“On August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon announced his resignation as of noon the following day, thus avoiding the humiliation of certain impeachment. It was a solemn moment in the life of the nation. The change in leadership took place with no soldiers with fixed bayonets in the streets to keep civil order. The nation accepted the departure of its disgraced president and welcomed his successor peacefully.”This is how Harry Rosenfeld described that day forty years ago in his autobiography, “From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman." The book evokes the long effort to get at the truth behind a June 17, 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex. Rosenfeld was the metro editor at The Washington Post at the time.
Many readers were not even born at that time and, for them, it is a useful lesson in the way a combination of tenacious journalism and the wheels of government combined to result in the historic resignation of a president who had won an impressive reelection.
Despite the slavish coverage of Barack Obama by much of the nation’s mainstream press, the fact remains that the “phony” scandals he wants to dismiss are in the news every day, building a momentum that could lead to his resignation in the face of impeachment.