Posted In: Lingering Questions on June 16, 2015

  • Most certainly – and I mean both the initial scandal and the resulting over-reaction of the reformers. 
  • All of the so-called Watergate reforms have been ineffective – and the abuse of institutions remains a constant threat.  Put simply, you cannot legislate morality.
  • The Founding Fathers had it right:  they greatly feared concentrations of power and hit upon the solution of three co-equal branches operating in a system of checks and balances.
  • When you get bright and self-assured officials who are so committed to their particular point of view that they decide that their ends justifies their means, then you get the conditions that led to Watergate:  intellectual arrogance and institutional abuse. 
  • All that’s then needed for a national scandal is when the political pendulum swings back the other way – and you get a Congress willing to take on the President and, perhaps, a special prosecutor.
  • Special Prosecutors are an invitation to abuse:  when a group of specially-recruited, highly partisan prosecutors is assembled to target a specific group of individuals, our Fifth Amendment’s guarantees of due process seem to evaporate in the rush to secure convictions.
  • The greater the perceived abuse from the one side, the greater the over-reaction from the other.

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