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Liberal Democracy

Liberal Democracy
The Free State

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Firing Line: William F. Buckley- The Implications of Watergate

The Watergate scandal from the summer of 1972 to the summer of 1974, was a horrible political scandal. That not only lasted two years, brought down a presidency, a president that was reelected by a landslide. Distracted the country from many other problems that we were facing. With a weakening economy, rising unemployment, rising health care costs, more people being without health insurance, an energy shortage, trying to get out of Vietnam, etc. It happened at about the worst time that any political scandal could hit us, where we had other issues that needed to be addressed.

And perhaps the worst part of the Watergate scandal, is that it never had to happen or become a scandal. It was completely unnecessary. President Nixon would’ve been reelected by a landslide in 1972 anyway. Had he announced what he knew about Watergate as he knew it. And had come clean his administration probably would’ve got some heat from it at least in the short-term. With Congressional investigations, but President Nixon would’ve done himself and the country a lot of good in the long-term. Because he would’ve been able to put Watergate behind us, because he would’ve been able to end his part of the scandal early on. Because the country would’ve known that he wasn’t guilty of anything. And he would’ve been able to move on with his presidency and attempt to address some of these issues.

Without the Watergate scandal as far as President Nixon covering it up, he would’ve gone down as a very successful President. Perhaps one of the best president’s America has ever had, with all of his foreign policy success’s. And this would’ve given him an opportunity. to address some other issues. As they relate to economic policy and getting the economy going again. Creating a national energy policy, which President Nixon actually did make an attempt at, as well as health care and Welfare reform. And perhaps campaign for more Republican Congressional candidates. Instead of the Republican Party dropping back to where they were in the 1960s as far as seats in Congress. In the House and Senate with Democrats having large majority’s in both chambers. As a result of the 1974 mid-term elections.

But because of the Watergate coverup, that’s the main if not only political issue that not only the Federal Government was dealing with, but what the country was paying attention to. Including even watching the Watergate hearings on TV. As a result of the Watergate scandal and coverup, the Republican Party got hammered in the 1974 mid-term elections. Democrats picked up something like thirty seats in the House and six in the Senate to add to their majority’s. And of course Democrats won the White House in 1976 while retaining their large majority’s in Congress. But thanks to President Carter, Republicans got a lot of those seats back plus some new ones in 1978 and 1980.