Mayor Paul Soglin Not Correct Over Reason President Nixon Resigned

This weekend Madison is talking about the life of former Democratic Congressman Bob Kastenmeir, who died on Friday.  In a news report in the Wisconsin State Journal Madison Mayor Paul Soglin had many laudable things to say about the man almost everyone seemed to respsect for just being a nice person.

But there was one statement made by Soglin that was not factual.

Kastenmeier also played a significant role as a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, in helping to write the articles of impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

When those articles of impeachment were shown to Nixon, he resigned,” Soglin said. “That avoided a bloody battle in the House and Senate.

Granted, the statement was designed to make Kastenmeir shine, but the fact is that Nixon did not resign upon seeing the articles of impeachment.  Or even immediately after having the House of Representatives vote for them.

No, there was something more foundational that took place which forced the hand of Richard Nixon.

If my seem odd, unless you are a long time reader of this blog, that I would spot such an error or go to the length of posting about it here.  But having over 70 books on Richard Nixon alone on my bookshelves and being a several decades long ‘nixonhistorybuff’ means there is no way this topic goes unnoticed or unmentioned.

So for the record, and in a concise fashion, here is what forced the hand of President Nixon to resign.  It was nothing short of pure cold political calculations.

On Aug. 7, 1974 Senators Barry Goldwater, John Rhodes,  and Hugh Scott arrived for a meeting with Nixon where it was spelled out for him there were not the VOTES needed to protect the president in the senate.   If memory serves me correctly the men informed Nixon there was no more than about a dozen senators who would vote for acquittal.   There was also much erosion for the president in the House, too.

That erosion was caused by the release of the ‘Smoking Gun’ tape which became public on August 5th.  There was a national outcry over the content of the tape upon release and it should be noted for the purpose of underscoring my point that the ten Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee who had voted against impeachment in committee soon announced they would vote for impeachment once the matter reached the House floor.

The ‘Smoking Gun’ tape proved that during a June 23, 1972 meeting in the Oval Office Nixon and chief of staff Haldeman did talk of a Watergate cover-up and that Nixon had an obvious role in that cover-up.  The tape and political reality were the most pivotal reasons that Nixon resigned.

I certainly do not expect Soglin or anyone to really know this stuff just off the top-of-their-head.  But for folks like myself who really do read about and enjoy RN and the times he lived it is just fun to discuss these matters, and in this case set the record straight.  I do certainly applaud Soglin for being most gracious about Kastenmeier.

Below is a picture of the trio outside the White after the August 7th meeting who forced unto Nixon the cold hard political truth that he had to resign.



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