But wait! Let’s put this in perspective. Prior to the 1974 election, a band of “plumbers” broke into the Democrats’ Watergate office. They were seeking information that could assist the president’s electoral campaign. This was illegal, but considered “politics as usual” by its organizers. Nixon was not involved in setting this operation in motion. He learned of it after, but to protect his image, he orchestrated a cover-up. It seemed to be working until Judge Anthony Sirica ordered the White House to produce tapes of the president’s Oval Office conversations.
At this, all hell broke loose, especially when 18 minutes were missing from the tapes. Democrats, Republicans and the media all piled on until the pressure became unbearable. With every aspect of Nixon’s character under attack and support slipping away in every direction, the dam broke.
Fast forward to today. Barack Obama is beset by numerous mini-scandals, none of which has risen to Watergate proportions. Democrats keep telling us this is due to Republican extremism; hence, we ought to “move on.”
With Nixon, the cover-up was a closely held affair. He and his immediate henchmen deliberately sought to bury the facts. They discussed doing so in detail, then implemented their plans.
With Obama, things are different. There may well have been White House discussions about how to quash unfavorable news, but with the lessons of Watergate in mind, no tapes will ever emerge. An email paper trail might, but efforts to destroy incriminating materials are under way.
Unlike Nixon, the Obama regime’s cover-up is broad based. Consider the IRS affair. Nixon sought to use the agency to damage his enemies, but its managers refused to cooperate. Today’s IRS has no such qualms.
Also unlike with Nixon, contemporary journalists have circled the wagons to protect a president they helped elect. Amazingly, when word got out two years of potentially damaging emails had been destroyed, they didn’t even cover the story. The New York Times’ boast of including all the news that’s fit to print was suddenly inoperative. As for politicians, most Democrats refused to break ranks. After having encouraged the IRS to criminalize conservative groups, they too insisted there was no “there, there.”
So where does this leave us? Watergate was perpetrated by a discernible conspiracy. The participants could be identified and their planning sessions pinpointed. With the IRS and related scandals, the conspiracy is more diffuse. There are too many players for them to have gathered in the Oval Office.
Because this vast left wing conspiracy is truly vast, it is more like a religion than a tightly held plot. Members of the media and bureaucratic flunkies do not take direct orders from the White House but are acutely aware of the latest talking points.
Much as the Catholic Church does not need to disseminate direct marching orders to all of the faithful, precisely because they are faithful, ordinary Catholics hew to the orthodox line. So do faithful liberals. Because they are true believers, they too are dedicated to protecting their own.
With Nixon, we were told the cover-up was worse than the crime. With Obama the cover-up is so extensive we are told there is no cover-up. This, the most transparent administration in history, always tells the truth — even when it must be invented to hide uncomfortable facts.
Sadly, when corruption becomes a political religion, as it has among contemporary liberals, the Republic is in far more danger than it was under Nixon. Back then, ordinary Republicans knew something was amiss. Today’s Democrats, in contrast, have convinced themselves their deceits are for the common good.
Melvyn L. Fein Ph.D. is professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University.