Was Nixon’s Reelection Ted Kennedy’s Fault?

Watergate was a self-inflicted wound by Nixon. The Democratic conference was a disaster that summer season — with scuffling between the New Left and vanquished social gathering moderates, sophomoric liberal antics (there have been votes to offer Mao Zedong, Archie Bunker and Benjamin Spock the vice-presidential nomination) and a basic lack of self-discipline that delayed McGovern’s acceptance speech till virtually 3 a.m. “Solely in Guam,” famous the marketing campaign chronicler Theodore H. White, “was George McGovern talking in prime time below the American flag.”

After which unhealthy turned to worse, because the vice-presidential candidate — Senator Joseph Eagleton of Missouri — was compelled to resign from the ticket for not disclosing hospitalizations, electrical shock classes and different psychological well being remedies he had undergone.

Nixon’s personal conference was beautifully choreographed. He had browbeat the Federal Reserve into stoking the roaring financial system. He was chopping a cope with the North Vietnamese that may doom the American ally, South Vietnam, in the long run however give Nixon one thing to boast about that fall. “Peace is at hand,” stated his adviser, Henry Kissinger, in October.

Via all this, the Watergate coverup continued. With perjury and payoffs, Nixon and his aides cloaked the president’s involvement. On the Washington Submit, two younger reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, helped maintain the story alive. Out of the general public eye, the Submit’s efforts have been matched by considered one of Kennedy’s aides, the inestimable James Flug, that summer season and fall.

Kennedy had discovered how his household’s mystique lured one of the best and brightest to Washington and to his employees, and Flug was a premier instance. Brooklyn-born and hard, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard after which from Harvard Legislation Faculty. Kennedy stored a free rein on his employees, Flug advised me earlier than his dying in 2020, and he was given freedom to roam. He excelled, stated a fellow aide, in taking Ted Kennedy into political thickets, from which the senator needed to hack his method out.

Watergate was the last word thicket. The automobile was Kennedy’s little Judiciary subcommittee. Along with a panel on refugees, and a Senate Labor subcommittee on well being, he chaired an all-purpose toolbox with jurisdiction over the federal authorities’s administrative procedures and practices. Often known as Advert Prac, its constitution was mainly something that Ted Kennedy may persuade the Judiciary chairman, James Eastland of Mississippi, to OK. “It was bottom-up work,” former staffer Thomas Susman stated. Kennedy’s aides introduced their groundwork to the boss. He then made the selection to affix, or to skip, a scrap.

Flug was the Advert Prac counsel. By mid-August, he was well-versed within the Watergate scandal and plugged into the community of legal professionals, authorities accountants and investigators who have been constructing a case in opposition to the president’s males. “Flug was discovering connections and weaving patterns that have been simply kind of mind-boggling,” Kennedy would recall, in an oral historical past for the College of Virginia.

Flug was one of many first congressional investigators to interview Alfred Baldwin, the Nixon hireling who monitored the Watergate wiretaps from a lodge throughout the road — and famously served because the lookout for the burglars on the night time of the break-in. It’s Baldwin who’s immortalized within the opening scenes of the movement image All of the President’s Males, alerting his cohorts (“Base One to Unit One — we’ve got some exercise right here…”) to the arrival of the police.

Flug warned Kennedy, in an extended August memo, that Nixon’s males have been succeeding, through perjury and different means, at overlaying up the ties between the burglars, who have been about to be indicted and delivered to trial, and the White Home.

“The knowledge within the indictments will most likely not present a lot actual element on the who, what or how of the plot,” Flug wrote. “The indictments shall be higher than nothing, (however) they are going to be of very restricted utility in bringing out the entire story.”

In the meantime, the Democrats had chosen McGovern. Kennedy gave a rousing speech on the conference however turned McGovern down when requested to be his operating mate. Kennedy’s household was frightened about his security, and he instinctively recoiled from the inconsequential duties of the workplace. “I’m not reduce out that method,” he advised the Boston Globe. “The vice presidency is nice for some individuals. Nonetheless, I don’t want that type of publicity.”

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