John Dean: Worse Than Watergate

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Dean, John. Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush (New York: Little, Brown, 2004)

Dean's critique of the hyper-secretive Bush/Cheney administration is written with a tone of lamentation, as Dean has seen a similar paranoia destroy his former boss Richard Nixon. Dean makes the parallel explicitly in a number of places, such as this: "I thought they played dirty at the Nixon White House, but this [Plamegate] is worse for two reasons. Nixon never went after his enemies' wives, and he never employed a dirty trick that was literally life-threatening." (p. 171) Dean also likens Bush's Iraq to Nixon's Vietnam, writing that:

Not since Lyndon Johnson hoodwinked Congress into issuing the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which authorized sending American troops to Vietnam, has a president so deceived Congress about a matter of such grave national importance. And not since the Reagan administration's disregard of the Boland Amendment has a president shown less regard for congressional authorization in matters relating to war and peace. (p. 152)

Dean stumbles, however, in making a common misattribution on page 186: "When the government fears the people, there is liberty; when the people fear the government, there is tyranny." (See the Jefferson Library's "Guide to Thomas Jefferson Quotations" for a correction; although this is a pithy sentiment, it should not be attributed to Jefferson.)

That minor error aside, Dean has done valuable work in exposing this odiously reactionary administration. For those voters still conned by the endless claims of "national security," Dean provides my Quote of the Day:

Maybe Bush and Cheney can sell their excuses [for excessive secrecy] to those who do not have a clue about such matters or to blind loyalists who will tolerate anything, but none of their secrecy rationalizations can withstand scrutiny. (p. 179)

They won't leave office of their own volition--except when driven out of office by scandal--so we must use the ballot box to effect our own rescue.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on August 24, 2006 1:19 PM.

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