Peggy Noonan: Mark Felt Caused Genocide And Chuck Colson Was Watergate’s Hero
Peggy Noonan’s latest Wall Street Journal column reads as if it’s a satire piece— but, no, folks it is 100 percent for real. It’s truly hard to believe it is.
Before we even discuss it we MUST say a few things:
- This is the last column of her’s we’ll read. We already subscribe to Mad Magazine and although her writing is a bit funnier, we get more variety in Mad. And we suspect if the column below was submitted as a satire, Mad would reject it for being too off-the-wall. The Onion? Her column isn’t quite cutting edge enough.
- In all seriousness, her newest column echoes the bitter, angry, attack-mode words of former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein and overall near-hysteria on the part of far right conservatives, Watergate-era officials and talk show hosts who are using the revelation of key source Deep Throat as a chance to rebattle Nixon’s impeachment, argue it was all liberal plot, a media plot and suggest that the REAL villains weren’t the people in the administration abusing the American people’s trust by misusing the government and lying (the word is ACCURATE here because the tapes proved it) but those who dared to bring Nixon down. These GOPers convieniently forget the Republican PATRIOTS such as Barry Goldwater who let Nixon know it was time to go.
As usual, Noonan writes in a lyrical style. But for this post we’ll simply quote her and be as unlyrical and blunt ourselves for our readers (who we find are independent thinkers, no matter what parties they belong to). Here are a few excerpts for the latest attack on the 91-year-old former second in command at the FBI who we now know was Deep Throat:
Was Mr. Felt a hero? No one wants to be hard on an ailing 91-year-old man.
We’re SURE, Ms. Noonan was shedding tears as she began to start her part of the parade of GOPers seeking the equivilent of revenge on Felt for his role in the Watergate stories. MORE:
Mr. Felt no doubt operated in some perceived jeopardy and judged himself brave.
No, Ms. Noonan: MILLIONS of Americans even today consider him brave. That includes many in the Republican party who, to judging by our emails, are aghast at the spectacle of fellow GOPers going after Felt and defending Nixon’s Watergate behavior.
It’s GOP hacks — those who put loyaly to their party and to one man before the country’s sacred democracy — who are out there using every argument possible to go after Felt and try to polish up the buried corpse of Nixon — a President who, by the way, was quite good in many other ways. MORE:
He had every right to disapprove of and wish to stop what he saw as new moves to politicize the FBI. But a hero would have come forward, resigned his position, declared his reasons, and exposed himself to public scrutiny. He would have taken the blows and the kudos. (Knowing both Nixon and the media, there would have been plenty of both.) Heroes pay the price. Mr. Felt simply leaked information gained from his position in government to damage those who were doing what he didn’t want done. Then he retired with a government pension. This does not appear to have been heroism, and he appears to have known it. Thus, perhaps, the great silence.
A hero who was President would also have admitted an error, cut his losses and moved on. OR he would have admitted he erred and awaited judgement by Congress. OR he would have admitted error and quit. He wouldn’t have put the country through the agony that Nixon put the US through — until patriotic Democrats and REPUBLICANS had to march into his office to his office to tell him there was no hope due to the “smoking gun” tapes that had just come out.
Then she goes into his motives — and gets down to blaming him for genoicide.
Ben Stein is angry but not incorrect: What Mr. Felt helped produce was a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time. Nixon’s ruin led to a cascade of catastrophic events–the crude and humiliating abandonment of Vietnam and the Vietnamese, the rise of a monster named Pol Pot, and millions–millions–killed in his genocide. America lost confidence; the Soviet Union gained brazenness. What a terrible time. Is it terrible when an American president lies and surrounds himself by dirty tricksters? Yes, it is. How about the butchering of children in the South China Sea. Is that worse? Yes. Infinitely, unforgettably and forever.
Doesn’t she and Stein realize what they’re saying?
- Republican Gerald Ford REPLACED Nixon. So she and Stein are suggesting Ford was incompetent.
- Henry Kissinger was Secretary of State under Ford. She she’s suggesting Kissinger was an incompetent.
The fallacy of this argument is so stupifying it defies description…but let’s try:
The GOP has many thoughtful people, who cooly make their party’s arguments with logic. Noonan, Stein and Buchanan, in particular, now deserve a room on Mars with Dennis Kucinich and Alan Keyes. They are entertaining but truly not to be taken seriously as thinkers or analyists anymore. They have become self-parodies.
But HERE is where Noonan has made yours truly decide pass on reading anything she writes in the future (of course, she may threaten to stop reading The Moderate Voice, but we will press on with life somehow):
Were there heroes of Watergate? Surely many unknown ones, those who did their best to be constructive and not destructive, those who didn’t think it was all about their beautiful careers. I’ll give you a candidate for great man of the era: Chuck Colson. Colson functioned in the Nixon White House as a genuinely bad man, went to prison and emerged a genuinely good man. He told the truth about himself in “Born Again,” a book not fully appreciated as the great Washington classic it is, and has devoted his life to helping prisoners and their families. He paid the price, told the truth, blamed no one but himself, and turned his shame into something helpful. Children aren’t dead because of him. There are children who are alive because of him.
So COLSON is the hero.
Note that Colson went to prison FIRST and was born again, wrote a book, etc.
Colson didn’t do anything in the White House to come forward with what he knew. Nor did he do anything to halt the unfolding scandal. Nor did he march into Nixon’s office and tell him the proper thing was to resign.
Colson (who reportedly has done many laudable things with his ministry, by the way) found God, is a Republican, worked for Nixon and isn’t a liberal. He is on Noonan’s “team” while Felt was working against her “team.”
Do THINKING conservatives realize how badly this makes people in their camp look?
There was a time when conservatives had a legitimate point about extremist rhetoric and lack of logic on the far left. People who were not conservatives would look at conservatives pointing to the far left and say, “Gee, they’re right. How can I be on the same SIDE with these people. All they do is hate and namecall. They don’t have an agenda, they’re just bitter and angry.”
Now, increasingly, with a series of policies and over-the-top pronouncements, some in the conservative movement are becoming to the conservative movement what the far left has been to the liberal movement: people who only seem happy lashing out at enemies and trying to discredit and/or completely destroy them. They have one mantra: partisanship.
Hero? Maybe Felt wasn’t perfect. But, no, Peggy and Ben, don’t blame Felt for genocide, since Ford and Kissinger WERE THE ONES running foreign policy when Nixon resigned. (And it isn’t fair to blame them, either.)
No matter what charges you throw at this 91-year-old man, he proved more of a patriot in the Watergate era than the people who were abusing government power, lying to Congress and in front of television cameras and who eventually had to go to jail because they were CONVICTED of crimes — or who didn’t go to jail because they were pardoned.
PS: Felt’s family now wanting money for his story is a separate issue. It does NOT alter what he did 30 years ago. Unless someone is a candidate for a straight jacket they won’t argue that he talked to the Post reporters, planning to wait 31 years, and then cash in on the story. But we are SURE we will hear this theory on talk radio very soon…So we’re looking on Ebay for some straight jackets.
We’ll make sure they have a logo of Mars on them.
BUT THAT’S JUST OUR VIEW. THERE ARE OTHER VOICES ON THIS ISSUE. A cross section:
—Rich Trott has an extensive post. Here’s a small taste:
Peggy Noonan’s idiotic approach to history results in her suggesting that Mark Felt is to blame for the murder of millions in Southeast Asia because Felt helped bring down the Nixon presidency….But judging from Noonan’s piece, it’s not Nixon & co.’s fault that they committed crimes that forced Nixon from office. Nixon & co. are the vicitims. The genocide of Pol Pot is, in Noonan’s view, Mark Felt’s fault. This is lunacy…
She nominates Charles Colson as a “great man.”
So, in Peggy Noonan’s view, if you report wrongdoing, you’re responsible for the fallout. But if you commit the wrongdoing that was being reported, you’re a hero as long as you serve some prison time, become born-again, and tow the conservative political line. The consequences of your actions conveniently become the fault of someone else.Is Peggy Noonan’s column always this stupid?
–Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff:
But this doesn’t mean that Watergate was a psuedo-scandal, as many conservatives suggest. The dirty tricks and improper tactics used by President Nixon’s operatives against his political opponents were a serious matter, and no less so just because President Johnson and to a lesser extent other presidents had employed some similar measures. When Nixon participated in, and indeed tried to orchestrate, a cover-up, he committed offenses that arguably warranted his removal from office. Many of those who pushed for Nixon’s removal were unsavory characters themselves, or have become so in subsequent years. But that’s not relevant to the merits of the case against Nixon. Indeed, Nixon himself seemed partially to recognize this fact in the remarks he made upon resigning.
I’m also a little puzzled by those who, like Ben Stein, blame the proceedings against Nixon for the fall of South Vietnam and the genocide in Cambodia. Many of the individuals in question can be blamed for these events because they flowed from policies they advocated. But holding them accountable merely because they tried to remove Nixon strikes me as a bit like blaming those who tried to remove President Clinton for the rise of al Qaeda.
—Angry Bear:”Peggy must be confused as to the chain of events that brought about the demise of Prince Sihanouk.”
–Tom at Corrente says Noona’s logic then should be applied to the Clinton administration as well:
How about the impeachment of a president over a blowjob? Anyone remember what was going on at that time? You know, um, that little “obsession” as W and the boys called it at the time that Clinton’s administration had with that little insignificant Islamic terrorism thing?
If one’s going to make this sort of argument about the impeachment of Richard Nixon one could easily make a similar argument about the impeachment of Bill Clinton. One could contend that the impeachment of Bill Clinton produced, to use Peggy’s words, “a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time.”
If we’re going to seriously accept an argument that Nixon was capable of stopping Pol Pot then it’s not too crazy to contend that Clinton could’ve stopped al-Qaeda if he hadn’t been critically weakened by “Lewinsky-blowjob-gate.” Clinton would’ve been in a position to seriously go after al-Qaeda if he wasn’t distracted by the impeachment saga of 1998 and 1999.
In short, if Peggy can get away with this argument then I’m going to contend that Clinton’s impeachment helped lead to the deaths of thousands of Americans on 9/11. Furthermore, since W and the boys used the bogus terrorism link argument to justify the IraqWar Part II disaster, one could contend that Clinton’s impeachment may have also led to the deaths of 1,600 U.S. soldiers and 100,000 Iraqis over the past two years.
—Sam Rosenfeld:”That these characters have carte blanche on the cable chat shows to serve as credible Felt naysayers is just one more illustration of the wonderful cloak of immunity enjoyed by all right-wingers in the clubby, insular D.C. punditry world. Lying, stealing, prison time — literally nothing can discredit a conservative gabber enough to cancel their membership card to the commentariat. And today we have Peggy Noonan to thank for granting some establishment pundit legitimacy to Ben Steinâ€™s thoughtful Deep Throat-as-genocidaire thesis. Canâ€™t wait to hear Liddyâ€™s thoughts on it tonight on Hardball.”
—Josh Marshall:”The stuff truly takes your breath away. I guess, though, we owe Peggy et al. thanks for stipulating for the record that they don’t think anything of any consequence was done wrong in Watergate because that provides a helpful context for understanding why they keep carrying the water of this administration, knowing as they do that many of the same things are happening.”
—Obsidian Wings notes Noonan’s lack of consistency:”Hmmmm… What was happening in the world when DeLay et al. decided a lie about a b***j** was worth bringing down a president over? Nothing serious, apparently, because I don’t recall Noonan objecting then. In fact, back then, Ms. Noonan had a rather different take on the process…Back then she continued to praise the impeachment of Clinton in the most moralizing tones, never once stopping to suggest this was bad for the nation. With this latest piece, Ms. Noonan officially attains the rank of ‘hack supreme.'”
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