Perhaps it’s because I was born after the events, and have some historical distance, but the whole Mark Felt case never meant that much to me. I was far more interested in the consequences it had on journalism, than in the man himself.
Brendan Miniter, assistant editor of OpinionJournal, weighs in with an essay chastising those on the Right who are being as unseemly as those on the Left trying to make Felt’s role into some sort of cause celébre and an object for hero worship.
But if Mr. Felt isn’t personally a hero, his actions look a lot more heroic than the actions of those who’ve had the most biting words for the now 91-year-old man who at the time was the No. 2 official at the FBI. Pat Buchanan, a former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, called Mr. Felt a “snake.” Charles Colson, another Nixon aide, who served seven months in prison for obstruction of justice, said Mr. Felt was “violating his oath to keep this nation’s secrets.” Watergate conspirator turned radio personality G. Gordon Liddy, who also served time, is quoted as saying bluntly that Mr. Felt “violated the ethics of the law enforcement profession.”
These are valid points, though they ring rather hollow coming from the defenders of a corrupt administration, two of whom spent time behind bars for their crimes. And in any case, even if Mr. Felt acted for the wrong reasons, his actions helped pull the nation out of a moral downward spiral.
Brendan even has a good note for Jimmy Carter, whose performance has been rather lackluster. The piece shows an ability to view history’s big picture, and thus is worth your attention.
[Cross-posted at Between Worlds]