Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Attorneygate: A Slo-mo Saturday Night Massacre

When the Attorneygate story first broke, it looked to me like a slow-mo replay of a key event in the downfall of Richard Nixon, the "Saturday Night Massacre" as skewered by Herblock's cartoon with a one-word caption: "Mugging." (The cufflinks bear the initials, R.N.)

With Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox closing in, Nixon issued a simple order to his attorney general: fire Cox.

The A.G., Elliot Richardson, refused and resigned. Richardson's deputy, William Ruckelshaus did likewise.

At that point, the Solicitor General became acting Attorney General. And he carried out the order.

Who was that guy? Robert Bork, whose name became a verb when his nomination to the Supreme Court (by Reagan in 1987) was successfully challenged by the Senate.

See also: Oliver Willis: Somewhere, Richard Nixon is Thanking Bush for Making Him Look Good.

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