“I have lost my power base in Congress and can no longer govern.”~~~Mr Nixon, summer of ’74.~~Today, forty years on, old men now scribble half-recollected facts on the fallible notepads that pass for~~history.


A happy young Quaker, Richard Milhous, developed that most deadly of diseases~~ambition political~~no man in history who has ever suffered from that ailment has ever had a happy day.

Summer has come and~~lacking better to do~~we watch the past haunt us at Washington~~

Scribbled notes, faded reminiscences, in the klatch, regarding matters, now yellowing with antiquity, follow us now, my dears~~in the shadows of the mind:

images (52)

Playing fields~~the fever of that horrible disease named~~ ambition~~by now burns brightly in a, yet young,  lad.


John—We have impeached Presidents before.  Do you think Executive Orders are legal without approval of Congress?
Mike–Likely not, but I am not a lawyer–THANK GOD~~–but again–it’s all  a sort of a game–a power gambit–some readers from the klatch are confused–but they did not read carefully–while all I write is in part satire–it is also in dead earnest–who has power as against who is right or wrong–I distinctly remember being here when Nixon resigned–do you remember his reason–“I have lost my power base in Congress and can no longer govern.” People laughed and said–that’s so Nixon–but–it was also true–if you have a sufficient number of men who will stand behind you in the Lower House, you cannot be impeached–for any reason. Reciprocally, if you have no power base in Congress–you can be impeached for any reason whatsoever–in fact–for no reason at all–this is why when people speak of legalisms respecting this to me, I have to take them aside a bit because impeachment has absolutely nothing to do with law–it is about raw political power–and only that.–JOHN


Executive orders have been a normal way of running business for all modern presidents. Nothing illegal about that process.~~Rick


Rick~I would never suggest otherwise, Rick–i simply state that the lower house can impeach at its whim–this is not debatable–at its whim–so the particularities as to why the lower house impeaches are not pertinent–it has the power–to even be capricious“Jack

     Someone in your group is asking whether executive orders are legal (see below). unless syu favor whimsical impeachments, It is important for knowledgeable people in your group know that, so it becomes harder for House to impeach a president on whims and wrong information. Your group is too intelligent and well-placed not to have that fact straight in their own discussions. also, only 3 presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and BIlL Clinton). It’s important for smart people to know that impeachment is a rarity and can only be done for “high crimes and misdemeanors” so the bar is high> let;s not whimsically lower that standard in our own discussions.
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Man’s best friend~~and~~a checkered past~~
rick–agreed–and I’m not lowering the bar–it is important that the group understand that there is a fair amount of high talk about at the moment respecting impeachment–my observation simply is that, while, de jure –you are correct in your note—de facto–there is no bar at all–and implicitly, that is a dangerous message.–also–to be airtight–Nixon was not impeached–it’s nice to have a forum that can trade quips as here without causing apoplexy in the room–rare today–we are all on page to keep the discussion civilized and informative.–Jack

No Nixon was impeached  b y the House He resigned before the senate could convict him. Impeachment is merely the act of charging a president with high crimes and misdemeanors. the next step is senate conviction.
~~A card dealt out, but not played~~~~~~~~~
rick–unless I’ve gone batty–i don’t think he was impeached–i think he bagged out before the inevitable–I’ll check again but I am rather sure it never came to that–jack
richard-nixon-resignsClash of interests~~Wave bub-bub-bub-bye to the boss~~~
It’s our profit, it’s his loss.~~~

John and friends,

        Hope you all read the sensible article in Washington Post Outlook Sunday by Matthew Dallek which seeks to temper impeachment fever in today’s House of Representatives by punching holes in would-be morphing of images and history between Obama and Nixon – at least on the basis of any evidence unearthed so far. If there are hot heads on the Hill, there’d better be plenty of cool heads among other critics of Obama. We’ve got troubles enough in the uncivil politics of today, without going off the rails.
       Impeachment is a rarity, and properly so. I should have said before that only two of our 44 presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). the third one, Nixon, was about to be impeached but resigned just as the impeachment axe was about to fall. On July 27 and 30, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee  – after a long and careful investigation, not by hotheads and carried out in bipartisan fashion – approved three articles of impeachment after federal prosecutors had named Nixon an unindicted co-conspirator” in the Watergate cover-up. His resignation on August 9 forestalled a House vote on impeachment, though there is little question how they would have voted. Both House and Senate Republican leaders were on record with sharp criticism of Nixon’s abuses of power and cover ups.
         Some of those details are worth recalling as a reminder that the facts then and now are vastly different. It is vitally important to keep the distinctions clearly in mind – now, no enemy’s list, no Watergate break-in, no destruction of evidence, so far no indication the president or the White House was involved in anyway in the IRS excesses, though it may turn out that Obama bears some responsibility for giving a green light in principle to the aggressive leak investigation that led to the FBI’s phone sweep of AP records. But even there, the motive was different from the wiretaps that Nixon-Kissinger-Hoover and company put on reporters like me for stories about Vietnam and other policies that embarrassed the Administration. The AP story that triggered the investigation actually made the Obama Administration look good. So while a such a broad search was excessive, the motive looks like protecting national security.
      It’s worth rereading some of that Nixon history to help keep today’s events in context.
      It’s also worth looking for that Time magazine cover showing George Herbert Walker Bush as a tiny midget under the headline :”the Incredible Shrinking Presidency.”
      Rick ~~~
A, brusque, letter to the Secretary of the Department

Rick–we all thank you for these lessons and remembrances, for some of us, now a tad faded~~I want to take a somewhat different tack here and put in a side bar note to another fella who is writing me along the same lines–our Mr Rosman:

Dear Mr Rosman~~the point that I attempt to bring across as to the difference between law and power in the instant case is this~~had the Democrats not held the House and had Mr Rodino not Chaired the Committee, there would have been no uncovering of White House involvement in Watergate in a formal proceeding and~~by extension~~no article would have been voted out–once again~~the difference between what is right and just under the law~~~ and power~~an element often overlook in these discussions–who has power–to either act–or to prevent action~~ in the instant case.~~John Begg


On 05/20/13 1:39 PM, David Rosman wrote:
So, it is your position that, it all else was different except the majority of Congress, the FBI investigation that showed the connection originally would have simply been dismissed? I find that fascinating.

I believe I will continue this in my blog and would like to use our conversation, if you do not mind.



On 05/20/13 11:38 AM, john begg wrote:
Mr Rosman~~that is my position precisely~~had the Republicans held the House at the time~~you would never have heard of Watergate~~ever~~most newspapers ignored it completely~~today~~if the Democrats held the House~~the incumbent could do anything he liked and he would not be impeached~~Washington is a very different place than the American citizens think that it is–John Begg


And, of course the initiating question as to this came to us from Allan earlier yesterday~~after I wrote him first this:

“My dear lads~~relax~~the plain truth is that the Lower House can impeach anyPresident for any reason it wants~~any reason~~this is Realpolitik~~not Mrs Haley’s History on goody-goody two-shoes citizenship~~in Mrs Haley’s class there are put forth~~nicely-nice ettiquettes~~ for impeachment~~~the rules~~but in the real world of Realpolitik we find~~the other rules~~~~and discover that~~the only predicate for impeachment is for the Lower House to have the horses, and the desire, to vote out articles–to entangle, entrap, ensnare~~this is, dears, res ipsa~~it is beyond dispute.”

As to if or no, it is advisable to vote articles in given instances, well, fellas~~that’s the rub.

John Daniel Begg


Allan, ever dutiful and inquisitive, wrote back:

“So, John, in your opinion do you think he should be impeached??


I wrote Allan back~~quickly and, perhaps tad testily:

“I’ve no opinion as to that, Allan–none whatever~~I’m likely the only boy in America who would say that to you~~and, frankly, if I had an opinion, it wouldn’t matter as I am not in the Lower House~~all the power to vote out articles resides in the Lower House~~I am simply trying to clear up confusion about who wears the trousers in this city~~Ergo…If the Lower House were to vote out articles~to entangle, entrap and ensnare~~


~~ So, my dears~~ The wheel goes ’round and ’round~~memories fade~~now aged men, relive a summer when they were far younger and had far more hair and, very likely, better things to do, than to remember and discuss such things~~as these now~~ noted here~~half-remembered facts, whimsies, whiskies, recriminations~~acted out again~~over the dead leaves of the past.


Rejoice and Glad!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Monday, 20th Mai, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


Royal visit~~~A President meets the King.

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