The Dreary Watergate Trope

The long overdue firing of the political hack running the FBI has inevitably produced from Democrats that dreary "Watergate" trope: Trump is Nixon, and the Republic is in danger.  These are, of course, the same Democrats who stonewalled efforts to show the corruption of Lois Lerner persecuting conservatives, the criminal destruction of government records, and the transparent lies IRS officials told Congress under oath.

These are the same Democrats who never cared about any of the myriad Obama scandals and who never, ever troubled themselves about the vast ocean of Clinton crimes, perjuries, or gross immoralities.  These are the same Democrats who accepted utterly inconceivable and often impossible statements by their prospective nominee – whom they nominated in spite of profound ethical shortcomings – to pander to the Clinton Legacy and to vile "feminism." 

The reality is that Watergate was not remotely as bad as the pettiest of Clinton or Obama administration wrongdoings.  Watergate involved a break-in, a cover-up, and Nixon aides answering congressional questions with answers like "To the best of knowledge at this point in time…"  Americans grasped the lawyer-driven avoidance, and out of Watergate came the requirement in most states that every lawyer each year have a certain number of hours of "legal ethics" education.  (Do we laugh or cry at the "success" of that "reform?")

Democrats have not cared about corruption in government for a long, long time.  The political careers of two Democrat presidents, Truman and Kennedy, were constructed upon malodorous big-city political machines, and Kennedy won the 1960 election largely because of yet another such machine, the Boss Daley vote-stealing organization.  FDR used the IRS to harass his opponents, and he used nearly every part of the federal government to intimidate opponents and reward his hacks. 

There has never been, however, a Democrat "Watergate," because Democrats have long been willing to do anything to win.  What made Watergate special is that the only folks in Washington who really cared about abuse of federal power and violation of the law by federal officials were conservative Republicans.

Barry Goldwater, particularly, made it clear in Washington that his love for the Republic was greater than his affection for the Republican Party.  Ronald Reagan, who like Goldwater was never touched by even the hint of scandal, who was not in Washington at the time, was likewise disturbed by Nixon, a man never trusted by conservatives in the Republican Party.  Without the abandonment of Nixon by conservative Republicans, Nixon might have weathered Watergate.

Today there is no check like that.  Republicans in Washington are in politics for their own aggrandizement, and this certainly includes the pseudo-conservatives in Congress as well.  This means not only that these folks will not abandon those Republicans who are crooks who game the system just because they are crooks who game the system, but that these pseudo-conservative Republicans are not appalled by this sort of behavior.  Indeed, they do not want the rules of propriety in politics tightened too much, because their future lies in levering their influence in Washington into cushy jobs, big book deals, and career steps for family members. 

Even worse – and it takes real work to get worse than Washington politicians – is the so-calledFourth Estate in Washington, that notional check on rotten government and rottener politicians, which long ago abandoned any pretense at factuality, objectivity, and integrity.  Instead, its denizens feast upon the stench of Washington and have less interest in good government than anyone else in that city.

What that means is that almost no one in Washington, really, cares about who is using his position just for himself, because almost everyone is doing just that.  Bending the rules and breaking laws and violating the most basic notions of honor matter only insofar as this malfeasance by someone else translates into political gain, popularity, and prospects for the politician who exposes the wrongdoing.

Our political system at the federal level has become so very, very jaded that fiddling the system is seen as normal as in some third-world nation – a status we will soon achieve at present vectors of moral descent.  Perhaps this is why one of the loudest and most insistent demands at Trump's rallies last year was the voice of ordinary, angry, disgusted Americans, who yelled, "Drain the swamp!"  They sense that almost all of Washington today makes that faded memory, Watergate, look like jaywalking.

The long overdue firing of the political hack running the FBI has inevitably produced from Democrats that dreary "Watergate" trope: Trump is Nixon, and the Republic is in danger.  These are, of course, the same Democrats who stonewalled efforts to show the corruption of Lois Lerner persecuting conservatives, the criminal destruction of government records, and the transparent lies IRS officials told Congress under oath.

These are the same Democrats who never cared about any of the myriad Obama scandals and who never, ever troubled themselves about the vast ocean of Clinton crimes, perjuries, or gross immoralities.  These are the same Democrats who accepted utterly inconceivable and often impossible statements by their prospective nominee – whom they nominated in spite of profound ethical shortcomings – to pander to the Clinton Legacy and to vile "feminism." 

The reality is that Watergate was not remotely as bad as the pettiest of Clinton or Obama administration wrongdoings.  Watergate involved a break-in, a cover-up, and Nixon aides answering congressional questions with answers like "To the best of knowledge at this point in time…"  Americans grasped the lawyer-driven avoidance, and out of Watergate came the requirement in most states that every lawyer each year have a certain number of hours of "legal ethics" education.  (Do we laugh or cry at the "success" of that "reform?")

Democrats have not cared about corruption in government for a long, long time.  The political careers of two Democrat presidents, Truman and Kennedy, were constructed upon malodorous big-city political machines, and Kennedy won the 1960 election largely because of yet another such machine, the Boss Daley vote-stealing organization.  FDR used the IRS to harass his opponents, and he used nearly every part of the federal government to intimidate opponents and reward his hacks. 

There has never been, however, a Democrat "Watergate," because Democrats have long been willing to do anything to win.  What made Watergate special is that the only folks in Washington who really cared about abuse of federal power and violation of the law by federal officials were conservative Republicans.

Barry Goldwater, particularly, made it clear in Washington that his love for the Republic was greater than his affection for the Republican Party.  Ronald Reagan, who like Goldwater was never touched by even the hint of scandal, who was not in Washington at the time, was likewise disturbed by Nixon, a man never trusted by conservatives in the Republican Party.  Without the abandonment of Nixon by conservative Republicans, Nixon might have weathered Watergate.

Today there is no check like that.  Republicans in Washington are in politics for their own aggrandizement, and this certainly includes the pseudo-conservatives in Congress as well.  This means not only that these folks will not abandon those Republicans who are crooks who game the system just because they are crooks who game the system, but that these pseudo-conservative Republicans are not appalled by this sort of behavior.  Indeed, they do not want the rules of propriety in politics tightened too much, because their future lies in levering their influence in Washington into cushy jobs, big book deals, and career steps for family members. 

Even worse – and it takes real work to get worse than Washington politicians – is the so-calledFourth Estate in Washington, that notional check on rotten government and rottener politicians, which long ago abandoned any pretense at factuality, objectivity, and integrity.  Instead, its denizens feast upon the stench of Washington and have less interest in good government than anyone else in that city.

What that means is that almost no one in Washington, really, cares about who is using his position just for himself, because almost everyone is doing just that.  Bending the rules and breaking laws and violating the most basic notions of honor matter only insofar as this malfeasance by someone else translates into political gain, popularity, and prospects for the politician who exposes the wrongdoing.

Our political system at the federal level has become so very, very jaded that fiddling the system is seen as normal as in some third-world nation – a status we will soon achieve at present vectors of moral descent.  Perhaps this is why one of the loudest and most insistent demands at Trump's rallies last year was the voice of ordinary, angry, disgusted Americans, who yelled, "Drain the swamp!"  They sense that almost all of Washington today makes that faded memory, Watergate, look like jaywalking.

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