of the crimes and their impact on civil society.
Of course the criminals in the permanent Republican Party, and their nitwit courtiers among the Media Village Idiots, persist in their self-defensive fantasies that Watergate was a cruel and misguided assault on a great man and his loyal acolytes. Since paranoia, racism, and a lust for cruelty are never out of fashion in the authoritarian fringes of the far right, whole generations of would-be Haldemans and Ehrlichmans have nursed ambitions to avenge Tricky Dick… and it seems that they may be seizing upon the President-Asterisk and his klown klavern as their last best hope.
As a leading indicator, Drum-Major-General and Bothsider-in-Chief David Brooks meeps out a preemptive call for Truth and Honor, once again, to submit to the needs of The Narrative. After hastily dismissing both the Democratic tactic of actual resistance to Trump’s no-longer-hidden attempts to subvert our democracy, and the #NeverTrumpist withdrawal into their think-tank boltholes, Brooks declaims that “we” need… another Gerald Ford:
… The third possibility is that the primary threat in the Trump era is a combination of incompetence and anarchy. It could be that Trump is a chaotic clown incapable of conducting coherent policy. It could be that his staff members are a bunch of inexperienced second-raters…
If the current reign of ineptitude continues, Republicans will eventually peel away. The Civil Service will begin to ignore the sloppy White House edicts. The national security apparatus will decide that to prevent a slide to global disorder, it has to run itself.
In this scenario, the crucial question is how to replace and repair. The model for the resistance is Gerald Ford, a decent, modest, experienced public servant who believed in the institutions of government, who restored faith in government, who had a plan to bind the nation’s wounds and restored normalcy and competence.
Personally, I don’t think we’re at a Bonhoeffer moment or a Benedict moment. I think we’re approaching a Ford moment. If the first three weeks are any guide, this administration will not sustain itself for a full term. We’ll need a Ford, or rather a generation of Fords to restore effective governance…
… and “we” will find them, never doubt, among the comers at the Heritage Institute, the young sprigs of the National Review, and whichever statehouse seatwarmers the Kochs and Mercers decide are ready for a bigger platform.
Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon not only gave Trump his presumption of impunity but allowed Trump's particular cronies to stay in politics. pic.twitter.com/UqhAwvD18x
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) February 14, 2017
When David Brooks yearns for a Gerald Ford, he is wishing for someone to wave a hand and deny this is all happening and it's anyone's fault.
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) February 14, 2017
But if we have to relive the Watergate nightmare (second time as farce!) we can at least entertain ourselves assigning roles from the old cast. Looks like we may already have our Martha Mitchell, if we can believe the Intercept — somewhat of a connoisseur in the field of political paranoia:
Carter Page, briefly a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, sent a peculiar, rambling letter this week to the Department of Justice, asking it to review “the severe election fraud in the form of disinformation, suppression of dissent, hate crimes and other extensive abuses led by members of Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and their political allies last year.”
Page is reportedly one of several targets of a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials.
Page provided the lengthy letter to The Intercept when asked whether he would support President Trump using his power as president to declassify any government material to disclose any intercepted conversations between Page and Russian officials. He did not say. Instead he forwarded the letter, which is well-formatted, heavily-footnoted, grammatically correct and has no spelling mistakes. However, its content is bizarre…
It… makes the grandiose claim that “the actions by the Clinton regime and their associates may be among the most extreme examples of human rights violations observed during any election in U.S. history since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was similarly targeted for his anti-war views in the 1960’s.”
Page repeatedly describes as “outrageous” the news coverage claiming that he has significant connections to Russian officials, and what he says was the Clinton campaign’s hidden hand behind it.
The Clinton campaign, says Page, engaged in “human rights violations,” “illegal activities,” “unlawful deceptions,” “Obstruction of Justice – the charge upon which President Nixon was impeached,” spreading “False Evidence,” and “an obviously illegal attempt to silence me on an important issue of national and international consequence in violation of my Constitutional rights.”
Page also states that he was targeted by the Clinton campaign because he is Catholic, a military veteran and a man…
Much more detail at the link; the reporter very efficiently lays out Page’s history with the Trump campaign (and that of “Putin’s chief propagandist Dmitriy Kiselev”).
Trump creates enviro where he demands fealty/creates his own fact set sometimes, and has advisers who try to demonstrate loyalty in public.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 14, 2017
Not sure which Nixon flunky KellyAnne Conway would be reenacting, but the worst-of-the-1970s political movements are giving some observers flashbacks…
I serve at the pleasure of @POTUS. His message is my message. His goals are my goals. Uninformed chatter doesn't matter.
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 14, 2017
"I was Chairman Mao's dog," Jiang Qing said at her trial. "Whomever he told me to bite, I bit." https://t.co/D9LZTz7pXQ
— Isaac Stone Fish (@isaacstonefish) February 14, 2017
Not gonna say Trump admin riven by factionalism & corruption but I heard "Hai Rui Removed From Office" is getting revival at Kennedy Center
— Jordan Ellenberg (@JSEllenberg) February 15, 2017