Daniel Ellsberg points out to CNN that all of the illegal acts that Nixon did against him are now perfectly legal.
Tricky Dick was just ahead of his time.
These days, when you find yourself thinking about Richard Nixon, what comes to mind?
Richard Nixon, if he were alive today, might take bittersweet satisfaction to know that he was not the last smart president to prolong unjustifiably a senseless, unwinnable war, at great cost in human life. (And his aide Henry Kissinger was not the last American official to win an undeserved Nobel Peace Prize.)
He would probably also feel vindicated (and envious) that ALL the crimes he committed against me–which forced his resignation facing impeachment–are now legal.
That includes burglarizing my former psychoanalyst's office (for material to blackmail me into silence), warrantless wiretapping, using the CIA against an American citizen in the US, and authorizing a White House hit squad to "incapacitate me totally" (on the steps of the Capitol on May 3, 1971). All the above were to prevent me from exposing guilty secrets of his own administration that went beyond the Pentagon Papers. But under George W. Bush and Barack Obama,with the PATRIOT Act, the FISA Amendment Act, and (for the hit squad) President Obama's executive orders. they have all become legal.
There is no further need for present or future presidents to commit obstructions of justice (like Nixon's bribes to potential witnesses) to conceal such acts. Under the new laws, Nixon would have stayed in office, and the Vietnam War would have continued at least several more years.
Likewise, where Nixon was the first president in history to use the 54-year-old Espionage Act to indict an American (me) for unauthorized disclosures to the American people (it had previously been used, as intended, exclusively against spies), he would be impressed to see that President Obama has now brought five such indictments against leaks, almost twice as many as all previous presidents put together (three).
He could only admire Obama's boldness in using the same Espionage Act provisions used against me–almost surely unconstitutional used against disclosures to the American press and public in my day, less surely under the current Supreme Court–to indict Thomas Drake, a classic whistleblower who exposed illegality and waste in the NSA.
Drake's trial begins on June 13, the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon Papers. If Nixon were alive, he might well choose to attend.
My introduction to politics was the time of the Watergate hearings. Back when there were only four networks, my Mom always had the PBS live broadcasts of those hearings on in the house. Little did I realize then, that forty years later all of our Presidents would make Tricky Dick look like a choir boy. And that it would become perfectly legal for them to do so.
What we've seen in Washington is an apparent agreement that neither party will challenge or prosecute the other party for crimes committed. They seem to have reached a deal where everything goes, as long as its for both parties. And, along the way, they've made every awful thing that Tricky Dick did legal.
For someone who's first lesson in politics in America was a litany of the crimes of Tricky Dick, that does really make one pause and realize just how far down the slippery slope we've slid since the days of the Watergate hearings.
"Tin Soldiers and Nixon coming
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the calling
Four Dead in Ohio."
These days, President Obama would just have to declare the Kent State students to be terrorists and then order in a drone strike.