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By Charles A. Beard

This recognized study — probably the most influential within the sector of yankee fiscal history — introduced a halt to Americans' uncritical reverence for his or her country's innovative prior. wondering the Founding Fathers' motivations in drafting the structure, it considered the implications as a made of financial self-interest. probably the main debatable books of its time.

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40 Damage control strategies simply would not alleviate the problem, indeed they often seemed to compound it. The demise of presidential credibility during 1973-4 was dramatic. In November 1973 Nixon's public support, as recorded by Gallup, had dropped to an all-time low of 27 per cent. A Harris survey published in mid-December 1973 made for even worse reading: 45 per cent of interview respondents declared that they would have more respect for the discredited President if he resigned and let Vice-President Ford take over the duties of the Chief Executive.

The breaking of ranks in 1973 by some of the Watergate conspirators was the landmark event which exposed Nixon's surreptitious damage control strategies for all to see. Fundamentally, Nixon instigated a plan founded upon the same principles employed in the policy process which had created Watergate. Decisions were made and hatched in small policy groups, often under the direct control of the President. Once the judicial system brought its weight to bear on the pressing political questions, Nixon could hold out for only a limited time and resist extraneous demands for White House documents and information.

33 This strategy was later employed by Reagan during the Iran-Contra affair with limited success, most notably against the press, a group commonly perceived as Reagan allies. In 1972 Nixon won a landslide election victory, which only served to stress how successful the damage control strategies invoked to deal with Watergate had been. In early 1973 however, the Watergate issue became particularly problematic for the Nixon presidency. It mutated, and Nixon found to his great cost that he was forced to react to, rather than shape, developments.

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