Showing posts from May, 2015

The Haldeman Moment

H.R. Haldeman was the White House Chief of Staff for President Nixon. As the Watergate/Pentagon Papers scandal was slowly unfolding, he at one point tried to explain how the revelations damaged the administration. In doing so, he accidentally composed the most damning accusation of his own administration's wrongdoing: "But out of the gobbledygook, comes a very clear thing: you can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say; and you can’t rely on their judgment; and the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong."  If anybody has done a better job of summarizing the failures of the Nixon administration in five lines or less, I am not aware of it. Though of course, the best summary in five WORDS or less was given by Nixon's famous one-liner: "I am not a crook! Which,