Yes, I’m that old, I wallowed in Watergate. I watched the hearings, and read the articles. The difference, of course, is that it took Tricky Dicky a full term and then some to get into impeachment discussion territory. This administration has managed it in a matter of weeks.
Unfortunately for us all, the GOP reaction is repetitive. First came the outright denials. No, the Committee to Reelect the President (ironically called CREEP) did not collude with the operatives conducting the Watergate burglary. When it was obvious this had occurred people were fired. One of the last to go was Bob Haldeman, a top presidential adviser. In the current instance a top adviser is already out the door.
The Nixon play book is also evident in the administration’s initial response focusing on the leaks. Once it was verifiable that CREEP money was involved, the Nixon administration bemoaned the leaks of information. We seem to have already reached this phase of the the Nixon revival.
The Republicans will, if running true to form, will drag their heels. Stonewall, Gish Gallop, Gaslight, and any other public relations ploys will be on full display. There is, however, a major difference between then and now.
The Watergate scandal involved internal politics and dirty tricks. There was little if any foreign policy component to it. This round is all about foreign policy, and not just any topic in that realm — it’s about our dealings with Russia.
More specifically, it’s about dealing with the current Russian autocratic Vladimir Putin. Yes, the US did try to reset the relationship with Russia, but the crucial difference is that Putin is no Medvedev. Far from it.
So, in some aspects the Watergate politics do appear to be resurrected, however there’s also a world of difference between internal presidential politics and a situation in which American interests may be compromised by members of an administration who are themselves compromised by influences from Moscow.
And all this to have good relations? The Bear is not our friend. Witness in the last weeks: Provocative actions in the Black Sea, Increased activity in eastern Ukraine, a spy ship off the coast of Delaware, the Russian claim that NATO forces are a threat to Russian safety in the Baltic region, and the deployment of a missile in violation of a Reagan era disarmament treaty. The intermittent and in some cases nonexistent reaction to these events by this administration appear to lend credence to collusion charges.
It’s time for a bipartisan, independent, and thorough investigation into the allegations. Certainly the intelligence committees of the Congress should continue their investigations, but given the seriousness of the situation a broader review of this administration is essential.