Ironically, this month is the fortieth anniversary of the Watergate break-in that doomed the presidency of Richard Nixon. Those of us who are (barely) old enough remember that the story began on page 6 in the national media and only slowly grew into a crisis for the White House. Nixon won the 1972 election in a landslide with barely a mention in the newspapers of the theft that had occurred earlier in June of that year.
At the time, of course, nobody knew that the burglars who broke into the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate hotel were steered by the president’s men. Although he didn’t order the break in himself, Nixon ordered a coverup after the “plumbers” were caught and in doing so forever cemented the term “stonewall” into our political lexicon dictionary.
All of this is interesting background when we read today the similarly innocuous story that Mitt Romney’s email was hacked by an electronic plumber forty years later. The story first appeared on the Gawker alternative media website and has been carried on page 6 now by the Washington Post in the world’s shortest story you can read here.
The benefit to the Obama campaign of having access to Mitt Romney’s private email correspondence is obvious, just as in the days before electronic communication the president’s men were after George McGovern’s paper files. What they would be hoping to find is a girlfriend first and foremost, correspondence about payoffs, and barring anything truly scandalous the Romney campaign strategy would be worth gold.
There is no knowing who really is behind the hacking of Mitt Romney Email account, whether it is a low-level campaign volunteer working for Obama’s reelection or part of a larger conspiracy that reaches higher into the White House. We cannot know the answer to that question this early in the investigation just as the press took two years to unravel the Watergate scandal two generations ago.
What we do know is that Occam’s Razor normally applies in curious tales that otherwise have no reasonable explanation. Clearly the one person in the world who has the most to gain from Mitt Romney’s email correspondence is President Obama himself. And we do know that the Chicago political machine from which he originated is rife with corruption historically.
The FBI is investigating and undoubtedly some members of the press are on the trail trying to make a name for themselves as the next Woodward and Bernstein. Whether Obama’s fingerprints are on the latest political break is something they will be exploring with gusto.
We’ll see what happens but I highly doubt we have heard the end of this story.
Video: President Nixon Resigns Office in Disgrace