William Ruckelshaus, who resigned rather than fire Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation, feels a skin-crawling sense of deja vu. A snippet:
It’s hard to believe that, 45 years later, we may be in store for another damaging attack on the foundations of our democracy. Yet the cynical conduct of this president, his attorneys and a handful of congressional Republicans is frightening to me and should be to every citizen of this country.
I remember the evening of the Saturday Night Massacre to which Ruckelshaus refers in his article. I had been following the Washington Post’s Watergate coverage via a mail subscription. (I had gotten quite fond of the Post, which was available in Williamsburg and Charlottesville, where I attended school)
I was watching the breaking news with my parents when my father disappeared from the room. My father had almost certainly voted for Nixon,* but he was by no means a rabid Nixon supporter. I realized later that he had reached a Nixonian breaking point and had been dispatching telegrams (remember telegrams?) to our Congress Critters protesting Nixon’s actions.
*I have long been convinced that Richard Nixon’s presidency would be remembered much more kindly than it is, but for two things: his duplicitous strategy to prolong the war in Viet Nam and the bizarre combination of paranoia and hubris that culminated in Watergate.