R. Emmett Tyrrell: Nixon v. Johnson ... A Watergate Footnote You Won't Read About in Woodward and Bernstein





R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator
 
One of my favorite controversialists is back, Bob Woodward with his sidekick Carl Bernstein. Sunday in the Washington Post they wrote that Richard Nixon was more hideous than we have heretofore known. The 37th President conducted five wars while in office, according to the boys, and those do not even include his minor fracases, the Cold War against the Soviet Union and the Vietnam War.
 
I say Woodward is a controversialist. You might recall his controversial "interview" with CIA Director Bill Casey conducted on Bill's deathbed when no one was watching. It made it into Woodward's book Veil, saving its author from the embarrassment of admitting that Bill had kept Woodward utterly in the dark about Iran-Contra and so much else during their more conventional interviews earlier. This time Woodward somehow circumvented Bill's CIA guards, his doctors and nurses, his wife and daughter -- one of whom was in the hospital room at all times -- to get his incomparable interview. Moreover, Bill had completely lost the power of speech, his face being a mask of terrible deformity, as his friend Bert Jolis reported within days of the so-called interview. Woodward overcame every hurdle to extract from the dying man a confession of involvement in Iran-Contra about which Woodward knew nothing while writing the book. Possibly, he had disguised himself in Bill's hospital room as a cockroach.
 
So Woodward has returned and on the very same weekend when I was huffing and puffing my way past page 353 of Robert A. Caro's new 714-page treatment of Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Passage of Power. Despite the pious tosh that you hear from the enthusiasts of dying Liberalism, the book is a shabbily written monstrosity, but not without its usefulness...

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