Many of us are going to mark the 45th anniversary of the start of the Watergate scandal in varying ways.
Those of us of a certain age might take time to reflect on what I consider to be the most stupid, unnecessary and ridiculous political scandal of the 20th century.
On June 17, 1972, five idiots broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C.; they rifled through some cabinets, pilfered some papers and then left.
Then came the cover-up. President Nixon sought to call off the investigation being done by the FBI. It all led to the president’s pending impeachment and then his resignation from office.
Why so stupid? So pointless? So needless?
Because the president was en route to a smashing re-election victory later that year. On Nov. 7, 1972, Nixon was re-elected with a 49-state landslide over Sen. George McGovern. He won more than 60 percent of the popular vote: 47 million votes to 29 million votes. That’s an 18-million vote margin!
Every political expert in America knew Nixon would win. They knew he’d win big. Sen. McGovern didn’t have a prayer. I received my political baptism that year working for McGovern in my home state of Oregon, helping register first-time voters among college students in Multnomah County. I, too, was a college student. I also had separated from the Army in August 1970 and had served for a time in Vietnam. I wanted the war to end and I supported McGovern’s candidacy.
But McGovern’s candidacy was doomed. Nixon’s team knew it. So did McGovern’s team.
I am left to wonder 45 years after that ridiculous break-in: What in the hell did the Committee to Re-Elect the President hope to gain from such a stupid stunt?
CREEP blew it, causing their guy — the president — to try to cover it up and it all cost him his job as leader of the free world. And for what purpose?
If they ever create a college curriculum to study “Stupid Political Scandals,” Watergate must serve as the all-time benchmark for stupidity.