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There are no smoking guns in the new materials, but at a time when — in comparison to the current crop of GOP candidates — Nixon’s reputation is undergoing a bit of a positive face-lift, it’s always good to be reminded of the whiny, self-pitying, defensive, dissembling reprobate we knew and loathed back in the bad old days.
He brushes off the whole sordid scandal as “this silly, incredible Watergate break-in” and says, “I want the jury and the special prosecutors to kick the hell out of us for wire-tapping and for the plumbers and the rest because obviously you may have concluded it was wrong.”
Perhaps the strangest artifact in the latest document dump isn’t the grand jury testimony but Nixon’s recollections of the famous incident at the Lincoln Memorial in 1970 early on the morning of a massive antiwar demonstration just days after the killings at Kent State. He paid an unannounced visit to the monument and talked with a group of the student protesters camped out nearby.
“I know you, probably most of you think I’m an SOB but, ah, I want you to know that I understand just how you feel,” he says he told the demonstrators. “What we all must think about is why we are here … What are those elements of spirit which really matter?
“… I just wanted to be sure that all of them realized that ending the war and cleaning up the city streets and the air and the water was not going to solve the spiritual hunger which all of us have, and which of course has been the great mystery of life from the beginning of time.”
As he leaves, he tells one of the students, “I just hope your opposition doesn’t turn into blind hatred of the country. Remember, this is a great country for all of its faults.”
Of course, as Nixon got down with the kids, J. Edgar Hoover’s counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO, was getting down and dirty, not only spying on and infiltrating the antiwar movement but also deliberately trying to subvert and disrupt it — with Nixon’s approval.
Such violations of civil liberties echo through to the present day: obstructions of justice, abuses of power, the tapping of emails and phone calls, black site detentions and “enhanced interrogations,” to name just a few. In his new book Glenn Greenwald recalls the words Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John: “Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could.”
Originally posted by Frankidealist35
reply to post by Ex_CT2
The author of that article has a fair point. I almost forgot about COINTELPRO, so, Nixon did have some pretty bad stuff going on, as did the other Cold War Presidents did. So it's good that Presidents don't do that anymore. However, while COINTELPRO is not official policy anymore, the government still engages in many of the same practices, and I think what Obama and Bush are doing with the warantless searches, and infiltrating protest groups are far worse and more expansive than before. Especially given the fact that they can break into our homes now without a warrant.
What's your judgment, as someone who's lived through the times?