Saturday, June 05, 2010

Blog #34 - Nixon - "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal."

Frost/Nixon: The Original Watergate Interviews
"When the President does it, that means it's not illegal. If the President approves something because of a threat to internal peace and order, of significant magnitude, then the President's decision, in that instance...enables those who carry [the President's order] out to carry it out to do so without violating the law" - Richard M. Nixon


During all of the Vietnam protests, President Nixon became convinced that there was a foreign power/country/enterprise directing these American kids, so he wanted to find out who and how these directives were getting done. He signed an Executive Order that allowed the intelligence agencies to spy on Americans in the hopes of finding that foreign element that funded subversive groups that were planning protests and other crazy things. The FBI could tap more phones, open mail, and break into homes and offices w/o warrants. These powers were later curtailed by Congress in the mid 70s, but then expanded again recently in the name of securing the nation from another terrorist attack called the Patriot Act.
Reinventing Richard Nixon: A Cultural History of an American Obsession (Cultureamerica)

 

"Did Erlichmann inform me that these two men were going to California? He may well have. And if he had, I would have said, 'Go right ahead'" - Nixon, in reference to Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt going to California to break into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office.


So, give me your comments on Nixon's statements. (pick one of the following questions).



1. Is it o.k. for the president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during a time of war? Why or why not? Do you agree with Nixon's reasoning? Why or why not?


2. Or, comment on any similarities to today's events in the war on terror. Think about the comparisons to the Patriot Act, National Security Agency's unwarranted wiretapping, checking emails, library records, torture and methods of torture, etc. Since we haven't had a terrorist attack on American soil in almost eight years (knock on wood), does this lack of an attack mean that what we've doing is working? Why or why not? If President Bush / Obama hadn't or doesn't continue to do these measures, then who is at fault for another attack? CIA? NSA? The President? Bush/Obama is in a no-win situation here: you do too much, he's infringing on peoples' rights. He does too little, he gets most if not all of the blame.

 
Due Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 200 words
 
Check out this website on Watergate: http://watergate.info/
 
Also, awesome link on the real history and media reaction behind the Frost/Nixon interviews: http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=nixon_and_watergate_tmln&nixon_and_watergate_tmln_media_response=nixon_and_watergate_tmln_frost_nixon_interviews

36 comments:

Ryan said...

1. I think it is o.k. to an extent for the president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during a time of war. The president has the responsibility to do what ever he can to help protect this country but not if that means breaking the law. However what Nixon did was crossing the line, just because he is the president does not mean he gets to disobey the law. I do believe that the statement “When the President does it, that means it's not illegal” Is wrong but I still think in time of war that there should be some give in the law, I’m not saying its ok for him to break it but he should be allowed some wiggle room with the law. When the defense of the United States comes into play more drastic measures should come into effect but when they break the law there going to far.

Ryan Brode
3 hour

Anonymous said...

Allie Rubin
3rd hour

1. It is not ok for a president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during the time of the war. There may be cases when this kind of action would be necessary; however, a lot of times doing this is inappropriate. It could make the president way too powerful and could end up harming more people than helping them. For example, Nixon allowing the government to open people's mail is a complete violation of privacy. It's especially hypocritical of Nixon since he went through other people's personal business then refused to release the tapes of his private conversations. Another example of this being bad is breaking into homes without warrants. This is destructive and disruptive to the people living in the home, and is an unnecessary use of time as often these searches are inconclusive, or they alienate innocent people as small findings are made into a big deal. Nixon said that if a president does it, it's not illegal, but I disagree. There are times when the president might have information that the citizens do not have that could cause them to feel the need to do something illegal, but if a president does something against the law, it's still illegal. Even though they are the leader of the country, they are still breaking the rules of the nation.

Anonymous said...

(1) I think its okay for the president to bend rules in the defense of the United States during a time of war, but only to a certain extent. I understand breaking a few rules or going to war even though it might cost us lives and money, but as long as we aren’t stretching those rules too much I see how the president could say such a thing. Going too far could include unnecessary bombing, killing innocent civilians, or spending ridiculous amounts of time, money, or lost lives fighting a war that we don’t have enough of a good chance in winning. I think the main problem or controversy caused by this quote is when presidents beat around the bush not for the sake of their country in a time of need, but for themselves. I think everyone could see rules broken to help out our whole country, but we establish these rules for a reason, and to see the leader of our country break them for greedy or personal needs is unreasonable. We follow these laws everyday - if one of our biggest role models, if not the face of the US itself, thinks that they’re above these rules and can ignore them, they’re not right.
Elyse Dumas - 3rd hour

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth Bondarenko
2nd hour
1. I think that it’s not o.k. for the president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during a time of war. Because there is law. Law is law, and no one has right to do something against it. Especially the president who suppose to follow the law and control others to follow it too. The Watergate was not the worst thing Nixon has done; the worst is that came after it. Watergate of course was wrong thing to do. It’s sad that all this happened in America – the country where freedom and independent respect on the first place. But, the worst thing in this entire situation that Nixon didn’t want to agree with the fact that he was wrong, didn’t want to apologize. Of course everyone do mistakes, even the president, but the worst think when he/she doesn’t recognize his/her fault. And Nixon’s words "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal,” sounds rough. I completely disagree with them. This can work for monarchy, but not for democracy. This is people who have right to decide. President does not have the absolute power. And all justifications that Nixon said later sounds pity and unworthy.

Anonymous said...

Ellie Toth
2nd hour
I think that the President should consider himself a citizen of the United States and in that case should follow the same rules as other citizens in the United States do. Being the president, you have to do a lot in defense of the country especially during a war period; however, if defending the country means doing illegal or bad things, the president has to ask himself is it worth it? Being the president doesn't mean that those illegal things do not apply to you, it means you have to help the country with the laws in mind. I do not agree with Nixon's reasoning because he thinks it is okay to do something illegal because "if you're the president, it is not illegal." This reasoning or logic does not make any sense to me because this country is not supposed to be run by someone who thinks they are inferior to the rest of us. Having our president think this could lead to him becoming too powerful and turning our democracy into a dictatorship. I don’t think that President Nixon would have gone this far. I don’t even think he really meant it when he said if the president does it, it is not illegal. I think he was put on the spot and the first words that came to mind came out for him. What he did with Watergate was wrong and a lot of people will never let him live that down, but I think that he had good in his career too and sometimes we need to view that.

Anonymous said...

Jim Weitzel
I disagree with President Nixon’s statement that nothing the president does is illegal. In the introduction to the blog, it says that President Nixon approved some illegal wiretapping etc to find out who the evil benefactor was behind all the peace protests against Vietnam. The way that laws were written up, even our very own constitution was to allow peaceful protest and disagreements of ideas. So that all voices would be heard, and if an idea had a certain ideal behind it that was needed, everyone would come to realize it and vote it through on majority. One thing that Nixon failed to consider was what would happen if the president made a mistake. There are many fail-safes in the US government and this was one of them, not allowing the president above the law, but instead be the most constrained by them. He would make good decisions while having to remain within the bounds of the law, since there are people that are just waiting for the president to trip up. The president must have some powers to help defend the country but really, why do you think the office of the president exists? It has allowed one person to have a fair amount of power in case things go completely wrong.

Anonymous said...

Jim Stevens
3rd

1. I do not believe that it is o.k. for a president to do just about anything during times of wars. This means that the president can spy on you and invade your privacy without a just reason. This also means that the police are allowed to just barge into your house for no reason and tear it apart. It makes the American uneasy and angry about their privacy. It will ruin lives and make people paranoid. I do not agree with Nixon's reasoning because their is no real reason as too why he is intruding peoples privacy. Also people were innocent did not deserve these intrusions.

Anonymous said...

1. Absolutely not. To say the president can do just about anything in defense of the US in times of war could include many things. These things could be the tiniest little infraction, or a huge violation of the law. To say that killing someone without a reason is okay, because it was done by the president to protect the United States would be absurd. I could understand why certain actions may need to be taken that could be viewed as immoral in order to protect to country in dire times. It depends on the action to determine whether or not it was out of order, even for the president. For the most part, when it comes down to it, the law is the law- being the president does not put you above the law.
However, Nixon’s actions were not a case in which breaking the law was okay. Nixon fixed an election, spied on American people, and lied to the citizens of the US. In no way did this protect the American people, and lying simply added to his wrongdoings. For this reason I do not agree with Nixons reasoning. Based on the things he said, it appears that Nixon was prettying up his actions to make it sounds as if spying on people was okay because he was doing it with the motive of protection Americans. The reality was that Nixon was spying on people for his own benefit. His actions were illegal. No matter what, president or not, Nixon broke the law.
Brad Benghiat 2nd Hour

Anonymous said...

Hannah Grossman

Question 1.

No, I do not think it is okay for the president to do just anything in the defense of the USA during time of war. I think that if something is going wrong, the president should do all he can do that is legal to make it better. If the president breaks the law then people will follow by example, its just not the right thing to do. I disagree with Nixon, I think that if the president violates the law, its much worse. For a example, when someone that isn't well known does something illegal then it isn't as big of a deal, when the president of the United States of America does something illegal its a huge deal and its not right. The president can be penalized or even impeached for doing things illegal. People that are high up in power like Nixon was should not do things that make them selves look bad. Why would people want to have the president of the United States doing things to violate the law? I guess sometimes its for the well being of the country but I still don’t think it is right. I think that Nixon made a lot of mistakes during his presidency and that was one of them.

Anonymous said...

1. It is okay sometimes for the president to do just about anything in defense of the United States during a time of war. Even though we probably should do some things that aren’t legal during war times, we still should follow the law or try to do something to legalize it. If there is something that is wrong that’s going on that involves us, then we should probably do something about it. If the thing that we need to do is illegal, then the president might have to do that thing even though it includes breaking the law. The president should do this, depending on the situation at hand. If we can’t do anything about the situation except something that is illegal, then we should do this illegal thing, unless there is a way to make it legal. I do agree with Nixon’s reasoning. But I don’t think that Nixon had a situation like the one he was talking about. The Watergate scandal had nothing to do with peace and order. It had to do with him being elected to be the president again. I agree that the president might have to do something illegal to keep peace and order but it should be to a certain magnitude of what they do and they should not cross that line. Nixon did cross that line because he did this for personal gain and not to keep peace and order.

Alex Valente
2nd Hour

Anonymous said...

Michele Snyder
3rd hour
I chose to answer the first question. “Is it o.k. for the president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during a time of war? Why or why not? Do you agree with Nixon's reasoning? Why or why not?” And I think it depends on why the president is doing what they are doing because if it will actually help their country and not hurt any body then I think it’s alright for the to do what they believe. But if what they are doing is putting someone else in harms way then I believe it is not alright for the president to do what they want, whether they think its necessary or not, because the president needs to be a good role-model for the rest of the country. And yes, they’ll make mistakes, everybody does, they just have to be sure they thought all their actions threw clearly. I do not think Nixon had to spy on Americans or have the FBI tap phones, open mail, break into homes/offices and such to prove there was a foreign power, country, enterprise, or whatever directing American kids. I believe he could have found another way to prove his hunch.

Drew S. said...

I think it is okay for the president to do whatever in a time when there is a sense of urgency in war time, natural disaster or an eminent attack. But, I think there needs oversight, and that everything that the individual does that is considered unlawful, needs to be posted on all government affiliated websites and news outlets within in 24 hours of it being enacted. And it must be the first thing you see on that government website, search engine, or news outlet. I also think a public statement by the White House press secretary should be standard protocol. But I think the time period could be extended a bit if it could potentially risk and jeopardize the security of the U.S. I would like to think that the president would use self-control and there own judgment but you never know which is why maybe another form of oversight for the ultra sensitive issues could be put in place.

I think Nixon in general was just trying to stay competitive and fresh against the competition in Washington, and Nixon did it even though it had nothing to do with the War in Vietnam. Watergate came up because he was spying on the Democrats and doing break-ins and illegal stuff of similar nature. That doesn’t mean I think he’s a bad person, but I do think he is wrong here.

Drew S.

Anonymous said...

No I dont think it is ok for the president of the united states of america to do what ever he sees fit in a time of war. “Greed, for lack of a better word is good.” is said by gordan geko in wallstreet, and people often live by this. People are always throwing their neighbor under the bus just to gain a nickle or two, and if a man was given infinate power he was use it for personal gain. When you where a kid and someone said that you now had 3 wishes what was everyone's first wish... they wished for more wishes. If given infinite power for a short while, the president would most likely use it to aquire more time at the presidency. Nixon was a perfect example of this, and even with out unlimted power, he just thought he had this power. In times of war Rome would elect an official to take control of Rome, the last one elected was Jelious Ceser, and he didnt give up his power (I got that from dark knight, im not sure if its true, but “i believe in Harvey dent” hehehe I watch to many movies.)
mark gastineau
2nd hour

Anonymous said...

Blake Jackson
3rd Hour
1. No just because something is done for the betterment of the country doesn’t make it okay. Also, if we allow this way of thinking to go on any mistake or wrongdoing done by our country can be justified simply by saying that it was to protect the country. Many mistakes have been done in the past by our countries unforgivable and horrible mistakes. If the president said that to nuke the rest of the world would secure the common defense of our country does it make it okay? Distrusting and invading the privacy of our citizens will never be acceptable. Honesty is always the best policy and this is especially true when it comes to the relationship between a government and its people. As for Nixon’s reasoning I disagree completely I think he is mainly just trying to find a way to cover or and make a reason for why he did what he did. If the president does something against the law then it is still illegal. The president didn’t write the constitution nor did he write the laws. His job is to enforce them and how can he enforce the laws that he himself breaks. The president breaking the law is a crime just like if anyone else broke it. I think Richard Nixon knew this himself that’s why he says that he knows that most people don’t feel the same way as him. The president makes mistakes just like the rest of the world and should be punished the exact same way.

Anonymous said...

Lea Martin
3rd hour

1)
No I don’t think it’s ok for president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during a time of war because the American people want to know what he is doing and what he is planning on doing. He can’t just change the law and allowed the intelligence agencies to spy on Americans in the hopes of finding that foreign element that funded subversive groups that were planning protests and other crazy things without letting anyone know. Listening to phone calls, opening mails break into homes and offices without warrants is not right and the president shouldn’t have the right to go through people’s personal stuff without any kind of reason. And President Nixon’s reason to this is not very convincing. Just because there was a threat from other countries, does not give him the right to act illegally and change the law to make it legal for him. Nixon should have let the American people and the entire congress vote on these changes and not make them without any kind of agreement. I do understand that it was difficult to find a right answer to the problems of the threats but I do not think that this was the right way to handle it. So I do not agree with President Nixon’s defense and reasoning.

Anonymous said...

Stefanie Kueck
3rd hour

1) I think that there is a line that people have to release that when you are president you have to make sacrifices or cross a boundary that in Nixon’s case will get you caught but you will sacrifice I guess your reputation such as Nixon’s got damaged and he never fully got it back. I by no means am saying that what happened with Watergate is ok but I am saying that I do no think that all the blame should have ended up on the president. I think that in Nixon’s opinion he was doing what was right for the Nation at the time.
2) I think that America has been lucky enough to not have any attacks because we have set up a protective system. I think that with the CIA has been lucky enough with out the Obama security because they have insider information. I think that lucky NASA has not have any attacks luckily because I think that they might be advanced in their technology that will advance their security which leads to having safer security which hopefully leads to no attacks on either of them. I hope that Obama will re- think his ideas and maybe donate some of his security money to these places. ***( Mr. Wickersham I did not really understand this question but attempted to answer it to my best ability if I was totally wrong I am sorry and if you want to you can email me and I will fix it for partial credit. ~ thanks Stefanie)

Anonymous said...

Katlin Beal
3rd Hour
It is not o.k. at all for the president to do anything “In the defense of the U.S. It the president can do anything he wants, why can’t everyone in the U.S. do what they want also. This double standard could cause anarchy. Just because it’s a time of war doesn’t mean that the government can go crazy. The president does have a lot of power but he doesn’t get more power just because we are in a state of war. Richard Nixon’s reasoning was completely flawed. He said this only to cover his own behind and to explain away what he did. His reasoning was that if the president did it, it wasn’t illegal. The president is still an American and still has to follow the laws of the United States. I’m not sure why he seemed to think he was exempt, but maybe he just thought that he could get away with it and came up with a spur of the moment explanation. Defending the United States did not mean that the law had to be bent for him. The United States would have been better off without his rule breaking. He still could have gotten us out of Vietnam, he still could have gone into Cambodia, and he still could have done the other thing to defend our country.

Anonymous said...

Dustin Oakwood
3rd Hour
It is NOT okay for the president act solely on what he thinks is in the best interests of the country. By doing this he completely bypasses the rules and regulations that make our government just. Our country is led by the people for the people, one man’s opinion cannot trump ours just ‘cause he’s the president. However, a war puts stress and other conflicts onto the president that we citizens probably couldn’t imagine very well. In that case I believe we should work together with the president to come up with a war solution that we can all agree on. By doing this we can utilize the presidents experience with the will of the people. As for Nixon, not only does his paranoia for foreign affairs attribute to his need to spy on people, but his social awkwardness too. His seclusion could’ve triggered a need to know more about his competition, an inner need to be the best. In the movie during his drunken phone call to Frost he mentions a sort of “revenge” to those who looked down on him during his college years. This need to be the best could’ve stemmed from those years as well.

Anonymous said...

Griffin Harms
3rd Hour
I personally believe that the president has the right to do things that are illegal, but only to certain extent and for the right reasons. For most crimes, (Such as the Watergate Scandal) it is wrong and corrupt for a president, as well as any political figure, to commit the crime. When a politician is caught doing something illegal, their credibility is questioned and people cannot decide whether they are trustworthy or not. However, when it is imperative that a president does something for the good of their country, I believe that it is justified when they do it. A case I would compare to the Watergate Scandal is the recent events concerning Mayor Kilpatrick in Detroit. Just like Nixon, Kilpatrick had abused his power and attempted to cover it up. For this, he is about to be in jail. Overall, it is alright for a president to do something illegal only if they cause more good out of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Will Beattie
Hour 2

1. It is not ok for a president to do anything in defense for the United States in war. One reason is because that could mean anything, including going against the whole congress, or people of the United States. If a president tried to even do something really drastic in order to defend the country like sending 100,000 troops into a battle. If a president could do anything in defense for the United States he could do that without the consent of any American people or members of congress. That’s why I think that it is not ok for a president to do anything in defense for the United States.
2. I think that because we haven’t had any terrorist attacks on American soil since the war started does not mean that it is working. I think this because terrorists still have influence and are still causing damage or almost causing damage. For example there was the bomb scare in Time Square and the shooting within a military base a year or two ago. If president Bush or Obama had stopped with these measure they would not be to blame because they aren’t able to monitor all our borders and security, we just need to rely on out police force and border control.

Anonymous said...

Michael Rondello
2nd Hour

1. It is not okay for a president to do anything he thinks is all right to do in the best interest of the nation. Nixon was wrong, I think, because that is abusing the power as president. If this were to be true, we wouldn’t be a free country anymore, there would be a dictator ruling over us right now that started off by abusing his power of the president. The president must make good decisions of course, but the decisions he has the right to decide is completely different. The president cannot just decide anything he wants and say it is in the best interest of the country.
2. I don’t really know much about the Patriot Act except for what it is. If it got passed by Congress and all, then I don’t have a problem with it existing. If it is something that Bush just decided was a law, then it really isn’t much of a law because it didn’t go through Congress. I think that yes, the Patriot Act does kind of abuse our rights, but it also keeps terrorists out of our country. If we were to take it away, I think that it would be the CIA’s fault for another terrorist attack because they should know when it is happening in advance.

Anonymous said...

alex wong 2nd
Is it ok for the president to do anything in defence of the country during war.
I think yes unless it further hurts the American public or jepordises the
stability of the united states or anything in direct relationship with the US.
Nixons reasoning is flawed yes because he thought that the president could do
anything to protect the united states and Nixon states the he believes that if
the president does it its not against the law and to do so would probably put
the US people at Risk and further make our relationship with countries worse but
if we act with a no holes bared attitude then we will make things worse in the
long run especially considering how it would look to others if the greatest
country in the world started acting defensive to everything and kept things from
its people to hide and shroud the truth from suposedly free people with
inalienable rights and freedom of speech and freedom of the press and a
democratic process with a capitalist economy. If we do this then we are no
better than a communist nation or a socialist one and other countries will see
this and then the will act quikly and swiftly.

Anonymous said...

I believe that it is not right for a president to do whatever he wants, right or wrong for a country in a time of war without consulting congress about a decision which is life altering and can affect a mass majority of the country. I think that if a president thinks this way, he/she will have to much power, which wouldn’t be good for a country. A president’s decision can affect this country so much, and it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the country if the president made a bad decision. I believe the president must run his/her opinions and whatever he/she would like to do by a greater power, “congress” and he/she should have a certain amount of people agree with the decision before going on with it. I do not agree with Nixon’s reasoning because what is good for the country might not be better off for everyone within the country. It should be that a president is backed up on his decisions, because any person with extreme intelligence in politics can come into the presidential spot and make hasty decisions, each decision should be over looked by a group of intelligent congress man, so the decision was okayed, and the bad outcome possibly is not all out on the president, and more people can be at fault for the decision.

Heather Robinson
2nd hr

Anonymous said...

False. The president has no right at all to do anything he wants during his presidency during a time of war. President Nixon was thinking as a “dictator” in a way because he stated that if the president does it, then it’s not illegal anymore which is 100% untrue.
For example, if the president murdered a whole race of people in our country, would that not be illegal just because the president did it? But if an average person murdered a whole race of people him/her would be put on trial in front of a judge and sent to prison.
Nixon’s reasoning, as he said in the movie, most people did not agree with. He thought he had more power than he really did, and abused it. He only says he was approving things on behalf of the country, but that can’t be known for sure. The power went to his head, and when the pressure got too much for him to handle, he had to crack. Now he lived on and carried the burden with him forever causing him to resign before being impeached, and until he died in 1994.
- Lauren S.

Anonymous said...

Austin Rovinski
2nd hour-Wickersham
9/8/10

1. I do not believe that the president can do just about anything during war time; we have a system of checks and balances in the United States. Although more power may be given to the President during a time of war in order to react quickly to situations, it does not give the President the right to blatantly violate laws established by the people. I do not agree with Nixon’s reasoning, because as Nixon himself proved, the President does not always do what is best for the country. In fact, Nixon hindered the election process by trying to get rid of opposing candidates and by doing so, made the people have less of a say of what occurs in government (for example, if a majority of the people would have rallied behind a certain Democratic candidate, but then Nixon got rid of that candidate for self-preservation, then Nixon is putting his own interests in front of the country’s). The rule of law is what binds all people in this country, regardless of a person’s economic or social status. Therefore, whether Nixon, Jack Bauer (as proved in Season 7 in the Senate committee hearings) or anyone else violates the law, they must respect the consequences…

…unless you’re Jack Bauer.

Alex said...

2. Or, comment on any similarities to today's events in the war on terror. Think about the comparisons to the Patriot Act, National Security Agency's unwarranted wiretapping, checking emails, library records, torture and methods of torture, etc. Since we haven't had a terrorist attack on American soil in almost eight years (knock on wood), does this lack of an attack mean that what we've doing is working? Why or why not? If President Bush / Obama hadn't or doesn't continue to do these measures, then who is at fault for another attack? CIA? NSA? The President? Bush/Obama is in a no-win situation here: you do too much, he's infringing on peoples' rights. He does too little, he gets most if not all of the blame.

The lack of a terrorist attack is more due to the fact that we have attacked the terrorists themselves than any stronger precautions at home. The terrorists are financed by rich, oil-selling billionaires, allowing them to attack regardless of wiretapping, email checking and torture, all of these things merely force them to go in roundabout ways of communicating and keeping a tighter leash on those individuals with important information. These methods infringe on many American rights, something no president should do, for these rights are what makes America special, if the leader of this country doesn’t respect these rights, than why should anyone else. By making America seem hypocritical in this way, they lower our credibility amongst many world leaders, because they don’t know if we really mean what we say. If a president stops these unnecessary measures, it wouldn’t affect our ability to predict such an attack, only how much they can spy on their own peoples. Another attack can only be blamed on a lack of communication in or between the executive branch and intelligence services. There is no lose-lose situation here, there is a middle ground where the president can ably predict any attacks, but not mess with the rights of the people.
Alex Pisano
3rd hour

Geoff said...

All of you make excellent points in your comments. I really like using Frost/Nixon in this context and I hope I get this far in APUSH next year so that I can do it again. A few clarification questions, though:
1. Drew, what happens if the President doesn't post his/her illegal actions w/in 24 hours? Then what?
2. Griffin, you mentioned times that you thought were not so good times for the executive to exercise unlimited power (interesting comparison w/ Mayor Kilpatrick), but when is a good time?
3. For everyone, should the president ALONE decide this use of war powers? Consult Congress?
4. I agree w/ many of you who said that Nixon needed to remember that he was first and foremost a citizen of the U.S., and it appeared he forgot that simple fact (and acted as if the laws of the Constitution didn't apply).
5. Somebody mentioned that the WG burglary wasn't about national security at all but was more about gaining an advantage on the campaign trail. Totally agree.
6. Alex P. brings up some other reasons why we haven't had any successful terrorist attacks on American soil in the past 8.5 yrs. Good points, also ones I agree with.

Keep them coming, guys. Great topic.

Anonymous said...

I don’t think it’s okay for the president to do something illegal and get away with it just because of the position he has. If a normal person with a normal position would have done it they would’ve probably gotten their consequence and it would’ve been over with. But, in the case it was the president and it would, of course, be 100xs crazier and the whole problem wouldn’t blow over for a short time. Though Nixon did the Watergate scandal, I don’t think he really intentionally meant to hurt the U.S. Even though he apologized about what he did and actually admitted to it (even though everyone already knew he did it), it didn’t really help. The U.S. didn’t really see him any better even after the apology because by then it didn’t mean anything. In my opinion, I would’ve taken the apology and been ok with what had happened since it was so long ago. He seems like a great guy, but a little consequence should have directed to him, it’s not fair that he was pardoned. But, overall he seems like a great, nice hearted guy; deep down inside. I don’t think so many people should look down on him or hate him.

Sandra

Anonymous said...

President Nixon basically stated that the president is allowed to break the rules if it is to protect the nation. I disagree with this. I do not believe it is okay for the president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during a time of war. Americans look up to the president and have high expectations of him. If America sees the president breaking the law, just as they did for Watergate, it contradicts the whole presidency image. People will then think it is okay for them to break the law since “the president is doing it”. For example, President Nixon went against the rules during the time of his presidency to spy on Americans in the hopes of finding that foreign element that funded subversive groups that were planning protests and other crazy things. This event was never at one point accepted or forgiven by the American people, even though Nixon had good intentions behind it. He simply was trying to protect his country, as was his duty. Everyone else; however, did not see his actions this way. They never put that consideration into their heads, mainly because of all the other horrible decisions Nixon made during his presidency. Even when Nixon finally admitted he participated in the Watergate ordeal, after denying it all that time, he still was not liked by Americans. He let his country down, and he let his people down all because of his mistakes that he regretted so much. Nixon even said himself that he has to carry that burden with him for the rest of his life. That is punishment enough in my opinion. I realize that I have changed my response a tad bit. To be honest, I really do not know if it is okay or not for the president to go against the government to protect the country. I personally feel bad for Nixon and everything that he went through. He made such an effort, after his resignation to build himself up again one last time, to gain respect and support from his people. This lifelong dream was completely shattered with one news interview.

Norell

Anonymous said...

There are many similarities to today’s War on Terror. During the time of Nixon’s Presidency, he would wiretap into phone conversations of the American people. Today, we also wiretap into phone conversations as well as emails. The CIA and government feel that it’s necessary to keep tabs on everyone and what they are saying. This is immoral to do because it’s an invasion of privacy and we have the right to keep our lives private for the public; no matter how federal the case may be. We have some riots and rallies against the war in Iraq like they had against the war in Vietnam. Although, they are not as terrifying or harmful as they were years ago, some are still fairly violent. In the Library of Congress, I’m sure there are records of what the presidents and government officials have said and done during the course of this on-going war. Records of Nixon have led to the fact that he was a part of the Watergate cover-up. I am unsure of what the records hold for Bush (jr.) or Obama, but surely, some of these things are not what the people would like to see.

Since we have not had a terrorist attack on the United States in almost 8 years, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re doing a good job. For all we know, it could be doing nothing. Of all the phone conversations and emails being sent, I don’t think too many of them are of any threat, or serious threat, to America. People joke around all the time and don’t take these sorts of things seriously. If there were to be another attack on the U.S. (let’s hope there isn’t), we could potentially blame the president or the local government, depending on the circumstances. If we were to know slightly ahead of time, we could have the local government evacuate the area so that less people are to die/be injured. If it is something that we have no knowledge of, then we can blame the president/federal government. We need someone to blame and most of the time it falls on the person of highest power.

Allie L.

Anonymous said...

1. Is it o.k. for the president to do just about anything in the defense of the United States during a time of war? Why or why not? Do you agree with Nixon's reasoning? Why or why not?

I do not think that the president can do just about anything in defense of the United Stated during a time of war because we are not a dictatorship. With our government, it is not okay for the president to do what he wants without our approval. I understand that Nixon’s was doing this with good intentions but it disappointed many people. He had a different believe than the majority of US. He also had much more power to do what he thought was right. He knew that what he was doing was illegal, and he didn’t want to admit it, because he thought that it should not have been illegal. Therefore, he believed it was alright to do. He was afraid to admit that what he did was classified as illegal. When he admitted that he did wrong, it made me respect him more because he was aware of his mistakes. When Nixon said, “when the president does it that means it’s not illegal”, I have to disagree because if he broke a traffic law or something, he shouldn’t get away with it just because he is president.

Randi G.

Sarah Stempien said...

Sarah Stempien
2nd Hour

1. I don’t think that it is ok for the president to do whatever he wants to defend the U.S during a time of war. The president has the right to protect the country and keep people safe. But it isn’t right to protect the country by breaking the law. If the president were to be allowed to do whatever he thinks is right, then in the future, he could potentially become too powerful and society wouldn’t have any control over his actions. If the president were to have that privilege, there would possibly be results of unnecessary bombing, poor usage of money, and many killings of innocent people.
I don’t agree with Nixon’s reasoning. He is just like every other person in the world and just because he was the president, doesn’t mean that he can break the law and do whatever he wants. What happened with Watergate was not right and Nixon made poor choices in getting involved with it.

Anonymous said...

I would say yes and no. The reason I would say yes is because when your responsible for the United States you have to kinda do anything to protect it. The reason I would say no is because even if you are the president you can not do what ever you want, even if it is during a war time. Just cause your the president, it does not mean you can break the law. I do not agree with what Nixon has done. When Nixon was explaining his reasons, it did not sound right. Nixon's reason sound like he was trying to protect his self. Mostly I think Nixon is wrong.

Acari White

Anonymous said...

Kierra Woodger
2nd hr


1. Only under certain circumstances, the president should have the right to do just about anyhing in defense for the United States of America,during a time of war. When the Presidents take their postition, I believe they have to do what ever is
best for the safety of the country, especially, during a time of war, starting the day they are sworn into office. Hopefully it is the moral thing and not illegal because what Nixon did was very illegal. President Nixon, once said,"When the President does it, that means it's not illegal. If the President approves something because of a threat to internal peace and order, of significant magnitude, then the President's decision, in that instance...enables
those who carry [the President's order] out to carry it out to do so without violating the law". Partially, of what
President Nixon, said in this quote was true because he did approve a law, since he belived it was a threat to our
countries Peace & Order, when he approved the Executive Order that allowed agencies to spy on Americans so he could
find the foreign element, which he believed sponsored groups who planned the protests and Other violent rebellions,
during the Vietnam War.But when he accepted this law which violated the rights of citizens by allowing the FBI to tap
into more phones, open mail, and break into homes and offices of citizens without warrants. This violated the law:
invaded privacy with no consent & didnt accept the freedom of speech of citizens once they rebelled. Innocent people
were made victims of this law and accused of wrong-doings, which they had not committed. The worst thing about is that
when he made his decision the people who carried out his order like the plumbers(watergate), FBI, and his cabinet did it
illegally instead of doing it without violating the law, like he said.He was also wrong about saying what the president,
does is not illegal because if he takes the power of the Constitution,for granted and commits crimes than they are illegal.
The constitution was made for everyone and to protect even government officials like President,FBI, congress, etc.
from taking control Of too much power, so if a person commits a crime, than they are breaking laws.

Anonymous said...

Even though in some people’s eyes, the president could be above everyone else and the law, I find this 100% wrong. I think that all Americans should have the same rights and go by the same exact laws, no matter who you are. I believe that even if the president did what Richard Nixon did they should be punished. No matter who they are. I think it was wrong for Gerald Ford to pardon former president Nixon because he should have at least gone to court or something just for the American people to see that not even the presidents can live above the law. If he went to court I think that would have been good enough for the American people to see, plus the American people could see him admit that he was wrong and it would be good to see him but humble enough to admit his faults. I feel that it would have been for the greater good if the president would have gone to court and would have to pay some fine for what he has done and then they could have left it like that. I think his public image would have been better now. He is usually thought of as a crook and if he would have done something like what I said above I think his name would be partially cleared. For example before seeing frost/Nixon in school I always automatically thought of Nixon as a bad person but after seeing the movie I see him in a slightly different light.`
Brandon

God Of Bacon said...

Nixon was known to stretch Executive Privilege a bit.