: New: Book Report: All the President's Men

I didn't think I'd learn anything from this book, but I was wrong. I thought everybody knows the story of All the President's Men: Plucky reporters Woodward and Bernstein investigate Watergate; they have a contact named Deep Throat who they contact via paranoid spycraftish meetings; President Nixon gets impeached. And those are the broad strokes. But there are some details in there.

For example, student government was in there. I always thought that student government was a waste of time, nothing to do with real government. But the Nixon White House "dirty tricks" had their origin in USC student government. The stakes are low, but it's a low-stakes way to practice lying, vote fraud, burglary, and such.

It was good to get a reminder of why warrantless wiretapping is a bad idea: an overeager president might get a little hazy on the difference between enemies-of-the-state and those-considering-voting-for-someone-else. Such a president might decide to wiretap everybody. Put that together with accepting payments to your political party as brib^W reasons not to pursue criminal charges, and you've got a pretty effective campaign for your next term.

When it became clear that President Nixon really was a crook, one of the few folks willing to spend any time with him was his California friend, aerosol inventor Robert "Bob" Abplanalp. Or, as I prefer to think of him, B. Abplanalp. There are also people with the last name Planalp, which is even better.

Tags: book choice politics

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