Thursday, June 02, 2005

Watergate redux

It was, of course, comical to read about convicted Watergate felons piously condemning Mark Felt for whistle-blowing. But hearing from the various conspirators reminded me of one of the most interesting aspects of the afterplay, which is how surprisingly Haldeman and Ehrlichman (not among the commentators because they have died) became sympathetic figures after the whole thing was over, showing more detachment and greater humanity than I, at least, expected. Indeed, absurd though it seemed back in April 1973 when Nixon called them two of the finest public servants he had known, Haldeman turns out to have deserved at least a dollop of such commendation for his sense (revealed in the diaries that came out afterwards, although I have only read about them) of the importance of knowing when to ignore Nixon when Fearless Leader was flying off the handle, as often he was.

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