Thursday, June 02, 2005

Nixon Primer

How to Dismantle a Historical Revision

So, because the most unfortunate named anonymous source in American History decided to tag his name to his deeds, we have to rehash the whole Watergate/Nixon Scandal again. This is what right wing punditry (including our very own SAWB) have been getting ready for for decades. They just can't stand the fact that their boy got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Now, it ain't time for folks on the left side of the aisle to be running victory laps,

"Pat Buchanan, Bob Novak and Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy don't like Mark Felt. Mark Felt is truly a great man." --The great Jon Stewart.

(though I do perk my ears up when those three get pissed off at something) 'cause now ol' Mark Felt has to stand up to public scrutiny. He's not all justice personified himself, as he did break really real laws and was a Hooverite reactionary. Scrutiny is a good thing, but let's face it, when this guy's credibility issues come up, it gives punditry the chance to whitewash Nixon's legacy.

It really is genius the way they do it. First off, they have folks like Ben Stein publish outrageous comments with nothing close to a factual citation. I guess the fact that ol' Ben's a pretty smart guy relieves him of the obligation to base his opinions in solid fact. He transmits the party line: Nixon wasn't such a bad guy, he didn't actually do anything bad...and even if he did, he did more good than bad so we should overlook his shortcomings. (Strangely enough, which is exactly how most Democrats defend Bill Clinton) Then Stein's opinion article gets quoted by more reasonable sounding pundits in their opinion articles. I'm not even going to get into this historical revisionism about Kennedy on drugs, LBJ starting the Vietnam war, or how Cambodia was a verifiable utopia before the US pulled out of South Asia. I'm especially not going to get into the contention that Nixon's having to obey American law somehow cost us in the long run against the Soviet Union (I was alive in '89). What I will say is there is no such thing as a slippery slope if you are actively jumping down the hill.

This stuff is tricky, but quote Stein enough times and his entire argument (which is an opinion) takes on an air of factuality, and can be used as such by right wing punditry everywhere. You can view the results of this kind of make believe land when you revisit the Terri Schiavo case now that the public has its eyes turned elsewhere.

In order to fire my broadside into this Watergate whitewash, I thought I might transmit some actual history that is based in fact, and show the left how to sink this punditstorm from fantasyland. All you have to do is bring up those pesky little details called facts. First of all, it does not matter what a toolbox Mr. Felt is or isn't, Richard Milhous Nixon was served with really real Articles of Impeachment by a real world United States Congress for breaking really real American laws. But you don't actually have to take my word for it, after all, I am only a bloody nose liberal, bloviating on my own blog into the ether. Perhaps you would be more convinced by reading the words of a really real Republican President of the United States of America.

Have fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a really random issue, but I personally agree with your point of view regarding the historical revisionism that went on with Nixon, especially after he died - he went from a truly awful villain (read Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the '72 Campaign Trail if you want a good set of personal observations of evil incarnate) to a revered saint.