Monday, October 31, 2016

History Repeats: A Nixonian Cover-Up In The Home Stretch Of The Campaign

Someday, we might learn the truth, but not if Hillary can help it.


By John Fund 
The National Review
October 31, 2016

Richard Nixon’s 1972 campaign for president involved trying to conceal the truth about Watergate until after voters went to the polls. “The early part of the Watergate cover-up was actually successful,” noted a report from the National Constitution Center. Running against a gaffe-ridden, disorganized challenger whom he was able to vastly outspend, Nixon pulled out a victory, but the cover-up unraveled and the country went through two years of turmoil. If Hillary wins, will her cover-up unravel and leave her a weakened president hounded by critics?

No one is suggesting that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal is exactly like Watergate, but the parallels are certainly there. Indeed, Hillary began her public career as a House staffer on the committee that voted to impeach Nixon. Sam Tanenhaus, former editor of the New York Times Book Review, recently noted in Bloomberg:

"If Hillary’s armor seems plated with Nixonian grievance, it is because, just like him, she feels outnumbered and defenseless. Nixon drew up lists of liberal “enemies,” Hillary closely tracks the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” . . . Hillary’s tasks for [the Watergate committee’s chief counsel] included drafting a memo on the inner workings of Nixon’s White House, its hidden grids of power and buried lines of authority, who reported to whom. The exercise gave Hillary “an intimate view of a president practicing the dark art of Washington politics, doing whatever necessary to maintain his grip on power,” Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., wrote in Her Way, a biography published in June 2007, five months after Hillary announced her first try for the nomination."


The parallels between Nixon and Hillary continue. Nixon set up an elaborate system to capture the flow of daily communication through tape recordings. Hillary’s obsession with control led her to use a private server. Nixon was suspicious of the bureaucracy and tightly limited information to just a few zealous aides. Hillary bypassed the State Department’s IT specialists and also relied on a few loyalists.

Even Bob Woodward, one of two Washington Post reporters who were key in uncovering Watergate, last year compared Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal to Richard Nixon’s tapes, noting the same penchant for stonewalling.

During the 1972 campaign, Nixon launched an all-out effort to minimize Watergate. His press secretary, Ron Ziegler, dismissed the event as “a third-rate burglary attempt.” Nixon himself called it a “very bizarre incident.” Anyone who suggested that all of the facts weren’t known was dismissed by Nixon as partisan or delusional. But Nixon’s cover-up had limits. He never destroyed his audio tapes, a decision that eventually led to his downfall. Hillary has used BleachBit in an attempt to permanently destroy her e-mails. Apparently, some of them have been recovered by the FBI, and it’s possible others will be found in the cache of e-mails on the computer shared by Hillary aide Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner.

What if the Hillary cover-up works, and she gains the presidency?

In a June 2015 Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Hillary Milhous Clinton,” Evan Thomas, a former Newsweek editor and the author of a 2015 Nixon biography, wrote:

"There is every reason to believe that President Hillary Clinton would spend her presidency lashing out at her enemies as she ducks small scandals and possibly large ones. She would be aggrieved and dodgy. That is not to say that she would wind up like Nixon — threatened with impeachment and driven from office — but it does suggest how she would deal with the inevitable rocky times ahead."


The country paid a stiff price for ignoring doubts about Nixon and reelecting him to the presidency in 1972. There was enough evidence for them to be deeply concerned about how he would continue to perform in office. There is certainly ample evidence for all of us to worry about what a return of the Clintons to the White House would mean for the country. As I noted in a recent Fox News column, U.S. intelligence officials believe it’s likely that Hillary Clinton’s private server was hacked by foreign entities, as the e-mail of her aides John Podesta and Sidney Blumenthal certainly were. I note that “we have to acknowledge the danger that Hillary Clinton could be the target of international blackmail in the White House.” After all, Bill Clinton’s X-rated telephone conversations with Monica Lewinsky were captured by the U.K., China, and Israel, and at least one blackmail attempt was reportedly made in 1998.

Hillary certainly shares Richard Nixon’s penchant for secrecy and dishonesty and an obsession with enemies, and the WikiLeaks revelations show that even her closest aides are appalled at her bad instincts and her habit of digging in her heels, blaming others, and refusing to course-correct until it’s essentially forced upon her. If Hillary is elected, will be have to go through another “long national nightmare,” the memorable phrase Nixon’s successor, Gerald Ford, used to describe the consequences of Nixon’s cover-up?


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