Commentary: Before You Wax Nostalgic
By Dan Lenard
Buffalo, NY – Last weeks revelation that Former assistant FBI Director, Mark Felt was the celebrated "Deep Throat" of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate reporting, brought back a flood of memories. The filter of time passage however, has made me think twice about the whole episode. I'm old enough to recall, with awe, the entire Watergate phenomenon. I was a Junior and Senior at Kenmore West High School. I have clear memories of sitting on the living room floor, engrossed in the testimony of John Dean, John Mitchell, Erlichmann and Halderman before the select Congressional committee. My mother I recall, was knitting an afghan as we watched every evening. In fact the hearings went on so long, I think she ended up knitting two that summer. "Do you understand what these guys are saying about the President?" my dad would ask. I understood all to well.
The press is treating Felt as a hero. If you hated Nixon, I suppose he was to you. However, you can't help but think the nation might have been spared what Gerald Ford called "Our long national nightmare." Felt fessing up to the long mystery makes me ask, could he have handled the information he had differently, and with more dignity?
As Assistant Director of the FBI, Felt had a duty to come forward with what he knew about the wrong doings at the White House. It is clear that he was a disgruntled government bureaucrat who felt snubbed by the Nixon Administration for being passed over for the FBI Directors job that was given to FBI outsider, L. Patrick Grey.
If Felt believed that bringing the things he knew to Grey would create a dead end to the story, he had a responsibility to resign, and go public. Instead, he chose keeping his job and going cloak and dagger with Woodward. There's no honor in that. No one can defend what Nixon did. He clearly abused his power. While it might be stretch, had Felt gone public, the story would have had greater traction and Nixon would have been brought down all that much quicker.
Try looking outside the box before you liberals wax nostalgic. Think about profound impact the whole Watergate affair had on history. Watergate led to the election of the Jimmy Carter. Good for liberals. However, It was Carter's pie in the sky economic policies and inept foreign policy that lead to the Iranian Revolution, which lead to the Hostage crisis which brought America 12 years of Ronald Regan and George Bush 41, not to mention the seeds for today's Radical Islamic problem. Bad for Liberals.
It was the Watergate scandal that showed the power of the media, which lead to my generation entering the mass media field en masse. I got caught up in it as well. The end result is that we have media that looks at everything Conservative, good or bad, with a skeptical eye. Good for liberals, except, up until the advent of the Internet, we had an grossly unbalanced view of the world. That was bad for everyone.
I find it almost comical the way the partisan Liberal media is treating Felt as a hero. He was no hero to the 60's generation. In 1980, Felt and another senior FBI veteran were convicted of conspiring nearly a decade earlier to violate the civil rights of domestic dissidents in the Weather Underground movement. President Reagan then pardoned him. Felt didn't undermine the Nixon Administration for the good of the Democratic Party or Civil Rights or because he hated the Vietnam War. His motivations were far simpler. From all accounts, he did it for revenge. He did it for his own selfish purposes. As much as Nixon deserved his fate, by choosing the "Deep Throat" approach, Felt is equally dishonored.
"Looking Outside the Box" with veteran Buffalo radio broadcaster Dan Lenard is a monthly feature of WBFO News.