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Native Georgian Online
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Post: #21
RE: Watergate
Usually, this seems to be a subject about which there is nothing "new" left to say. But somehow Bob Woodward has found a way. His new book "The Last of the President's Men" is being billed as a kind of interview/memoir with Alexander Butterfield, the now-89-year-old Air Force veteran who made the original public disclosure, in July 1973, that President Nixon's private conversations were being taped on an ongoing basis. It is probably not possible, today, to fully appreciate the explosive political impact which Butterfield's statements had on Washington and actually around the country, too, with the general public. Now in 2015, we know for fact that FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ All made secret/private tapes of at least some conversations. Lyndon Johnson, in particular, seems to have taped virtually every word he uttered on the phone or in the White House, during the 62 months of his presidency. But in 1973, the public did not know that, and the full shock-value of "Nixon's Secret Tapes" was truly huge. In his memoirs published in 1978, Nixon admitted that once the fact of the tapes' existence became publicly known, there was essentially no chance of him serving out the remainder of his term-of-office as president. In fact, he resigned about 13 months later.

I haven't read the Woodward/Butterfield book yet, but certainly want to as soon as possible. There is at least one curious element to Butterfield's story, however. As far back as 1994/'95, he had a contract with a respected mainstream publisher (Little, Brown) to publish his memoirs in 1996 or '97. Around the same time, Butterfield was employed as a consultant to Oliver Stone who was making a movie about Nixon starring Anthony Hopkins (+ Paul Sorvino as Kissinger). When the movie came out in December '95, Stone published an annotated version of the movie's script, perhaps to deflect accusations that the movie was fictional or unfair to Nixon. The book included a brief essay by Alexander Butterfield himself, who made reference to the Little, Brown arrangement and cited his obligation to his publisher as reason for not commenting more fully in Stone's book. Well, for whatever reason, Butterfield's book never appeared in print, even though it obviously must have been written or mostly-written as of 20 years ago. Why not? Hopefully this new book by Woodward will shed some light on that question.
09-30-2015 08:10 PM
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Post: #22
RE: Watergate
Read a book in the 70s. Probably have around the house somewhere. It talked about all the Watergate type things that went on. LBJ had the FBI bug the 1964 Republican convention. The Republicans didn't think that much of what they did as they knew by that time that it had been done to them.
12-22-2015 09:53 PM
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Native Georgian Online
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Post: #23
RE: Watergate
(12-22-2015 09:53 PM)bullet Wrote:  Read a book in the 70s. Probably have around the house somewhere. It talked about all the Watergate type things that went on. LBJ had the FBI bug the 1964 Republican convention. The Republicans didn't think that much of what they did as they knew by that time that it had been done to them.
From the description, it sounds as if the book you're talking about is "It Didn't Start With Watergate", written by Victor Lasky and published in 1977. It was a major national bestseller, back in the pre-Internet, pre-cable news era when books (and book-stores) were a much bigger part of the overall political discussion than they are now.

Lasky published several anti-liberal, anti-Democrat books in his life. He gained a low-brow audience compared to (say) William F. Buckley, but his prose was virtually Shakespearean compared to the Ann Coulter, Michael Moore-types who dominate the political book industry nowadays.

"It Didn't Start With Watergate" basically compiled every negative or unflattering story ever told about FDR, JFK, and LBJ, and then presented them in contrast with the accusations against Nixon, who had just recently resigned and was still something of a political pariah at the time of publication.
(This post was last modified: 12-30-2015 11:42 PM by Native Georgian.)
12-30-2015 11:41 PM
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Post: #24
RE: Watergate
(12-30-2015 11:41 PM)Native Georgian Wrote:  
(12-22-2015 09:53 PM)bullet Wrote:  Read a book in the 70s. Probably have around the house somewhere. It talked about all the Watergate type things that went on. LBJ had the FBI bug the 1964 Republican convention. The Republicans didn't think that much of what they did as they knew by that time that it had been done to them.
From the description, it sounds as if the book you're talking about is "It Didn't Start With Watergate", written by Victor Lasky and published in 1977. It was a major national bestseller, back in the pre-Internet, pre-cable news era when books (and book-stores) were a much bigger part of the overall political discussion than they are now.

Lasky published several anti-liberal, anti-Democrat books in his life. He gained a low-brow audience compared to (say) William F. Buckley, but his prose was virtually Shakespearean compared to the Ann Coulter, Michael Moore-types who dominate the political book industry nowadays.

"It Didn't Start With Watergate" basically compiled every negative or unflattering story ever told about FDR, JFK, and LBJ, and then presented them in contrast with the accusations against Nixon, who had just recently resigned and was still something of a political pariah at the time of publication.

No. This guy was very liberal and very much against government interference. Haven't found it yet. Repainted in the room with all my books and everything is scattered. Think it had a title similar to Woodward's book (Veil-the secret wars of the CIA)-something about the CIA and veils or hidden surveillance. Talked about J. Edgar Hoover's acts as well in the FBI.
01-04-2016 10:36 PM
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Native Georgian Online
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Post: #25
RE: Watergate
Hmm... I'm stumped on that one. Please let me know if you find it again.

The role of the CIA and of the FBI -- both in Watergate itself and in similar activities from that era -- were never fully revealed, IMHO. As years go by I really do believe that Nixon was simply crucified as a kind of sacrifice to the gods in exchange for all the seamy actions that the Government had engaged in, from the early 1930s to the early 1970s. And Nixon himself was a willing participant in many of those actions, so I don't mean for my comment to exonerate him completely. But FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, plus Hoover and the men who ran the CIA and the JCS and Congress -- they were Never held to account for all the illegal things that happened on their watch.
01-05-2016 10:09 AM
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Post: #26
RE: Watergate
Couldn't find it. It was a thick paperback with the cover falling off-I may have gotten rid of it at some point. We used it in a government class in college. Couldn't find it online without remembering the name or author. Did google Agee's tell all book on the CIA from 1975. I remembered the author quoted that book a lot, as well as the Congressional hearings during that time frame.

The author wasn't excusing Nixon, just equally condemning LBJ's and Nixon's administrations. He didn't go too much into things from the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations other than what Hoover did.
01-05-2016 12:05 PM
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Native Georgian Online
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Post: #27
RE: Watergate
(01-05-2016 12:05 PM)bullet Wrote:  a thick paperback with the cover falling off-I may have gotten rid of it at some point.
LOL, the # of books I used-to-have that eventually wound up in that category is in the hundreds.

Quote:The author wasn't excusing Nixon, just equally condemning LBJ's and Nixon's administrations. He didn't go too much into things from the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations other than what Hoover did.
From a moral/ethical standpoint, the Nixon Administration was cut from the exact same cloth as the Administrations of Eisenhower, JFK, and LBJ.
(This post was last modified: 01-18-2016 02:07 AM by Native Georgian.)
01-18-2016 02:07 AM
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Native Georgian Online
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Post: #28
RE: Watergate
Today (13th July) is the anniversary of the date in 1973 on which investigators first found out that President Nixon made secret tape-recordings of his office- and phone-conversations.

Alexander Butterfield, who is still alive today at age 90, was being questioned by lawyers for the "Ervin Committee" in his capacity as an ex-aide to Nixon and Nixon's Chief-of-Staff, Bob Haldeman. Among the lawyers asking the questions was Fred Thompson, who later became a US Senator from Tennessee and played the DA for a couple of years on NBC's "Law & Order".

Butterfield appeared without a lawyer and readily confirmed that tapes of Nixon's conversations existed. He then repeated this testimony in public session on 16th July. Watergate was already a major controversy, but the testimony from Butterfield had a galvanizing impact. Nixon later wrote in his memoirs that this disclosure about the tapes (not their substantive content, but the mere fact that they existed) doomed his presidency to either impeachment or resignation, even though another 13 months would go by before that happened.

Roger Mudd, the reporter/anchor for CBS and NBC News, once referred to Watergate as a series of "holy sh*t!" shocks and revelations. That is, if anything, an understatement. And the news that Nixon "taped himself" was probably the biggest shock of all.

Today, it is known that presidents beginning with FDR started to make secret recordings of their conversations in the 1930s (in other words, as soon as the technology existed to do so). But in July 1973, the general public most definitely did not know that. And the public's sense of shock/outrage fell squarely on Richard Nixon.
07-13-2016 09:10 AM
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