What a Shame: Watergate Revisited
Guillermo Calvo Mahé and Diana Marcela Cardenas Garcia, December 15, 2018
So, … this morning I awake, again recalling Troy’s Cassandra.
During the past year I’ve written about my concern with the accelerated politization of the judiciary by rabid, anti-Trump federal judges, primarily those at the district and appellate levels of the Ninth Circuit, who, through use of nationwide injunctions have successfully usurped clearly executive or legislative functions. I noted in a conference on constitutional law sponsored by the Universidad de Caldas in the Republic of Colombia during November of 2017 that both sides of the polarized political spectrum could play at the same game, throwing governance into chaos. That has now happened with US District Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision concerning the Affordable Care Act in the case of Texas v United States, et., al., Civil Action №4:18-cv-00167-O in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division (see, e.g., Abby Goodnough and Robert Pear, “Texas Judge Strikes Down Obama’s Affordable Care Act as Unconstitutional”, The New York Times, December 14, 2018).
While not as absurd as the myriad of decisions using nationwide injunctions to exceed the territorial limits that ought to apply to decisions of federal courts below the Supreme Court, the decision in this case, regardless of its merit or lack thereof, has the same polarizing effect and is subject to the same criticism of politicization. Indeed, it was Republican plaintiff’s attacking Obama administration actions who pioneered the nationalization of local decisions through use of nationwide injunctions, a strategy and tactic Democratic Party partisans all too soon made their own. In response to the decision, somewhat responsibly, the White House late Friday, said: “We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place.” But it seems unlikely that such adult reaction will actually long remain in place.
The radical political polarization of both the judiciary and the criminal justice system by Clinton — Obama Democrats (i.e., the Mueller and Southern District of New York “investigations”) will likely have a lasting detrimental effect on all aspects of governance in the United States as, contrary to the posture of candidate Hillary Clinton, her supporters and the purportedly mainstream media during the 2016 presidential debates, the results of democratic elections are now all too frequently rejected by the losers and attempts to undo them through de facto coups d’état have become the norm. At some point a president will refuse to abide by a clearly inappropriate judicial decision by a politically partisan judge and the walls of separation of powers will come tumbling down, the Constitution not only incoherent, as it is now, but destroyed. He or she will be blamed by an opposition Congress and impeached without a real legal basis and will then rely on military force justified by the permanent state of emergency in place for close to a century in order to remain in office and the Civil War in suspension since 1865 will resume, perhaps with a different configuration. That is what echoes of Troy’s Cassandra seem to be screaming from her grave somewhere in what was once Anatolia.
All of this has been triggered, if not caused, by the insane lust for power of a cackling dowager and her deluded supporters, the spark that is igniting the Deep State tinder that has been collected for so very long. The current crisis should make us recall and perhaps, were we wise, reconsider the Watergate affair, especially given that the government intrusions deemed inappropriate then have now become the norm. The conduct of the Obama administration with respect to the Trump presidential campaign makes anything Richard Nixon did look like child’s play, and we’re not even speaking of bad children.
The same coalition that orchestrated the successful de facto coup d’état then, Democratic politicians and hate filled historians and pseudo journalists, reveled in that result, ignoring the resentment of a large portion of the population, probably a majority: destruction of democracy in the name of democracy by a purportedly liberal elite really loyal to a neoliberal cabal that had appropriated, through extralegal means, the reins of government, what unadulterated joy, a precedent they desperately hope to employ again. But Donald Trump lacks Richard Nixon’s much more strategic perspective and willingness to accept personal destruction and failure for the benefit of us all, as he did not only in 1974 but also following the stolen 1960 election when the Mafia led dead in Chicago (see, e.g., Theodore White’s Making of a President, 1960), rose to place Joe Kennedy’s son in the oval office. An election candidate Nixon refused to challenge because of the damage he believed it would cause to our political system. Can you imagine the Clinton — Obama cabal taking such self-effacing action, can you imagine Mr. Trump doing so?
Richard Nixon, what irony, the president who proposed national healthcare and a guaranteed minimum wage almost half a century ago, who orchestrated rapprochement with China and détente with the Soviet Union but who is remembered for not ending a war the Democratic Party started soon enough, and for an eighteen minute gap in a tape and a bungled political burglary. Probably the most progressive president in our history but painted in such ugly shades of grey by his opponents, and woe to he or she who thinks otherwise, why that would be akin to denying the Holocaust. But as we know (or ought to know), history has little to do with accuracy, it is a work of fiction writ by victors to justify their own transgressions. No wonder the Deep State hated him so.
Democracy’s blood is accurate and complete information and its heart is real journalism, perhaps that’s why we’ve never really experienced democracy in the United States, just its zombie simulacrum, but even its verisimilitude is fading more and more every day. Soon we will wake and find that “too late to save it” was in the distant past. And ultimately, our inability to meet the First Amendment’s aspirations, the absence of a real free, independent and honest press, will be to blame.
What a shame.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé and Diana Marcela Cardenas Garcia; Manizales, 2018; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at www.guillermocalvo.com. Diana Marcela Cardenas Garcia is a Colombian social communicator and journalist who collaborates with Dr. Calvo on diverse civic, social and political projects.