Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Culture of the Cover Up - A Tricky Spin on Weiner

The Culture of the Cover Up – A Tricky Spin on Weiner
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
June 9, 2011

A Weiner by any other name is still a Nixon.

In this, the month of the cover up of all cover ups, US Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) should have learned a lesson from history that the cover up and subsequent lies are typically worse than the original act.

June 17, 1972 – a date that should have lived in obscurity was the Watergate break-in – the name that would lend itself to political scandals henceforth and forever more. Travel-gate, Monica-gate, Nanny-gate, Trooper-gate, and now, Weenie-gate, which will no doubt permeate the nightmares of many for some time to come.

Watergate – a third-rate burglary by the famed “Plumbers” unit, whether authorized or not by President Richard M. Nixon lead to the unraveling of his presidency. Not because of the break-in, but because of the lies and cover up that ensued.

Nixon’s own psyche and deep-rooted paranoia lead to his ultimate undoing and subsequent resignation on August 9, 1974. All Nixon had to do was to announce what the five burglars had done, have them prosecuted and then pardon them following the reelection in November of 1972. Watergate would have been a forgotten footnote of history and Nixon would have completed his term in office.

Instead, the lies and cover up lead to the first presidential resignation in United States history. Nixon was, as many are, too concerned what the public would think of him. His was a special brand of paranoia – he didn’t like people, but in public life was forced to be surrounded by them. He believed his closest confidants were out to get him.

And arrogance knew no bounds as it did with “Tricky Dick,” a nickname Nixon acquired going back to the days of his U.S. Senate campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas in California in 1950 – a race he won handily 59 percent to 41 percent. Nixon told British journalist David Frost in a post-presidential interview, “It’s not against the law when the president does it.”

Congressman Weiner may not have broken the law, but he certainly leads the league in arrogance. He said he will not resign, and that is his choice. But Weiner has also given his constituents a choice too – send an arrogant troll back to Congress to represent their best interests, or send him a message that deviant behavior should not be rewarded with the responsibility of elected office.

Supposedly George Washington could not tell a lie and Abraham Lincoln’s moniker was “Honest Abe.” Some myths of history are worth both perpetuating as well as emulating.

Sanford D. Horn is an educator and writer living in Westfield, IN.

[This column appeared in the Current in Westfield.]

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