It is hard to believe, but it is now 40 years since Richard Nixon was forced out of the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.
It was stunning that a President, who had won 49 of the 50 states, and all but 17 electoral votes, would be the only President to resign after only one year and almost seven months of his second term.
It was also amazing that Nixon was the only President facing impeachment, and resigning after the House Judiciary Committee, in a bipartisan vote, adopted three articles of impeachment, who truly deserved impeachment.
Andrew Johnson was wrongfully impeached and found not guilty in 1868, and Bill Clinton was to face the same circumstances and results in 1998-1999. And now, there is a threat of Barack Obama facing the same scenario next year, but with the same results assured.
The point was that Richard Nixon had actually been abusive of his powers as President, and had led a lawless administration unmatched before or since.
It is also a tragic story as, in reality, Richard Nixon had many accomplishments in foreign and domestic policy, many of which remain part of American life 40 years later, particularly so in domestic affairs, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration, among others.
The evaluation and interpretation of Richard Nixon will continue to be controversial, and a new HBO special, “Nixon on Nixon,” has been unveiled this week, demonstrating the man’s illegalities and prejudices and biases, straight from the Watergate tapes themselves. Additionally, a new book has been published with the revelation of these tapes, authored by historian Douglas Brinkley of Rice University, with the assistance of Professor Luke Nichter of Texas A & M University.
So Nixon will be written about for generations, both for the good he did, as well as the bad!