Richard M. Nixon was an intellectual. He was on the way to building a remarkable legacy as president. But, President Nixon was also paranoid. Faced with an election that he couldn’t possibly lose, he decided to make sure of victory. Dirty tricks and the Watergate burglary ultimately put President Nixon on the path to impeachment.
My family had a role in a number of Nixon sagas. My grandfather was a Republican party leader in Orange County, California. He progressively promoted Nixon’s political career from congress to the senate to the vice presidency. And, then the presidency, twice.
But, then Watergate broke. A trusted advisor. A special diplomat helping Nixon with back channels to the Soviet Union, he had a role in helping to persuade the President that he had crossed the line. A servant of the Republic, he joined a chorus of Republican voices, private and public, that President Nixon should resign rather that put the country through the full impeachment process and Senate trial.
In those days, there was plenty of division in our Republic. But, there was also a “loyal opposition”. The presumption was that the majority and the minority parties were both loyal to the Republic.
If one recalls, there was widespread displeasure with the “imperial” presidency. But, now we have the elected equivalent of George III. And, no Republican minds. Had he not resigned, Nixon would have been convicted in the end of thinking that cheating to be re-elected was in the national interest. Now, manipulating foreign policy to promote one’s re-election seems to be just fine. After all if the president thinks his re-election is in the national interest, he can do what he deems necessary.
At their August convention, the Republicans must change their name. I recommend oligarchs, plutocrats or autocrats, anything but Republican.