Friday, November 22, 2019

How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer

How the Good Guys Finally Won:  Notes from an Impeachment Summer by Jimmy Breslin
NY:  The Viking Press, 1975
ISBN 0-670-38207-8

(page 9)  He [Ehrlichman] was speaking in off-English, in words which seemed one half notch off true meaning.  He spoke earnestly, affably, but with one foot out of bounds.

(14 -15)  Tip O’Neill:  "As it is now, there are four parts to any campaign.  The candidate, the issues of the candidate, the campaign organization, and the money to run the ccampaign with.  Without the money you can forget the other three.

Well, I can tell you that I started hearing from a lot of them.  There would be a guy who always was a big giver and nobody was hearing from him.  I’d go over the lists for our dinner and I’d say, ‘Hey, where is so and so?  He always was a helluva good friend of ours.  Why haven’t we heard from him?’  So I’d call the guy and he’d call me back and he’d say, ‘Geez, Tip, I don’t know what to tell you.  Nine IRS hit me last week and I’d like to stay out of things for a while.’  I began getting that from a lot of people.  Fellows like George Steinbrenner.  He’s a helluva guy.  I called him up and I said, ‘George, old pal, what’s the matter?  Why don’t we hear from you any more?  Is something the matter?’   You bet I called him up.  He was one of those guys who would get on the phone for you and raise up a half dozen other guys to come and help out.  So what does Steinbrenner say to me?  He said, ‘Geez, Tip, I want to come to see you and tell you what’s going on.’  And he came into my office.  He said, ‘Gee, they are hlding the lumber over my head.’  They got him between the IRS, the Justice Department, the Commerce Department.  He was afraid he’d lose his business.

(31)  The Office of President is such a bastardized thing, half royalty and half democracy, that nobody knows whether to genuflect or spit.

(33)  Tip O’Neill at all times has one great political weapon at his disposal.  He understands so well that all political power is primarily an illusion.  If people think you have power, then you have power.  If power think you have no power, then you have no power.

… Thomas Hobbes, who wrote in England in the 1600s:  “The reputation of power is power.”  Power is an illusion.

(58)  Federal law gives a person immunity for testifying in a case only for those facts the person himself deals with.  If the government can prove by independent sources that the person is involved in the same crime, the immunity does not protect the person.

… Agnew read part of the letter which said there were great Constitutional precedents, involving the case of John C. Calhoun, which made it impossible for a President or a Vice President to be criminally tried in court while in office.
NB:  I’d like to know more about this finding

(69)  And Jerome Zeifman, his impeachment precedents piled high, asked Rodino if the material could be printed and distributed to Congress.  Rodino said this would be regarded as a direct attack upon Nixon.  Zeifman had stacks of Calhoun, of Colfax, of Andrew Johnson and the Journal of James Madison.  Over the summer he and Don Edwards, member of the Judiciary Committee from California, had gone to London, where Zeifman, catechist at work, sifted the impeachment files kept by Parliament.
NB:  Zeifman’s 700+ page report on impeachment

(88)  The theory of Hale Boggs, and any other politician who has more than a cabbage for a head, is that you immediately try to win over the man who voted against you.

(127)  ...the Irish stock market - cemetary plots.

(130)  It always has been extremely difficult for legitimate people to get into politics because the base of the American political system has been built on the needs of lawyers.

(166)  It was clear what Nixon was doing in his office on the morning of June 20.  He had ordered his people to fix the Watergate mess - can it, kill it, bury it - and he was taking the position that he did not want to know anything about it.  This is the pattern and behavior of any boss-thief:  you go do it, but don’t tell me about it.

More Jimmy Breslin:

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