From the editor: Why Richard Nixon resigned


August 9, 2023

Yesterday, Aug. 8, was the 49th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation as president is the United States. Why did Nixon resign?

First for our youth, the ahistorical, those who forgot or cannot remember our 37th president, Nixon’s top White House staff worked with a dirty tricks squad. The tricksters first broke into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office in 1971. Then in June 1972 they burglarized the Democratic Party’s Watergate office and were caught, arrested by Washington, D.C., police.

For two years, through Senate and House investigations, Nixon denied knowledge. But on Aug. 5,1974 the smoking gun recording of him wanting an FBI investigation stopped became public.

The top Republican Party leaders, Sen. Hugh Scott and Barry Goldwater, the minority leader and 1964 presidential candidate, and Rep. John Rhodes, House minority leader, met with Nixon Aug. 7, telling him in the face of the evidence, Congressional support had evaporated.

“There’s not more than 15 senators for you,” Goldwater said.

The evidence of Nixon’s criminal involvement was unchallenged and clear. Nixon, a lawyer and a veteran of Congress, understood the rule of law and how Congress worked. And Congressional representatives understood both party loyalty and following the law. Nixon did not admit to wrongdoing, but he did not challenge the evidence.

Now, work this exercise: Nixon pitches he was set up, that it is all a hoax. And create this scenario: Republican leadership agrees to sell the fraud to their rank and file and to the public.

Fast forward to today. In 2023, the evidence federal prosecutors presented to a grand jury is lied about, brushed aside by former President Donald Trump. Republican Party leadership trashes the U.S. Justice Department and bows down to their party leader.

A 2007 article on Goldwater quotes him preparing to confront Nixon by angrily telling his fellow Republican Senators, “There are only so many lies you can take, and now there has been one too many. Nixon should get his ass out of the White House – today!”

Goldwater had personal integrity. He respected the Constitution and put the country over party loyalty.

There is a term for that: character. People of good character are personally honest, respect and admit the truth and hold higher values than party politics and winning the next election.

Nell Thorn Reservations

The political goal for those with high character is to shape the nation into a future that moves the society forward.

In the old day, Republicans championed law and order and throwing the book at law breakers. They used to say let the evidence decide and applaud prosecutors for pursuing wrongdoing.

Today Trump is doing his job — what he has always done — blustering and conning and selling himself as the best thing since sliced bread.

The Republican faithful are higher on Trump than ever before, pollsters report. They have stuck to Trump like they would to a tar baby.

Let the facts decide. Let the chips fall where they may. Nixon lied 49 years ago when he said he was not a crook. The evidence proved otherwise.

We need to follow the evidence in court this year and next. Let’s see how Trump will be judged 49 years from now. He, too, may never go to jail. But will the evidence and history prove him to be a crook?

— Ken Stern


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