Rule of Thumb For Liberals And Progressives: If Pat Buchanan AGREES with you, or vice versa, it's best to pause and CAREFULLY EXAMINE your assumptions based on what Pat is saying. (I'm being generous to Buchanan with the presumption that not everything he says is CRAZY. But most everything he says regarding Democratic-Republican, left-right politics is self-serving, biased, and partisan.)
And so it was when Cenk called on Pat and lib radio talker Bill Press to opine on whether or not the Democrats should have closed ranks behind Anthony Weiner. Cenk and Press think that they should — a view not shared by Weiner's Democratic Party leadership, professional pols like Nancy Pelosi with lifetimes more experience in WINNING ELECTIONS than they will ever have. It seems Cenk and Bill were SO MESMERIZED by Pat's sanguine anti-Democratic mutterings — "I.agree.with.Pat.I.agree.with.Pat." they chimed in like a couple of cuckoo clocks — about ZEALOUS Party loyalty that they didn't even pause to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND what Pat was saying.
After repeatedly slamming the Democrats for "throwing Anthony Weiner under the bus," Pat PROUDLY recalled (paraphrasing) when HE STOOD BY HIS MAN:
"Richard Nixon. I stood behind Nixon, defended him, we closed ranks around him, never asked him to resign" ... etc. etc. While there's absolutely NO COMPARISON between the most GINORMOUS political scandal in American history, WATERGATE — in which multiple laws were broken and the Constitution shredded — and the Anthony Weiner episode; in the ambit of party or partisan dynamics, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Pat Buchanan was AN UNELECTED AIDE to Richard Nixon, I believe he was White House "Communications Director." He was part of that tight INNER CIRCLE of Haldeman, Erlichman, Dean, Colson, Magruder, Attorney General John Mitchell known as "the Germans" (euphemism for NAZIS) — most of whom WERE INDICTED AND SERVED JAIL TIME. So 42 years later, Pat is still wallowing in and glorifying A CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT in which he was LUCKY not to have served jail time. Perhaps the tape machine wasn't running on the occasions he met with Nixon.
- The political pundits of those days said Nixon could probably survive the scandal absent a "smoking gun." Everyone else around him, as is customary for Republican zealots, was falling on their swords. Almost everyone: Not Dean, who spilled the beans about a "cancer" in the White House, and Magruder, who revealed the existence of a taping device, hoping to cop a plea for cooperation. Then it was the COVERUP that finally got Nixon. He tried MANAGING the scandal by releasing edited transcripts of the tapes. Naturally, the media drumbeat became intense and politicians joined in the demand for full disclosure. It was speculated that had Nixon staged a DEFIANT bonfire on the White House lawn and destroyed the tapes, he could have saved his presidency. Maybe Pat said or suggested that?
- Finally, once the courts ordered Nixon to release the tapes, the game was up. Most of Nixon's support in Congress vanished as Republicans ran for the hills. And when a respected senior leader in the Republican Party, Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee, Ranking Judiciary Committee member, uttered the famous words, "what did the President know, and when did he know it?" — the writing was on the wall and Richard Nixon became the only president in American history to resign his office or face impeachment.
- Baker kept his senate seat, but a lot of Republicans were not so lucky as Democrats made HUGE gains in the 1974 mid-term elections and took the presidency in 1976. But Pat and a few other zealots went down with the sinking ship — like G. Gordon Liddy who once unflinchingly held a burning candle under his palm to demonstrate his macho, and did his jail time to return as Bill's unapologetic wingnut radio colleague — having never broken faith with Richard Nixon.
Apropos of Watergate, here's something weird: I was doing some research on Nixon/Watergate for this post and had just read THIS:
The audio tapes caused further controversy on December 7, when an 18½ minute portion of one tape was found to have been erased. Nixon's personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, said she had accidentally erased the tape by pushing the wrong foot pedal on her tape player while answering the phone. However, as photos all over the press showed, it was unlikely for Woods to answer the phone and keep her foot on the pedal. Later forensic analysis determined that the tape had been erased in several segments — at least five, and perhaps as many as nine.