I was alive in 1973. I remember the uproar when Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. At eleven years old, I did not fully comprehend the political and constitutional train wreck that ensued. I remember the bow tie. And the crew cut. In those days, I did have a solid sense about most everything that Richard Nixon did and said had a piquant of scandal. And treachery. He was a bad man and he was doing bad things. I read enough of Time magazine to know that. After I read the movie reviews, of course.
Looking back, it's not hard to connect the dots. Backed into a corner, where Tricky Dick spent a good portion of his professional life, he chose to make a public display of his power. "Investigate me? I don't think so!" He ordered his Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Cox. When he said he'd rather resign than do that, Nixon said, "Okey dokey," accepted and moved down the ladder to the Deputy Attorney General, William Ruckelshaus. He sent the same message to the embattled president, so he was let go as well. It was then up to Solicitor General, Robert Bork to get rid of Archibald Cox. And he did. Which may be part of the reason why, years later, Bork was denied a seat on the Supreme Court. Ted Kennedy asked us not to " reach into the muck of Watergate" for our Supreme Court Justices.
Now, some thirty-four years later, we have a "president" who seems determined to get rid of anyone who might start sniffing around his rather curious connections. And the firing of FBI Director James Comey brings headlines that ask "Why?" Why now? Why not wait for the full report to come from the Justice Department? Perhaps because that report already bears the barely legible orange crayon scrawl that says, "You're Fired."
It didn't happen in one night, but over the course of three months, the "President" has fired three people: Sally Yates, Preet Bharara, and James Comey. All three of these folks were investigating the White House's ties to Russia. Hard, at this moment, not to reach back into that muck of Watergate. Hard to imagine why we didn't learn from the first time.
Maybe we will this time.