Saturday, September 12, 2009

The great obfuscator

I'm fascinated by Watergate. Over the last few years I've read probably 20 or so books about the scandal -- from histories to memoirs of participants (Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean) to Art Buchwald's column collection "I Am Not a Crook".

And would you believe I still don't understand Watergate? I'm reading RN, Richard Nixon's 1978 memoir, and my mind still clouds over when I read sentences like this:
Haldeman asked Colson about Dean's disclosure that it had been Colson's call to Magruder urging action on Hunt's and Liddy's intelligence-gathering plans that may have precipated the Watergate break-in.
I know who all those people are, and I understand what was at stake, but I still have difficulty keeping track of who did what when and what it all means. Is that because Watergate was, in its essence, complex and murky, or is that because the president and his men did a good job of making it complex and murky?