Objects in the Rearview Mirror
John Dean appeared on Countdown this week. You know John? He writes stirring muckraker books for us now, but way back before you were born he was a major player for the dark side.
The subject was the Divine Right of Kings claimed by the Midland Moron forevermore, and John Dean was of the opinion it wouldn’t fly, for doofus has already lost in lower courts on his denmother Myers and that other one. It was altogether fitting and proper that Dean be asked these questions, as he was a lawyer once, but the interview didn’t go far enough.
There might have been some speculation by interviewer Olbermann about what might have been the result if that prior Imperial Presidency had determined to stonewall Congress when the investigation of that breakin at Democratic headquarters came to light in the summer of 1972. This was a Republican executive fomenting widespread lawbreaking on behalf of almighty hubris, which makes it a very relevant cultural reference.
Nixon attempted to block release of the audio tapes by which he was eventually hung by means of the Saturday Night Massacre, which jettisoned two Attorneys General until he found a quisling who would fire Cox, the Special Prosecutor, for not dropping his subpoena of the tapes. Next Nixon lost unanimously in the Supreme Court in his attempt to hide those tapes.
But what if he had, like the Cheney regime, gone even further and refused to allow anyone who had ever worked for him to testify before the Ervin Committee in the Senate in 1973? All they needed was a conniving or craven Congress, such as the one just past (we fervently hope). Then there would have been no tapes controversy because Deputy Assistant Butterfield would not have been allowed to testify about them, and Olbermann would not have invited John Dean onto Countdown because no one would know of this obscure former White House counsel who became, due to a lack of utter Imperial Power, the chief witness against the `unindicted co-conspirator.’ (Lest we give too much credit to those stalwart statesmen of yore; while forty goons were indicted and several top aids sent to prison, Nixon’s selected lacky Ford pardoned him on acceding to the presidency in 1974, thus proving one individual at least was above the law. By way of comparison, that privileged designation sinks to the level of a Karl Rove or Harriet Myers today.)
Executive Privilege is almost invariably a cover for scoundrels, and no legitimate federal authority will allow criminal activity to go unpunished because of some mistaken regard for personal security masquerading as the national sort.