Richard Warren Field
Politicians Aptitude Test: Question Eight
The Nixon Dilemma
The Scenario: During the early stages of your reelection candidate, someone
well down the hierarchy of your staff has engineered an illegal burglary
of the opposing party's offices. You did not know in advance that this
had been planned nor did you authorize it. How do you handle this potentially
You tell all
the participants to cooperate fully with authorities. You tell all of your
underlings who were involved in this activity that they will have to accept
responsibility for their actions. You make it clear that you did not approve
this stupid stunt in advance, and that you in no way condone it. If any
of the participants threaten to expose embarrassing secrets from other operations
they have conducted for you, you tell them you will not be blackmailed,
and that if they choose to reveal those secrets, you will deal with their
extortion and disloyalty with all the wrath the law allows.
the matter with a wink and a smile. "Boys will be boys; good people get
carried away in the service of a noble cause." Tell your arrested subordinates
secretly that you will take care of them. Arrange for them to have private-sector
"consulting" jobs that can be performed and compensated even during prison
your top aides and plot a comprehensive cover-up of the entire matter,
making sure all meetings are confidential. You make no records of the meetings.
If automatic processes create recordings of the meetings, you destroy the
recordings. Then you choose a fall guy, and sacrifice him to protect everyone
else. You make sure the fall guy is well rewarded so he will not abandon
You tell all
your involved subordinates to deny any involvement with your organization
or your inner circle, promising pardons to anyone facing prison terms.
Advise them to delay court proceedings as long as possible, because you
will grant these pardons at one minute to midnight, just before you leave
office. You make pardons conditioned on a percentage of the inevitable
tell-all book deals.
You plot an
illegal cover-up of the activities, including to lying to federal agencies,
and engaging in conduct that can only be interpreted as Obstruction of
Justice. You pay hush money and make sure there is a paper trail to your
organization so your accused subordinates know who is taking care of them.
And you make sure you have created tape recordings of the entire cover-up
planning process so they can be available to investigators and historians.
on the flag to go to the next question.
Copyright © 1998 by Richard Warren Field
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