Worse Than Watergate: on Principles & Values


Dick Cheney: John Dean: Cheney more secretive than Nixon

[Bush & Cheney's secrecy] has given us a presidency that operates on hidden agendas. To protect their secrets, Bush and Cheney dissemble as a matter of policy. In fact, the Bush-Cheney presidency is strikingly Nixonian, only with regard to secrecy far worse (and no one will ever successfully accuse me of being a Nixon apologist). Dick Cheney, who runs his own secret governmental operations, openly declares that he wants to turn the clock back to the pre-Watergate years -a time of an unaccountable and extra constitutional imperial presidency. To say that their secret presidency is undemocratic is an understatement.

I was initially astonished watching the Bush-Cheney presidency, not certain they realized the very familiar path (at least to me) that they were taking. Richard Nixon, who resigned his presidency thirty years ago, had many admirable strengths and qualities. His secrecy, which shielded his abuses of presidential power, was not among them.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter

Dick Cheney: John Dean: Cheney's agenda: cut programs to expand military

What clearly distinguishes this presidency is its vice president, a secretive man by nature whose unmatched power is largely veiled but whose secret governmental operations have changed the world-and not for the better. Dick Cheney, effectively a co-president incognito, works behind closed doors and does not answer to Congress or the public. Time and again, their principal public policies-both foreign and domestic-are laden with hidden agendas.

The Bush-Cheney hidden agenda relates to their national security policies, given their critical importance. Equally worthy of attention is their hidden agenda to end federal entitlement programs by running up budget-busting deficits while hiking military spending, which is bleeding the federal treasury and will ultimately result in there simply being no money available to pay for social programs after this administration is gone. These, of course, are programs-such as Social Security and Medicare-that they dare not eliminate.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter

George W. Bush: John Dean: Bush impeachable if WMD info manipulated

George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have created the most secretive presidency of my lifetime. Their secrecy is far worse than during Watergate, and it bodes even more serious consequences. Their secrecy is extreme-not merely unjustified and excessive but obsessive. It has created a White House that hide sits president's weaknesses as well as its vice president's strengths.

From time to time, I fired off flares, hoping to throw a bit of light-if not a warning-on where they were headed. I did so by raising these matters in my regular Find Law column. For one such column, in which I discussed the potential of impeachment if the Bush administration had intentionally manipulated government intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction an editor at Salon, which reprinted the column, used the title "Worse than Watergate"-drawing his own conclusion from the material. I could not deny that it describes perfectly what I have to say in more ways than I had anticipated.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter

George W. Bush: John Dean: ending Bush's secrecy will avoid scandal

To compare the Bush-Cheney presidency with Nixon's tenure and Watergate and assert that it is worse than Watergate is not a charge to be made lightly. Nor do I-Watergate symbolizes totally unacceptable presidential behavior and was a very messy presidential scandal. Certainly no comparable scandal has occurred during the Bush-Cheney tenure-at least not yet. Scandals have a way of smoldering before erupting, as with Teapot Dome, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and L'affaire Lewinsky. There are simply too many problems rumbling just below the surface of the Bush-Cheney presidency to avoid making the comparison.

It goes without saying that it would be best to have neither a scandal nor something far worse. There is, however, only one antidote: an end to the obsessive, unjustified, and disproportionate secrecy that defines the Bush-Cheney White House.

My hope along the way is not to scandalmonger, but rather to spray as much antiscandal disinfectant-called light-as I possibly can.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter

John Dean: "Worse than Watergate" is polemic, not conspiracy theory

In addressing [how Bush-Cheney secrecy is worse than Watergate], I selected the only form of discourse that seems fitting, a polemic. Polemic comes from the Greek word polemikos-"of or relating to war." By tradition, polemics are first-person, strongly felt, and relatively brief. Though polemics often indict, those that simply trash are worthless.

By way of preface I must add that I do not believe in conspiracy theories. I use terms such as "shadow national security council," "secret government," and "hidden agenda" because they are descriptive of actual facts, not theory. In addition, I have provided detailed documentation not only to show where information was found but to provide access to it for others.

I note the early-warning signs of the undue Bush-Cheney secrecy. What at first appeared only a penchant for secrecy I soon realized was a policy of concealment that they exercised throughout the 2000 campaign. Their campaign stone walling have morphed into White House stonewalling.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter

  • The above quotations are from Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean [Nixon's aide who was convicted in Watergate scandal]. Published May 2, 2004..
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Other candidates on Principles & Values:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka


Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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