Sunday, April 7, 2013

April 7, 1973

John Dean continues to keep everyone in the dark: with the president and his top aides in California still, Dean calls and tells them he's to meet with the prosecutors the next day. Here's Haldeman's notes:


Dean called later today, said his lawyers had met with U.S. Attorneys again, that they only want to get the facts on the Watergate and that they do not expect to go beyond that. Dean believes this, says that Liddy has told them everything he knows, they don't believe Hunt and are going to push him harder, they want to meet with Dean tomorrow off the record with no action, to discuss the problems of how he would testify [...] He says the grand jury's scope is not broad in what they're trying to cover, and they want what happened pre-Watergate. They're not interested in post-Watergate, which they think is a can of worms. They want Dean because of his knowledge, want to get those points laid out so that they can move on their investigation of others to nail someone on the pre-Watergate planning.


Was there anything they could have done at this point to save themselves? Or at least, if not all of them, the presidency? Perhaps not -- but they certainly failed completely to see what they were walking into.

1 comment:

  1. Was there anything they could have done at this point to save themselves? Or at least, if not all of them, the presidency?

    I'll take a shot at this one. Besides destroying the tapes, the best thing Nixon could have done for himself at this point was prevent the Yom Kippur War. Tensions were building toward it, and I don't know exactly what options the US had, but I would think some fancy footwork on Kissinger's part could have at least put off the Mideast crisis -- maybe some kind of back-channel assurances to Egypt about recovering its land, or some kind of quid-pro-quo with the Soviets that would have led them to soft-pedal their backing for Sadat. In any case, something that kept that war from happening that fall, and therefore kept the Arab oil embargo from happening, and therefore kept the US out of the 1974 recession. If we accept that the best predictors of an incumbent's fortunes in an election year are economic indicators like rising vs. falling disposable income, Nixon's political situation would have been deteriorating through 1974 regardless, for reasons having nothing to do with Watergate, as these graphs suggest:

    Maybe if the economy holds up, enough of his support does too, and he squeaks through what amounted to a recall election by congressional proxy in the summer of '74. Or at any rate, the momentum slows enough that something else breaks his way. It's a thin reed, I know, but I'd say that whatever he could do to keep oil prices down would have helped as much as anything else he was likely to do.


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