Ron Reagan and Ron Christie discuss clashing portrayals of Ronald Reagan -- Perlstein's smart, shrewd charmer (The Invisible Bridge) and Cannon's under-informed raconteur (Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime). Consensus: he was a shrewd fabulist. And on the 40th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, both Rons lament the Watergate-ization of politics but disagree who's the better president -- RN or BO.
It has been widely reported that August 9 marks the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's resignation. What has received considerably less attention is that the date also marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of what may well be the stupidest thing ever written about Watergate: an op-ed column for The Washington Post by one Benjamin J. Stein.
Liberals who foolishly thought they'd won on August 8, 1974, have spent most of the last 40 years on the defensive, failed by stubborn hubris as Vietnam became Iraq, as B-52s became drones, as segregation became the mass incarceration of young American blacks, as J. Edgar Hoover's FBI became the NSA of Dick Cheney... and Barack Obama.
Trying to shift the blame for Nixon's role in the Watergate cover up squarely onto his counsel, John Dean, is ridiculous in the extreme. Still, this is precisely what Nixon's son-in-law, Edward Cox, did on MSNBC this past Sunday morning, when, among other things, he referred to Watergate as a "small incident."