Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I was present when Dean said "impeachable offense"

Talk about a witness to history. A few years from now, I feel confident I'll look back and say, I was present at the turning point that led ultimately to Bush's impeachment.

Last Sunday was my birthday. A friend of mine had invited me to come hear John Dean interview Barbara Boxer about her new novel at a synagogue here in Los Angeles. The event was sponsored by a local writer's group. (God bless writers!!)
I was excited to see Boxer because although I've followed her for years, I've never seen her in person.

She's fantastic. Passionate. And the most articulate person on the subject of abortion and why a woman's right to choose should not be considered a "liberal" or "Democratic" issue but indeed a bill of rights issue. When challenged about her opposition to a move to make women notify their husbands in writing in advance of getting an abortion, she turned that back on the males pressuring her, and said, do you think you should have to notify your wife before getting a vasectomy? Not one man said yes.

I took notes. I'll share. Boxer was fantastic. But Dean stole the show...

He opened by joking that usually he was the one answering questions from Senators, not asking them. He asked Boxer to describe her book, and she described it as a political page-turner. From the excerpts she read, I was less impressed with her writing abilities than at the way she was throwing light on how government really operates. On that basis alone I think it will be an interesting read.
Just about everything Boxer said brought a YES out of me. "Secrecy is unAmerican." YES! "The truth is a commodity not well respected by this administration." YES!! Regarding the Democratic party's lethargy in addressing the Iraq war and the administration's wrongdoings, "We have awakened." YES!!!

Dean and Boxer talked briefly about how, especially in comparison to Bush, Nixon could almost be called an environment president. Boxer said something about how some of the best environmental legislation was signed in by Nixon. If he were campaigning today, Dean said, Nixon could run as a Green. "Well, I wouldn't go THAT far," laughed Boxer.

And then, almost from out of the blue, as the talk moved to the spying on Americans, Dean blurted out how Bush was "the first president to ever confess to an impeachable offense." I sat there stunned, for a moment. Then I wrote it in my notes. But was it true? It seemed like too rich candy, a too expensive toy - something to desire but not actually have. So imagine my joy this morning to see that Boxer had been quickfooted, had contacted four presidential scholars, and had concluded from them that Dean was right. This IS an impeachable offense. Wow!

That wasn't the end of the talk, however. That comment came early on. There were other notable comments. Re the Republicans who voted in support of torture, Dean decried, "May it haunt them forever." When justifying the title of his last book, "Worse than Watergate", Dean succinctly stated, "No one died as a result of Watergate." That was succinct, but perhaps not entirely accurate. E. Howard Hunt's wife was killed in a plane crash that many feel was deliberately sabotaged.

But it was the title of Dean's next book that sent shivers through me. I couldn't believe he would dare. His next book is "Conservatives Without Conscience." Wow. That really sums up the current administration and Congressional leaders.

Hearing the words "admitted to an impeachable offense" was perhaps the sweetest of birthday gifts I received Sunday. Sharing that experience with a friend was a close runner up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In today's political atmosphere, Nixon could indeed run on the Green Party or Democrat ticket. John F. Kennedy would have to run as a Republican, though.

When a listener earlier this summer sent in a tape of a speech by John F. Kennedy to the New York Economic Club in 1962 in which Kennedy spoke of the economically stimulative effect of tax cuts, Rush played the tape with his own annotations on the air and retroactively proclaimed Kennedy a dittohead.

Kennedy adroitly dodged criticizing fellow Senator Joseph McCarthy's controversial campaign to root out Communists and Soviet spies in the U.S. government, because of McCarthy's popularity in Massachusetts. McCarthy was a friend of JFK, JFK's father, dated the Kennedy sisters, and younger brother Robert F. Kennedy briefly worked for McCarthy. Although Kennedy was ill during the 65–22 vote to censure McCarthy, he was criticized by McCarthy opponents such as Eleanor Roosevelt who later said of the episode, "he should have displayed less profile, and more courage".

An example of Kennedy's political suppleness, prior to the 1960 campaign, was his handling of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He voted for final passage, while earlier voting for the "jury trial amendment", which some people feel rendered the Act toothless. He was able to say to both sides that he supported them.

Kennedy used the construction of the Berlin Wall as an example of the failures of communism - "Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in."

as president, Kennedy initially believed the grassroots movement for civil rights would only anger many Southern whites and make it even more difficult to pass civil rights laws through Congress, which was dominated by Southern Democrats, and he distanced himself from it. As a result, many civil rights leaders viewed Kennedy as unsupportive of their efforts.

in 1963 Kennedy proposed a tax reform that included income tax cuts, but this was not passed by the Congress until after his death in 1964. It is one of the largest tax cuts in modern U.S. history, surpassing the Reagan tax cut of 1981.

Kennedy appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

Byron Raymond White - 1962
Arthur Joseph Goldberg - 1962

following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm delivered a speech as he regularly would. However, when asked to comment upon the assassination, he replied that it was a case of "chickens coming home to roost" – that the violence that JFK had failed to stop, and at times refused to rein in had come around to claim his life. Most explosively, he then added that with his country origins, "Chickens coming home to roost never made me sad. It only made me glad."

Both JFK and Richard Nixon were elected to Congress in 1946, a year in which the New Deal took a serious beating as the Republicans regained control of Congress on the slogan "Had Enough?" Nixon of course, had campaigned against incumbent Jerry Voorhis on an anti-New Deal platform, but it's often forgotten that when JFK first ran for the House in 1946, he differentiated himself from his Democratic primary opposition by describing himself as a "fighting conservative." (1) In private, Kennedy's antipathy to the traditional FDR New Deal was even more extensive. In his diary, which was published in 1995, it was discovered that in 1945, he had written this.

"Mr. Roosevelt has contributed to the end of capitalism in our own country, although he would probably argue the point at some length. He has done this not through the laws which he sponsored or were passed during his presidency, but rather through the emphasis he put on rights rather than responsibilites." (2)

JFK's opposition for the nomination came entirely from the left, first from Hubert Humphrey in the primaries, and then from Adlai Stevenson and Stuart Symington at the Convention. The same distaste JFK had felt for old-guard liberals in his first campaign of 1946, was still there in 1960. (10)

Bartlett was also present at a New Year's dinner on December 31, 1959 where he heard JFK get his true feelings out in the open. So startled was Bartlett by the declaration that he recorded it for posterity the next day.

"Had dinner with Jack and Jackie---talked about presidential campaign a lot--Jack says if the Democrats don't nominate him, he's going to vote for Nixon." (11)

And several months later, JFK still took the opportunity to defend Nixon from the standard liberal assaults. A JFK neighbor Joan Gardner, recalled attending a dinner at JFK's house, where she referred to Nixon as "dreadful." To her surprise, JFK shot back, "You have no idea what he's been through. Dick Nixon is the victim of the worst press that ever hit a politician in this country. What they did to him in the Helen Gahagan Douglas race was disgusting."

As president, Nixon imposed wage and price controls, indexed Social Security for inflation, created SSI, continued the Great Society, and seriously considered establishing a minimum income for all Americans. The number of pages added to the Federal Register each year doubled under Nixon. He gave real life to federal drug policy, advocated gun control (believing that, in an ideal world, handguns would be outlawed), and eradicated the last remnants of the gold standard. Nixon also created the EPA and OSHA and implemented the Philadelphia Plan, the first significant federal affirmative action program.

Nixon appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

Warren E. Burger - Chief Justice - 1969
Harry Andrew Blackmun - 1970
Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr. - 1972
William Rehnquist - 1972

Establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Establishment of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Establishment of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Establishment of the Supplemental Security Income program.
Establishment of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise
Pursuit of a National Health Insurance (NHI) Plan

Additional evidence that Richard Nixon was more liberal than John Kennedy:

Of the two judges Kennedy appointed to the Supreme Court, one of them was the very conservative Byron White, one of the original two dissenters of Roe v. Wade. Of the four judges Nixon appointed to the Supreme court, only one was very conservative (William Rehnquist).

During Nixon's first year in office, 1969, the "draft lottery" began. Prior to that, young men could avoid the draft by attending college or private schools.
1970, the first year of major troop withdrawals from Vietnam and in 1973 the military draft was cancelled in favor of an all-volunteer force.

Also, when Nixon left office, the USA was left with his choice for VP= Gerald Ford.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Real History Lisa said...

I'm sorry you are so ill-read on history that you find McAdams' site and Wikipedia credible. Try getting OFFline and reading the words from Kennedy's own speeches and writings, and his actions during the Cuban missile crisis speak the loudest of all.

And I'm not fond of anonymous posters. If you can't indentify yourself in some way, you really are not welcome here. This is for people willing to stand up and be counted. Anonymous people are weasels that sneak attack in the night.

11:17 PM  

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