“A Cancer on the Presidency”

by Bob Schwartz

“I began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency and that if the cancer was not removed the president himself would be killed by it.”
John Dean, counsel to President Nixon

What John Dean knew or should have known, but would not say to Nixon, was that the cancer was not growing on the presidency—it began with and was the presidency.

There are 15 physicians in the current U.S. Congress; 13 are members of the Republican Party. You’d think that above all people, they would be aware of the virulent spread of cancer, in the body and in the body politic. And they would be anxious to do everything they could to heal it and rid the body of it.

The Republican physicians in Congress have refused, as have most Republicans in Congress and other offices. They seem to be in denial, or believe in some kind of magical healing (“he will change”), or in some cases are actually benefiting from the disease, though they rationalize this as being for the good of the American people.

Back in Watergate, Republicans did not have to hear about “a cancer on the presidency” from John Dean. Many or most of them recognized it, and took the measures needed to make it go away. Without them, Nixon would probably have remained president until January 1976, rather than resigning in August 1974. Who knows how far the cancer might have spread by then?

Maybe Republicans will finally do something, but it is not hopeful. Who knows how far the cancer might spread?