Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The following is a transformative creative work. As far as I know, not one word in this play was actually spoken by any of the characters, real or imagined. Whether this be historical fiction or parody is for you to decide.

Read on, McDuff.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Play in Five Acts


Richard, President of the United States

Howard K. Smith )
Eric Severied ) members of the Press
John Chancellor )
Walter Cronkite )

Spiro Agnew, Vice-President
Carl Albert, Representative, from Oklahoma
and Speaker of the House of Representatives
Warren Burger, Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court
Gerald Ford, Representative, from Michigan,
afterwards Vice-President
Sam Ervin, Senator, from North Carolina
and Chairman of the Senate Select Committee
James Baker, Senator, from Tennessee
Carl Curtis, Senator, from Nebraska
Peter Rodino, Representative, from New Jersey
and Chairman of the House Committee on
the Judiciary
Wiggins, Representative, from California
Sandman, Representative, from New Jersey

Judge Sirrica
Other Divers Senators, Representatives,
and Justices
Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel
Leonid Brezhnev, Party Chairman of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Counsels for the Majority and Minority

Pat, wife to Richard
Julie Nixon Eisenhower ) daughters to
Tricia Nixon Cox ) Richard
Ron Ziegler, press spokesman to Richard
Rosemary Woods, personal secretary to Richard

John Dean )
H.R. Haldeman ) aides to Richard
John Ehrlichman )
John Mitchell, Chairman of the Committee to
Re-elect the President
Martha, wife to Mitchell
Henry Kissinger, a Jew, Secretary of State
Herbert Stein, an Economic Advisor
William Simon, an Energy Czar
Edward Cox ) sons-in-law
David Eisenhower ) to Richard
A Doctor, to Richard
Daniel Ellsberg
A Psychiatrist, to Ellsberg
Archibald Cox, a Prosecutor
Leon Jaworski, another Prosecutor
James St. Clair, lawyer to Richard
Bathe, a Farmer
Arab Ambassadors
Five Burglars
Cub Scouts
Two Jailers
A General
A Corporal
A Jury
Divers Crowds, Spectators, Experts, Farmers, Advisors, Servants, Attendants, Bailiffs, Clerks,
Officers of the Court, Members of the Press, Supporters of the President, Demonstrators,
Plumbers, Lawyers, Townspeople, Secret Service Agents, Dignitaries

Scene: Washington, California, Florida, Nebraska, Israel, Moscow

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Enter Chorus.
My friends, the Bard of Stratford once did say,
in truth to everyman, “the Things the Play!”
…er,..well,…something on that effect.
If, as he observed, “all the World’s a Stage”
this fine troupe has here, within this cage, 5
captured a play for you.

This tale is, of course, a small history
concerning our nation’s Presidency.
A man, Richard Milhous Nixon by name,
who rose to high office, but, all the same, 10
had an abundance of difficulty
in controlling all the iniquity
that crept up from within to hinder him.

So sit, friend, in your comfortable chair
and hear the tale the players now prepare. 15

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scene I. near Washington, D.C. The Pentagon.

[Enter Daniel Ellsberg, in darkness.]
Ellsberg. Here I am, safe within these five walls.
Hurry, man, complete your appointed task.
Ah, these files should do it. Oh, happy days!
Exactly as I had been told,
a complete and unabridged account 5
of the War in Southeast Asia.
Oh, what a find! Ne’er before seen details
of this country’s military operations.
Oh, what any liberal publisher
won’t give for this manuscript. 10
I shall be quite rich for this one night’s work.
Hark, the day shift approaches.
I must from this place make haste.
[Enter a General and a Corporal.]
General. Turn on the lights there, Corporal.
Much work we need done. Ho, what’s this? 15
Papers on the floor! A filing cabinet open!
Whoa! ‘Thas been pried open. See, here,
Corporal, is anything missing?
Corporal. Why, oh no, sir! The Papers are gone.
Look, sir. A busted window. 20
Oh, Great Threat! They’ve been stolen!
General. What man? What’s been stolen?
Corporal. The most top secret files of the Pentagon Papers!
General. Oh, my God!
Corporal. Stolen out from under our noses. 25
General. Great national emergency! Corporal,
the Communists have infiltrated us!
Top secret security has been breached!
Sound the alarm! Catch the perpetrator,
‘afore these Papers are leaked to the Free 30
and Liberal Press. Sound the alarm, Corporal!
Sound the alarm!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Scene II. California. a Psychiatrist’s Office.

[Enter Burglar, in darkness.]
Burglar. Dear me, a thousand files. ‘Twill take
an hour to find the one I need.
[He produces a flashlight. He whistles.]
‘Tis a pleasant job, soft carpet, padded couch.
Methinks I be lucky to work for the government.
Ah, here it is. The Ellsberg file, an easy mark 5
for such an experienced burglar as me.
Thank heaven for the administration
that needs such men as I to steal
National Security matters from unwary doctors.
[He whistles, again.]
Ho, I wonder if my wife’s file is here? 10
Alas, she’s too insane to have a well kept file.
Oh, see, the sun breaks from across the mountains.
‘Tis time to leave and return this psychotic file
to my chief so he might use it against the traitor Ellsberg.
[Enter a Psychiatrist.]
Psychiatrist. ‘Tis too such a lovely morning for the news 15
I read. What a headline. Here within
my morning paper I read of the arrest
of my noble patient. Oh, Daniel Ellsberg!
At it again, eh? Stealing top secret papers.
Shame on you, Daniel. You need more care 20
than I can give you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scene III. Washington, D.C. the White House.

[Enter Pat, Julie, Tricia, and attendants.]
Pat. When thy father awakens, greet him joyfully
for today’s breakfast shall be a feast of victory.
And here within these four white walls we’ll still
a happy family stay, four more years.
Julie. ‘Twas not yesterday a sweeping victory? 5
All states, save for Massachusetts, go for
my father in landslide proportions.
Tricia. He will be happy this morning, aye.
Happy four more years, to say nothing
of eight thereafter if Spiro comes through. 10
[Flourish. Enter Richard and Secret Service Agents.]
Pat. Ah, happy hubby. Congratulations!
Richard. Let me make one thing perfectly clear…
Once again, I am the President!
[They laugh.]
Julie. Oh, father, such a card. You sound just like
those Hollywood impersonators. 15
[Enter Ron Ziegler.]
Here comes Ronald. ‘Tis time your day began.
Adieu, dear father, and don’t work too hard today.
[Exeunt Julie, Tricia, and attendants.]
Pat. The nation’s praise is well deserved.
Happy times shall this nation have whilst thou
chart our country’s course. 20
[Exit Pat.]
Ziegler. What news, Mr. President, shall I
give to the Nation?
Richard. Tell them “Thanks.” The great silent majority
has spoken. They approve me in whole heart
And tell them they shall have four more years 25
of the same guidance, same dedication,
same service from me.
Ziegler. A good notion. ‘Tis a glorious morning for us.
Richard. A good morning for the Party Republican.
Ziegler. And those conservative Democrats who 30
supported you on yesterday’s election.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Scene IV. the same, a month later. [Enter Pat, Ziegler, and attendants.] Pat. What’s on the calendar for today? My gosh, it’s cold! These Washington winters just destroy my hair. Go and have them turn up the thermostat, again. [Exit attendant.] So, Ron, what’s today? 5 Ziegler. This afternoon your sons-in-law return. A luncheon is arranged for the benefit of the press. Pat. Ah, good. Today we’ll have … steak. Go and see that it’s prepared to Richard’s liking. [Exit another attendant.] Where is Richard, by the way? 10 Ziegler. In the Oval Office, studying a law suit. Pat. Which suit is that? Ziegler. The one filed by those Democrats against our Republican Party, for damages. Pat. Why, we can’t help it if they lost the election. 15 Ziegler. No, madam, this suit involves only the burglary of their headquarters at the Hotel Watergate last summer. Pat. I was not aware of such a thing. Ziegler. ‘Twas a minor matter, page twenty-three, 20 I think, of the Washington Post. District officers found five hired men in the offices of the Democrats one dark and lonely night. And now the loyal opposition cries, “Espionage!” 25 and files false suit. ‘Twas not of consequence, not even brought up in last year’s campaign. Pat. Ah, I’ve seen dear Richard conferring with his three top men and I have heard the word “espionage” mentioned a number of times. 30 Ziegler. Probably concocting some new campaign strategy to discount these wild Democrat charges. Pat. Ah, the furnace fans warm air across my toes. Ziegler. I feel less chilled already. [Enter servants and prepare a feast.] ‘Tis almost time for Cox and Eisenhower 35 to arrive. I go to greet them and the press that accompanies your daughter’s husbands. [Exit Ziegler.] Pat. Oh how sweet, sweet is the life. How blessed be I who inhabit this white house. No time has e’er been rosier. The petals 40 have bloomed and now we have time to admire their beauty. Ah, my husband, to thy high office, praise. Thou art such a good President. Nay, a great President. Loved by sixty-three per cent of the people, 45 many others of no opinion, which shows contentment. O, noble husband! Master of inflation’s spiral. A nation spared from the hands of economic collapse. O, glorious Richard, thou hast led us from 50 the hands of War and gave us Peace in our own time. Thou hast undone the wrongs of many years by disengaging ourselves from that murderous conflict in Southeast Asia. Thou hast calmed 55 the rugged Russian Bear and soothed the mass of Mainland China. O, good husband, thou art wise to send ping-pong players abroad so that the very President himself might view the Great Wall of China, unseen 60 by Western eye in forty years. O, Richard, thou art marvelous man. And here we go our merry way down another term of glad sung happiness. [Enter Ziegler, Julie, Tricia, Edward Cox, David Eisenhower, Howard K. Smith, and other members of the press.] And now the banquet feast begins. Welcome, 65 my daughters, and your husbands. And welcome newsman Smith. See how happy this family is? Smith. Dear, kind, hostess. Your roots are now firmly entrenched in this house and we so enjoy your hospitality. And here’s the 70 [Enter Richard and Secret Service Agents.] President himself. Sir, do you bring any news? Richard. That’s your game, sir. I’ve no news. You make your own and show it to the millions. Smith. [Aside.] That’s a slur. He has always distrusted our media and lays his woeful blame 75 upon the liberal press for all the things that have ever done him wrong. Richard. But never mind. Come let us feast. [They sit.] How are Edward, and you, David. I trust you’ve kept good care of my daughters? 80 Cox and Eisenhower. Yes, sir. We’ve given them our very best. Pat. [To Smith.] Be not so hard upon my husband. Your newscasts of late have tended to dishonor this man. Yet he has given this country a great glory. 85 Smith. [To Pat.] ‘Tis not my fault, dear hostess. My writers are a sorrowful lot, full of liberal thought, objecting to your conservative philosophies. [Aside.] Ha! I write my own news, but I shall hold 90 my tongue and blame my colleagues, so that I again will be invited to attend these White House functions. [Enter John Chancellor, another member of the press.] Ziegler. Now here’s a man who should bring us some news. How goes the world, John Chancellor? 95 Chancellor. Mr. President, they’ve sung. Pat. Who sings? We’ve scheduled no entertainment for this banquet, have we, Ron? Tricia. I’ve always enjoyed singing. Who comes to entertain? 100 Richard. Singing is fine. But, pray tell, what’s this to do with news? Chancellor. Not song with melody, Mr. President. A song of confession. Richard. What’s this? Confessed? Who? To what? 105 Chancellor. The Watergate Burglars. Richard. Yes, I know. They’ve confessed to breaking and entering. Chancellor. Oh, but they’ve now confessed to crimes more heinous and other acts incredible. Ziegler. What’s this? 110 Chancellor. Listen, as this news is hither unknown to you, listen quite carefully. This very morning, arraigned before Judge Sirrica, the five burglars handed His Honor a sealed envelop. Wherein 115 this letter they infamously outlined all the shady deals cooked up between your campaigners and campaign contributors. Richard. ‘Tis nothing. Politics are full of dark and shady dealings each election night. 120 Chancellor. But none like this! I’m told the letter claims that many of your friends did deeds not just against politeness and ethics, but performed acts that go against the Law. Ziegler. Think nothing of it. These petty criminals 125 go about confessing all sorts of crimes merely to reduce their sentences. I doubt if half their accusations ring true. Chancellor. Let us hope so. For they allege many an ill-got act, conceived and executed 130 by high placed officials and members of this administration. Richard. I’ve done not one thing wrong. No, not one immoral act. These savage agents lie! Inspired by the left-wing press, Mischief 135 conspires to destroy this high office. Away! Let the burglars speak their confound lie. I go and make to them, and you, reply. [Exeunt.]

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Scene V. Washington, D.C. a Courtroom.

[Enter Judge Sirrica, divers Bailiffs, clerks and officers, Five Burglars, Eric Severied, Walter Cronkite, other members of the press, and divers crowds.]
Bailiff. Hear ye! Hear ye! The Federal District
Court for Washington, District of Columbia
is now in session, Judge John Sirrica,
presiding. All rise!
Sirrica. Be seated. This court, having recessed 5
two days in deliberation of
a letter received from the accused,
is now in session to hear further
testimony in this matter. I
remind you that you are still under oath. 10
1st Burglar. Yes, sir.
Sirrica. I have read this letter aloud. It is
signed by you. Are all these facts presented
true and accurate?
1st Burglar. They are. 15
Sirrica. You state that you and your friends were offered
money to plead guilty in these charges
and to further more say nothing else?
1st Burglar. That is correct.
Sirrica. Who offered this money to you? 20
1st Burglar. The Committee to Re-Elect the
President, coming, as I hear, from
the White House itself.
Crowd. Oh, my! Oh!
Sirrica. And why were these men so interested 25
in seeing you plead guilty?
1st Burglar. So that we would not reveal anything.
Sirrica. Reveal what?
1st Burglar. The Republican plans for espionage
and sabotage against the Democrats. 30
Crowd. Oh, my! Oh!
Sirrica. The Committee to Re-Elect the
President, John Mitchell chairman,
then paid you moneys to guarantee
that you did not mention other illegal 35
activities of the Committee?
1st Burglar. That is correct.
Sirrica. This is a serious charge you have made.
1st Burglar. It is true. For many weeks
the press has circulated much rumor, 40
purported leaks of information
of such a nature that would discredit
the warriors of last year’s election.
I have come forward to offer my
evidence that these stories are true. 45
Political corruption was, last year,
the rule not the exception. I charge that
John Mitchell, Maurice Stans, John Ehrlichman,
John Dean, H.R. Haldeman, and possibly
the President himself conspired 50
to commit illegal acts. And upon
investigation of these acts they
conspired to obstruct said investigation
and cover-up their illegal activities
with a trail of lies and misconceptions. 55
Crowd. Oh, my! Oh! The President!
1st Burglar. I credit the Press for not being fooled
by these cover-ups. And when I received
money to be silent I saw that
the end was near. The Press would soon the truth 60
uncover. So I have come before this court
to present my case.
Sirrica. All this is new and grave. The President
himself, you say? This is serious. This court
I recess until tomorrow, then to take 65
testimony from the others to see
if these allegations are true.
Burglars. We affirm what has been said.
2nd Burglar. Four men, especially, are
culprits in this scandal. 70
3rd Burglar. John Mitchell, chairman of the Committee
to Re-Elect the President.
4th Burglar. And from within the White House ‘twas planned
and executed by the President’s men.
How their scheming escaped the President, I know not. 75
Crowd. Oh, my! Oh!
5th Burglar. Yes, John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman
and John Dean performed and approved
numerous corrupt and scandalous acts.
Sirrica. Well, well, well! This Court is adjourned. 80
[Exeunt all save Severied and Cronkite.]
Severied. Quick! To the studio let’s hasten, Walt.
This news is bigger than any before.
Cronkite. Aye, Eric. By the burglar’s own admission
the men of the Press have once again saved
this Nation, uncovering this cover-up, 85
nipping in the bud this Watergate scandal.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Scene VI. Key Biscayne, in Florida.

[Enter Richard, John Dean, John Ehrlichman, H.R. Haldeman, a Doctor, and Secret Service Agents.]
Doctor. Yes, I have ordered you south to
receive full benefit of the sunshine.
You need a rest. These Watergate matters
trouble you. Go, peaceably about your
work and forget that Hotel and all its 5
dark connections. Get plenty of rest, drink
lots of liquids, and take two aspirin.
Richard. Thanks for your advice. I need it most dearly.
[Exit Doctor.]
In all and all of time that’s been
great Universe has never seemed so black. 10
As if a hundred thousand stars had fallen
and left the sky a blank and dreary bowl.
The moonless night is less occluded than
the dismal abyss I inhabit now.
I’ve done nothing wrong. Not connived to thwart 15
due justice. Not ordered illegal schemes.
Have I, boys, received campaign contributions
from illicit sources? Yet every day
the papers are full of new, fabulous
stories that smear my name with false and 20
uncorroborated accusations.
[Enter Pat.]
What have I done to deserve such fate?
Come in, sweet wife, and soothe me.
Pat. Ah, poor hubby, the Senate has formed
a Committee Select to investigate 25
this last election and called before
it these three men to testify.
Richard. What’s this? Well go, send for Ziegler. I’ll
make a statement! Facts before a committee
sting less than innuendoes in the press. 30
This news, I think, might be good.
[Exeunt Richard, Pat, and Secret Service Agents.]
Dean. Methinks our good fortune runs dry. They’re hot
on our trail and now we’re to testify
before the Senate. Any fool knows those
Congressmen are relentless in their 35
questioning. We’re doomed! They’ll discover our
irregularities. All is lost!
Haldeman. But John, we’ve done no wrong, no illegal
acts. Conspired no cover-ups. The Boss says so!
Dean. How can you and Ehrlichman stand there with 40
face so blank and unmoved? If you can say
to me, straight-faced, that you’re not involved,
who will be able to unseat your sly
and false hid front. O Treachery!
Ehrlichman. Again, I affirm, we’ve done nothing. Any 45
questions so put to us, we’ll maintain
our innocence and blame these nasty deeds
on other folk.
Dean. Ho! How can this be? We’ve covered up.
I am a party to conspiracy 50
and know full well that you are equal in
the deed. How will we withstand tough questions?
Haldeman. We’ll do it calmly, before the Senate,
and maintain our innocence.
[Exeunt Haldeman and Ehrlichman.]
Dean. No! I will not. Yes, I will tell the truth. 55
I’ll turn state’s evidence on them, the liars.
I’ll not perjure myself on the alter
of smug self-righteousness.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Scene VII. The same, two months later.

[Enter Richard, Pat, Secret Service Agents, and Ziegler.]
Ziegler. Shall I add anything else to this release?
Richard. No. I think it stands good.
Ziegler. You have fired them, then? No more do these
men work for the government?
Richard. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Dean, Haldeman, 5
Ehrlichman, good-bye. Read the statement again.
Ziegler. Yes, sir. [He reads.] I welcome the Senatorial
investigation of these Watergate
matters. I have always said that we should
get to the bottom of this. I ordered, 10
last fall, a thorough investigation
through my top aides and they assured me that
no person in high public office was
involved. But here it’s been accused that
these top aides acted falsely. I have dismissed 15
these three persons and hand them over to
the Senate investigators. But these
matters, these alleged illegal acts,
of which I knew nothing, should be fairly
prosecuted to the fullest extent 20
of the law. All illegal acts must be
punished through the Courts. Therefore I have called
upon the local District Court to form
a Grand Jury to consider all the
facts and bring to justice all indictable 25
offenses. For the conduct of all these
Judicial investigations, I now
hereby instruct my Attorney-General,
Elliot Richardson, to thus appoint
a special Watergate prosecutor, 30
Mr. Archibald Cox, a trusted and
well known lawyer, to handle this case.
Let us then forget this scandal and leave
its conclusion to the Courts.
[Pat applauds.]
Richard. That should do it. 35
Pat. A fine announcement. The people will like it.
Ziegler. Let us hope so.
[Exit Ziegler.]
Pat. ‘Tis another mess thou has gotten out of.
Thou art indeed a well-bred President.
Richard. Ah. That’s the last we’ll hear of this 40
Watergate affair. I’ve dispatched it.
[Enter Julie and David Eisenhower.]
Julie. Hello, father. Dearest mother.
Richard. Dear daughter, and you David, how are you two?
David. Quite fine, sir. We’re well established
in our new home. 45
Julie. Things are going fine, save for the hounding
of the liberal press. They come to our door
and ask us all such personal questions.
Then they twist our statements to support their
misfound conjectures. 50
Richard. Yes, those liberal press hounds are out
to hunt me. But fear not, we’ll take care of them
and all our troubles will soon vanish.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Scene VIII. Washington, D.C. the White House.

[Enter Ziegler.]
Ziegler. Seems lonely without those three clowns.
So jovial. So merry. Too bad they
were caught being so corrupt.
[Enter Rosemary Woods, a secretary.]
How goes the war, Rosemary?
Rosemary. The President’s in conference. 5
The machines run smoothly. I go now
to transcribe yesterday’s recordings
‘Tis a novel thing, these machines,
to record exactly what was said at
all those historic meetings. 10
Great posterity will welcome our careful
keeping of these historic recordings.
[Exit Rosemary.]
Ziegler. A fine and noble women. Another
[Enter Pat and attendants.]
fine lady. Dear Pat, have you any
releases for me this morning? 15
Pat. No, but my noble husband will soon
emerge to greet a host of dignitaries.
I see they’ve fixed the air conditioner.
Ziegler. Yes, we’re comfortable, now. Spiro
is returned from another trip. His plane 20
has flown far and wide upon his missions.
Pat. He is a good Vice-President. Wise.
Loyal. Obedient. Invite him to lunch.
We’re having steak.
[Enter Richard and Secret Service Agents.]
Ziegler. That I’ll do. Good morning, sir. 25
Richard. Good morning. Hello, Pat, you look well.
[Enter Cub Scouts.]
Well, look here! They come in twos, presented
before their President. Hello, fellows.
1st Cub. Are you really the President?
Richard. I am the President. 30
[They salute.]
Such good little citizens. And how goes
the world, my fine little men?
2nd Cub. Fine, sir. We’re having a lot of fun.
3rd Cub. My daddy had to take a bus to work
this morning ‘cause we couldn’t get gas for the car. 35
4th Cub. And my mommy says I can’t watch television
‘cause there ain’t, I mean isn’t, enough electricity
to run both it and the refrigerator.
1st Cub. My mommy yells at my daddy ‘cause the cost
of food is so much. And my daddy yells 40
at my mommy ‘cause we’ve had tuna
for the last five days in a row.
[Exeunt Cub Scouts.]
Richard. Good-bye young citizens. What ho?
The silent majority has problems?
I did not know this. I’ll assign my top 45
advisor to look into the matter.
Do you think, dear Pat, that I’ve lost touch
with the great mass of people?
Pat. I’d not thought so. But the galloping polls
indicate thy popular support hath 50
fallen below the halfway mark.
Richard. Hmm. I’m sure that I will handle it.
Pat. Come, then, ‘tis time to prepare for lunch.
We’re having company.
Richard. I will be with you presently, sweet wife. 55
I, too, am expecting a visitor.
[Exeunt Pat and attendants.]
[Enter John Mitchell and Howard K. Smith.]
And there’s the man I’ve to meet. Good day, John Mitchell.
Mitchell. Good morning, Mr. President.
Richard. And you, liberal pressman, have you any
business here? 60
Smith. I’ve an appointment with Mr. Ziegler.
Ziegler. Oh, yes. Right. I’d forgotten.
Come this way, Howard.
[Exeunt Ziegler and Smith.]
Richard. I’ll be with you in a minute, John.
I’ve some of this horrid paperwork to sign. 65
Mitchell. Take you’re time. I’m not rushed.
[Exeunt Richard and Secret Service Agents.]
[Enter Martha, wife to Mitchell.]
Martha. There is that no good, evil-minded boar.
I’ve searched high and low for your rascalled face.
Mitchell. Martha? What do you want?
Martha. I’ve come to say that I’ll no longer stay 70
at your side, wicked man. I know all
the things that you have done. Wait ‘til I tell
them to the press. O wretched Man! Your day
of judgment and doom is soon at hand.
Mitchell. Hold your giddy tongue, you silly woman. 75
You have no proof of my wrong doing.
Why do you bother me. I’ve resigned my
position, disgraced by accusations
of five burglars and that so called friend,
John Dean. Brought down by lies. Accused of 80
illegal acts and now, Martha, you leave
my side to run and tell gossip to
the liberal press. When I was Attorney-
General your tongue was constantly
connected by a wire to some far flung 85
columnist, who, the next morning, revealed
to the world the confidential nature
of my occupation. To be so false
accused is no small thing, but for my wife
to be the source is akin to treason. 90
Martha. Ha! I’ll not married to a liar be. And
a cheat. Your felonious deeds flout the
very law so sworn to uphold. Politics
have ruined you, John. You are not the man
I wed, so changed are you by this stubborn 95
political life. Adios, Mitchell.
[Exit Martha.]
Mitchell. I’ve lost my job, my confidence,
my credibility, and now my wife.
O great woe! I’ll retire and smoke my pipe
and protest to all the world my innocence. 100
[Enter an Attendant.]
Attendant. The President awaits you.
[Exeunt Mitchell and Attendant.]
[Re-enter Martha and Howard K. Smith.]
Smith. And how goes John?
Martha. John and I are separated.
I speak not to him.
Smith. Ah, you had warned him to quit politics. 105
Martha. Our marriage would not last. His scandalous
acts are too much for me. Now I leave him.
Smith. He is involved with the Watergate matter?
Deeply involved, perhaps?
Martha. You can bet your sweet Justice Department he is. 110
Smith. [Aside.]
I smell a story. I will wine and dine
this lady until all the facts fall out. ---
Come, let’s to lunch. And tell me more.
[Exeunt Martha and Smith.]
[Re-enter Ziegler.]
Ziegler. Oh, my. Such a busy day. Back to work
I need go. The gas is short and 115
the stock market dips. The liberal press will
demand some answers. I’ll get to work.
[Enter Henry Kissinger.]
How did it go last night, Henry?
Kissinger. Oh, she was all right, but a bit dull.
Ziegler. No, I mean the negotiations. 120
Kissinger. Very well, indeed. We have agreed to
many things to further the cause of
world peace and normalization of relations.
[Exit Kissinger.]
[Enter Herbert Stein.]
Ziegler. Ah, just the man I need. Come, tell me,
Herbert Stein, some counter-measure to 125
lighten the American heart.
The market plunges. Food prices multiply
Wages go up too fast for the employer,
but not fast enough for the poor employee.
And then there are those who are unemployed. 130
It is our nation’s number one problem.
I need some news, Herbert.
Stein. I can confidently predict that
Phase IV will succeed in holding the line
against the rise of prices and that we will 135
not have a recession in this quarter.
[Exit Stein.]
Ziegler. Thank you! Oh, good news. And here’s the Czar,
[Enter William Simon.]
come to relieve me of another problem.
What says th’ energy?
Simon. Simon says: Hear ye, the great American Dream 140
of driving about to see field and stream
must, by needs of a shortage of fuel,
come to a halt. So be no fool,
and save the gas in summertime
so we shan’t freeze to death in winter’s clime. 145
[Exit Simon.]
Ziegler. A brilliant man. And wise.
[Enter Rosemary Woods.]
Who’s this now? Oh, ‘tis you, Rosemary,
I thought it might be trouble.
Rosemary. Huh? Oh, that man talks and talks. ‘Tis the fifth
tape today. I’ll spend the last years of 150
my life transcribing these confidential
meetings. The doctor orders him to
California, for a rest, and he is
busy finishing up. Any news
in the Committee? 155
Ziegler. None but mere formality. Those cumbersome
Senators have just gotten ‘round to proving
that the Hotel was broken into!
Rosemary. [She laughs.]
I’ve watched their proceedings. So theatric.
So full of self-purpose. 160
Ziegler. A Democratic trait, I fear.
Rosemary. Aye, but, oh, that Howard Baker!
What a man! What a face! What charm! And yet
a Republican!
Ziegler. All the better. ‘Tis good that the nation’s 165
full fancy finds this man. For he, alone,
must counter-balance the forces opposed
to our plan. He must parry and slam
the sage and high wisdom of Senator Sam.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Scene I. Washington, D.C. The Capitol.

[Enter Eric Severied and John Chancellor.]
Severied. This old hearing room will indeed have an historic week.
Chancellor. Aye, the testimonies of Dean,
Haldeman, and Ehrlichman come close on
each other’s heels. We’ll keep busy. This news
will fill the air full time, ‘til this story is complete. 5
Severied. Why, the Committee’s task is but begun
and already many a wayward act,
reported here first, has been borne out.
Chancellor. Until we broke the story, I had no
clue that campaign men would do such mischief, 10
would calmly sit and plan such fabulous
illegal acts and raise many millions
of dollars; to play dirty tricks on the
Democrats; to write obscene letters and
make false press releases and disrupt 15
campaigners by purchasing hecklers and
rotten tomatoes; and last, but no,
not least, to bug their headquarters with
electronic listening devices.
Severied. ‘Twas fascinating to sit within this 20
Committee’s room and listen to the
Burglars’ story. To hear, from the very
men themselves, how they were chosen by
high placed men to contract the job at the
Hotel Watergate. I found it most 25
astounding, the story of the break-in
and the history of their capture by
a security guard, and, finally,
after, as I must add, the fact that we
of the liberal press had uncovered 30
something fishy, of the enormous funds
raised to buy silence from the Burglars and
provide support for their families while
they languish in prison from a pleaded charge of guilty.
Chancellor. But, now, the Committee’s work is just 35
begun, to delve within that secret
structure of the Committee to
Re-elect, to see how this vile and evil
place, where corruption grew, was connected
to White House aides, and to uncover all 40
the facts and display the corruptions so
this might not happen again. That is their task.
Severied. Aye, let’s not have another scandal of
this proportion. That’s our job, Chancellor,
to see to it this shan’t ever happen again. 45
We spread the word to all the land
that the mass media keeps careful eye
on our government. We’ll not let corruption
rear its evil head again.
Chancellor. The nation’s put their trust in us. And that 50
is a good thing, for we are the guardians
of government ethics. And the public
trust is one we’ll keep.
[Enter Sam Ervin, Howard Baker, other divers Senators, Counsels for the Majority and Minority, divers assistants, lawyers, attendants, members of the press and public.]
Ervin. Ayha, this, ah, Committee is now in
session. We, ah, have been looking over these 55
memos that the Committee has acquired
and I can say that they are incomplete
and, ah, we will ask the White House for
further documents. Ah, who is the next, ah witness?
Baker. Bob Haldeman. 60
Ervin. Ah, who? Bobberman, you say?
Baker. No, no. H.R. Haldeman. The President’s aide.
Ervin. Well, oh yes, of course. Why didn’t you say so?
Ah, will the witness come forward.
The Crowd. Buzz. Buzz. 65
Ervin. Mr. Hawdyman, are you present? Come forward.
Baker. I don’t think he’s here.
Ervin. Well, ah, what’s holding, ah, things up?
Baker. We’re waiting on the television
cameramen to return from lunch. 70
Ervin. Oh, well, ah, in that case…
[Enter Technicians of the Camera.]
Oh, ah, here they are.
1st Camera. Ten seconds, Ervie baby. Five. You’re on.
Ervin. Ah, this Committee is now in session.
Ah, will the first witness come forward? 75
[Enter H.R. Haldeman and a lawyer.]
State, ah, your name for the Committee.
Haldeman. H. Robert Haldeman.
Baker. Do you swear to tell the truth,
1st Senator. The whole truth,
2nd Senator. And nothing but the truth, 80
All. So help you?
Haldeman. I do.
Ervin. Where were you on the night of April Twenty-first?
Haldeman. In New York. Or California.
Or Washington. I was traveling between those places. 85
Baker. Did you attend a meeting with Johns
Ehrlichman, Dean, and Mitchell and the President?
Haldeman. No.
Maj Couns. Oh, really? John Dean says you were there.
Haldeman. He was there, but the other two weren’t. 90
Baker. But you did attend a meeting?
Haldeman. The last part. But I had come for
a different matter.
1st Senator. A different matter? How do you know
which matter we’re interested in? 95
Haldeman. I assumed you meant the matter the
President and Dean were discussing
3rd Senator. And what was that?
Haldeman. Our political strategy.
Ervin. For what legislative agenda? 100
Haldeman. I don’t recall.
4th Senator. Really, now, you don’t recall how
the President planned his strategies?
Haldeman. It was about how President Nixon
ought to prevail, as in the past. 105
Baker. There was no talk of political dirty tricks?
… In the past or in the future…
Haldeman. No.
Min Couns. You never authorized, saw, approved, or
acknowledged any political tricks?
Haldeman. No. 110
Ervin. Well, ah, as it’s been said, “He who answers promptly
must know what he’s talking about.” You’re dismissed.
[Exeunt Haldeman and lawyer.]
Baker. Who’s next?
Min Couns. John Dean.
Ervin. Jim Beam? 115
Baker. John Dean.
2nd Senator. This should be fun.
[Enter John Dean and a lawyer.]
1st Senator. He’s made many claims that we’ll
spend hours to investigate.
Ervin. State your name. 120
Dean. John Dean.
Baker. Do you swear to tell the truth,
4th Senator. The whole truth,
All. And nothing but the truth,
Min Couns. So help you? 125
Dean. I do.
Maj Couns. Did you attend a meeting on April
Twenty-first with the President?
Dean. I did. And I would like to take this time
to tell you what occurred at that meeting. 130
First, Mr. Ehrlichman brought up the issue
of clemency for the Watergate
Burglars. The President said that was out
of the question. Then someone mentioned
hush money. I remarked that it would take 135
several million dollars. Mr. Nixon
replied that would be no problem.
The Crowd. Buzz, buzz. Oh, my!
5th Senator. Then the President knew about the
attempt to buy the Burglars’ silence. 140
Dean. Yes, sir.
6th Senator. Did he know anything else?
Dean. Oh, yes. He knew about the burglary
and his aides approved it.
Baker. Did you approve it? 145
Dean. Why, yes. But only because I thought the
President had previously agreed upon it.
Maj Couns. The President agreed to these illegal acts?
Dean. Well, not in so many words. At a meeting
in Florida we talked about 150
a variety of political
tricks and sabotage that required vast sums
of money. When these multi-million
dollar plans were first presented
John Mitchell threw them out and told us 155
to come up with something more viable.
At that point in time it was obvious
that we would have to tone down our proposals.
We came back with a lesser plan which
Mr. Mitchell then gave approval to. 160
However, the President did not say
yes or no. But it was clear by his
actions and hints that we should go ahead.
The Crowd. Buzz, buzz. Oh, my!
Ervin. Well, ah, as wise men say, 165
“Very interesting. Please go on.”
Dean. Then, last summer, after the burglars were caught,
he ordered me to look into the matter.
3rd Senator. This was after the Federal
investigation had taken place? 170
Dean. That is right. He wanted to make sure that
no one in the White House was involved
in this scandal.
Min Couns. And what did you find?
Dean. That we were. 175
Baker. What did the President say about this?
Dean. He was very busy at the time and
we did not discuss it very often,
so I let it drop.
2nd Senator. Then the President had knowledge of 180
wrong doing, but did not report it?
Dean. Right. At that point in time.
The Crowd. Buzz, buzz. Oh, my! Obstruction of justice!
Ervin. Well, ah, then, very well. You are dismissed.
[Exeunt Dean and lawyer.]
Ah, who’s next? Oh, ah, John Ehrlichman. 185
[Enter John Ehrlichman and a lawyer.]
What is your name?
Ehrlichman. John Ehrlichman.
Ervin. Oh. Very well.
1st Senator. Do you swear to tell the truth,
All. The whole truth, 190
2nd Senator. And nothing but the truth,
Min Couns. So help you?
Ehrlichman. I do. I believe that, under the rules
of this Committee, I am entitled
to make a statement. 195
Ervin. Ah, uh, well, is that legal? Oh, ah, yes. Go ahead.
Ehrlichman. John Dean is a liar. Not one of his
accusations are provable and none
of his so-called meetings occurred. And it
is my intention to prove that no one 200
in the White House was involved in either
the burglary or a cover up.
Baker. Explain. Let’s start with the meeting of April Twenty-first.
Ehrlichman. O.K.
Baker. Go on. 205
Ehrlichman. We discussed many different subjects,
before and while Dean was there. But not one
word was mentioned of paying off the Burglars.
1st Person. [Aside.]
Methinks this finally be the truth. That Dean
had the evil eye, a huge sense of self-interest. 210
I believe he makes up stories to impress
the Media. This Ehrlichman knows
what’s right. And I’m reassured that
President Nixon is innocent.
2nd Person. [Aside.]
Methinks this man the liar be. Haldeman 215
and Ehrlichman, twins by office!
Always Haldeman and Ehrlichman, ne’er
the other way around. Two evil boys
plotting mischief in the name of national
security and loyalty to the 220
President. Oh, just look at the man at
the witness table. Such a military
close-chopped crew cut. What a vicious mouth. How
he slurs his words and makes the terms mean things
so sinister. I know he’s lying and 225
so he lied for the President.
I’m now convinced sly Nixon is a crook.
Min Couns. Then the President had no knowledge of
any illegal acts?
Ehrlichman. Uhm, that is correct. 230
Maj Couns. When did the President discover
these wrong doings?
Ehrlichman. Ah, uhm, when he read of the burglary
in the morning papers.
Baker. Did he suspect that some of his top aides 235
were involved?
Ehrlichman. Well, not until the liberal press was
full of rumors and innuendoes
concerning the staff.
3rd Senator. What did he do? 240
Ehrlichman. He ordered John Dean to investigate the matter.
Min Couns. And what did Mr. Dean find?
Ehrlichman. That no one in the White House was involved.
The Crowd. Buzz, buzz. Oh, my! Conflicting testimony!
1st Person. [Aside.]
Oh, they’ve got that Dean fellow in perjuring 245
himself before this Committee.
2nd Person. [Aside.]
Oh, yes. There is a liar in our midst.
And it isn’t John Dean, or Sam Ervin.
Ervin. How very interesting. Well, ah, then,
let us consider what has happened 250
this day. Ah, so much to consider.
Baker. It’s true. We will have an indictment
of perjury before this case is done.
Ervin. Well, ah, this Committee, ah is adjourned.
Oh, excuse me, the witness is dismissed. 255

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Scene II. San Clemente, in California.

[Enter Pat, Tricia, and Julie.]
Pat. They almost subpoenaed your father!
Julie. Those nasty liberals.
Pat. Why the very idea of making poor
Richard appear in court to testify
or come before that idiotic 5
Watergate Committee, I don’t understand!
Tricia. The thrill seeking bunch of hooligans!
Pat. Why, I put my foot down and told Richard
not to go. It’s his privilege as Chief
Executive to deny his presence 10
to the Senate. Or to the courts, for that matter.
[Enter Rosemary Woods.]
Why, he even gave all those memos and notes.
And what do they want? The man himself!
Give some Democrats an inch and they will
want several acres. 15
Rosemary. More of these blasphemous tapes. I swear,
your husband and his friends do more talking.
But I guess all’s for the better. ‘Twill be of
great historical value in years to come.
Just think, recordings of important 20
conferences saved for posterity.
Your Richard’s a wise man, indeed, dear Pat.
Pat. I know. And even wiser still. These
historical documents are worth
a considerable tax deduction! 25
Rosemary. No!
Pat. Why, yes. He did the very same with his
Vice-Presidential papers. By just
giving them to the Archives he reduced
our tax by four hundred thousand dollars. 30
Rosemary. I wish my husband could lower our taxes.
Pat. Richard only paid eight hundred dollars
to taxes last year. And only
seven hundred the year before.
Rosemary. Amazing! 35
Pat. Yes, and look at this house. Who would have thought
that old San Clemente could be improved,
capitally, and so enhanced, without
costing our family a cent?
Rosemary. Extraordinary! Yes, but I must go 40
and transcribe these tapes. I’ve fallen behind.
[Exit Rosemary.]
Tricia. A wonderful servant!
Julie. So loyal. So obedient.
Pat. Just like the vast silent majority
and all the other members of Richard’s staff. 45

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Scene III. Washington, D.C. a newsroom.

[Enter Walter Cronkite.]
Cronkite. Another day, another surprise. I
wonder what news will turn up today in
this Watergate affair. What, ho! A press
release from the Western White House.
[He reads.]
“This investigation has gone on 5
too long. It wearies the public and
taxes the minds of sane men. The Select
Committee wastes the taxpayers time with
absurd accusations and unjustified
snooping. They have asked me to give them 10
all manner of documents and aides to
testify. But Presidents, from the
very first, have Executive Privilege.
And it is to our discretion what we
may release. Any illegal actions? 15
Let’s give them to the courts, where all things are
fairly tried. Let’s not wallow in Watergate,
but get on with the business of the
country. I am not a crook.”
A fair news story. The President 20
attacks his critics. And, ho, a Gallup Poll!
We’ll see how many critics he has!
[He reads.]
“Job Performance: Good -thirty-three percent.
Average - twelve percent. Poor - thirty-three percent.
No opinion - almost twenty-one percent. 25
Do you think the President committed
or knew of people who committed a crime?
Yes - fifty-nine percent. No - thirty-three
percent. And no opinion - only eight
percent. Should the President resign? Yes- 30
fifteen percent. No - seventy percent.
And no opinion climbs to fifteen percent.”
Interesting. Very interesting.
Methinks the public mood is very mixed.
Or at least divided evenly. One 35
half the population are such avid
Nixon lovers, yet the other half can
fair be said to say that they’re out to ring
[Enter Howard K. Smith.]
his neck. Here comes a man who looks like he
knows what he’s doing. Any news, Smith? 40
Smith. John Mitchell appeared before the Committee.
His lawyer and Ervin were engaged in
many a sundry controversy.
Cronkite. Oh, really? ‘Twould seem I missed
the most lively witness. 45
Smith. ‘Twasn’t just the witness, but his lawyer, too.
The Chairman asked Mitchell if he knew of
the break-in of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.
Cronkite. Ah, yes, Mitchell was Attorney General,
then. And here, this was an illegal act. 50
An important point.
Smith. Mitchell said the burglary was ordered
on the basis of National Security.
And Ervin exploded, wherein he
variously condemned many men for 55
the defiling of Personal Security
in the name of National Security.
Whereby he charged the President
with violation of the Constitution
by an unlawful search and seizure 60
of a person’s private effects.
Cronkite. A strong point. How did Mitchell
defend this tyranny?
Smith. He didn’t. His lawyer jumped into the argument
and spent the most part of an hour citing 65
numerous legislation that gave
the President power to do many
things in the best interest of National
Security. And this made Ervin and
and other honest Senators irate. 70
Well it should, for a person’s liberties
were violated without due process of
the law. A heinous crime.
Cronkite. And what happened next?
Smith. Well, Ervin charged them with these words, 75
“Didn’t you know that this was an illegal act?
That you could’ve gotten the information
by a legal court order? Yet, yet you
hire a burglar and get the documents
by theft?” To which Mr. Mitchell did reply, 80
“We did what we thought best. Doing what
Mr. Nixon told us to do.” This answer
annoyed the Committee, wherein
Baker asked, “Didn’t anyone tell the
President this was wrong?” To which the 85
former Attorney General replied, “No.”
Then Ervin said, “You mean to say that out
of sheer loyalty to the President
you performed illegal activities?”
Whereas the witness said, “We did this to 90
prevent the Pentagon Papers from falling
into the hands of Communists and
Anarchists. Yes, loyalty to the
President. Loyalty to the Nation.”
To which Baker muttered to himself, 95
“So loyal as to steal a doctor’s
confidential files.” Therewith the lawyer
and Ervin again fell to arguing.
Cronkite. Astounding! Here, go and write this story.
We’ll use it first. An amazing tale. 100
[Exit Smith.]
Methinks the President is in trouble.
[Enter John Chancellor.]
Here comes another. What wild eyes and harried
expression. Come quick, Chancellor, you look stunned.
Chancellor. A stunning event.
Cronkite. John Mitchell’s testimony? Yes it was. 105
Chancellor. No, I mean what has just happened by
a report from the Secret Service
concerning the tapes.
Cronkite. What tapes? Is there something to be measured here?
Chancellor. No! Tape recordings of the President’s 110
Oval Office conversations.
Cronkite. What’s this? Steady nerves! Shall there be no end
to these revelations? He tapes
his very own conversations?
Chancellor. Aye! Since coming into office 115
the President has secretly recorded
all his meetings to keep the exact words
for historical material. All the meetings
where Watergate matters have been discussed
are now on magnetic tape. Preserved 120
for us to hear!
Cronkite. O Happy Days! An end to this matter!
We’ll soon know if the President’s involved
by listening to the tapes! An easy
matter, now, to prove guilt or innocence. 125
This’ll help Archibald Cox in bringing
indictments before the courts of justice.
Where are these tapes?
Chancellor. Under lock and key, so supervised by the Secret Service.
Cronkite. Good! And safe. Nothing will happen to this 130
evidence. The Secret Service will keep
the tapes high and dry away from culprits
who’d like to destroy the evidence.
Chancellor. This is true.
[Exit Chancellor.]
Cronkite. That’s three, the number of new stories I’ll 135
present on the evening news. A busy day!
[Enter Eric Severied.]
Come, Severied, old colleague, what thinks you
of today’s advantages?
Severied. I think they’re intolerable. There’s no excuse.
Cronkite. What’s this? Methinks ‘twas such a grand idea 140
to record all of his Oval Office
conversations for all posterity.
Severied. I mean not the tapes. ‘Tis despicable.
Cronkite. What? Can this be more news? More stunning than
the first three revelations? 145
Severied. Aye. Howard Hughes, that rich and recluse
millionaire gave to the Presidential
campaign fund one hundred thousand dollars,
in unmarked bills. They did the deed by
the services of an ex-CIA man 150
who carried the money in brown paper
bags and made contact with persons unknown
in designated telephone booths.
Cronkite. Sounds melodramatic. Full of espionage.
Severied. It was! I wish you could just have heard the 155
witness describe how he was paid to deliver
money in paper bags, receiving his
orders from some party unknown, o’er the phone.
Cronkite. This can’t but show the folly and total
absurdity of this whole affair, 160
my friend. The use of a cannon to kill
a fly. It amazes, that the President
should so order a campaign with such designs!
Especially when you consider that
the election was almost uncontested. 165
I can’t understand it.
Severied. Nor can I.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Scene IV. San Clemente, in California.

[Enter Members of the Press and divers crowds, Demonstrators, Supporters, servants, and attendants.]
1st Reporter.‘Tis the first news conference of the
President since these Watergate matters have occurred.
2nd Reporter.Aye. Tonight, methinks, he’ll answer to the
charges brought against him. And most wisely,
I believe, and bring all the truth into 5
the light of day.
1st Demonst Hah! We’ll get the truth out all right. We’ll show
the nation that Richard Milhous is a liar,
a crook, and a frivolous man!
Demonstrators. Down with King Dick! Tricky Dicky’s down the drain. 10
Supporters. John Wayne and Sammy Davis can’t be wrong!
What we need is four more years.! Down with the Liberal Press!
Demonstrators. Death to ye hypocrites and bigots!
Supporters. Death to ye Commie Pinko fags!
[Enter Secret Service Agents and Ronald Ziegler.]
2nd Reporter.This’ll calm them. They await the man. 15
[Enter Spiro Agnew and Secret Service Agents.]
‘Tis the wrong man. Only Agnew. But
maybe he’ll answer a few questions.
Demonstrators. Boo! Hiss! Establishment!
Supporters. Give ‘em hell, Spiro!
Agnew. Peace, brothers. These impudent, effetish 20
liberal snobs and their left wing press will
have it straight. Come on, I speak for the
Silent Majority. Put your questions to me.
1st Reporter.Did you know about Watergate?
Agnew. Yes. 25
Crowd. Oh, my!
2nd Demon. I knew it!
Agnew. I knew about it the morning I read
of the arrests in the paper.
Crowd. Oh. 30
Supporters. Whew!
2nd Reporter.You did not participate in any
of these matters?
Agnew. Sir, I’ve never in my life done any
illegal act. And I’d be offended 35
if I did. And here’s a much better
[Enter Pat, Julie, Tricia, Edward Cox, and David Eisenhower.]
subject for your questions.
3rd Reporter.Mrs. Nixon, how is your husband
feeling? Is he eating well?
Pat. The doctors have ordered him rest and 40
sunshine. But Richard works on and consents
to this conference to reply to the
charges against him. He seldom, these days,
eats breakfast, which, I fear, is no good for
his system. But his system must suffer, 45
for he is President of the United States.
[Fanfare, “Hail to the Chief.” Enter Richard and Secret Service Agents.]
Agnew. Ladies and Gentlemen, the President!
[They all rise.]
Richard. You may be seated.
Reporters. Mr. President! Mr. President!
Richard. You, there, in the front row. 50
4th Reporter.Sir, is there really an Energy
Crisis, and if so, what are you doing about it?
Richard. Yes, young man, as you know the Arabs have
boycotted selling oil to us for our
giving aide to Israel. This has caused 55
a great hardship for we are now in
the very midst of a shortage of oil.
A shortage that will cause many schools
to be cold, many businesses to close,
and may lead to gas rationing for 60
automobiles. What am I doing about it?
I have appointed an Energy Czar
to print up gas rationing coupons.
Mr. Simon, whom I’ve appointed is here.
[Enter William Simon.]
4th Reporter.Will there be gas rationing? 65
Simon. Simon says, “If the weather be very
hard, or the major brands do not produce,
or unforeseen circumstances
halt Venezuelan crude, or if the
general public doesn’t conserve, there’ll certainly 70
be rationing of gas to motorists.”
5th Reporter.How can we avoid this rationing?
What industries will get all the gas that
they need? What of the farmers?
Simon. Simon says, “What of the farmers? They’ve 75
gotten along just fine and will continue to do so.”
1st Person. [Aside.]
I know a farmer who grows corn and says
he can get gas, if he pays the price!
Simon. “And these are the things that you can do.
Don’t drive sixty-five. We’ve lowered the limit 80
by ten. Don’t waste gas by starting and
stopping too fast. Don’t go for drives in the country
and don’t go anywhere but to church on Sunday.
And mark my words, our oil reserves
are weak, so we must conserve 85
by limiting the motoring public.
We must limit our pleasures wrought from the car
so that our major industries
will be running up to par.”
[Exit William Simon.]
1st Person. [Aside.]
Methinks that businessmen will go about 90
and swear, “I’ll need the gas to do my business.”
And all these men will say, “Let the others
conserve, I need the gas!” And so it’ll be.
The common man will scrimp and save just
to have ‘nough gas for the business. 95
1st Reporter.Mr. President.
Richard. You, with the orange tie.
1st Reporter.I understand that your office gave
the orders for the burglary of the office
of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. Are you 100
a party to this conspiracy.
Richard. I am not. Next question. You, over here.
[Enter Plumbers.]
6th Reporter. Then why was this crime committed?
Richard. I’ll tell you why. “Twas not a crime, but
an act of national security. 105
These men before you now are my friends.
It happens often in my high office
the my most secretest events are
spirited away by persons unknown
and thence leaked to the press. My friends, 110
the Plumbers, are hired to find and fix these
leaks, so that national security
runs unimpaired. And so it was that when
Mr. Ellsberg pirated
the Pentagon Papers, I so instructed 115
my Plumbers to fix that leak. And this is
how it was done.
A matter of National Security.
[Exeunt Plumbers.]
The lady in the back row.
7th Reporter. Surely, it’s obvious that at least one 120
of your assistants has been lying
to the Committee, to the Grand Jury, et cetera.
Richard. Not to my knowledge, and if so, what of it?
Let the courts decide the perjury charges.
7th Reporter.But you, yourself lied, when telling us of 125
the invasion of Cambodia, you
boldly declared that American
material had ne’er been in that
Kingdom before that invasion. Yet, by pilot’s
own testimony, American bombs 130
were dropped in secret well within those
Cambodian boundaries.
But long before your televised announcement.
Richard. ‘Tis of no consequence! You lie! Next question.
The reporter with the glasses. 135
2nd Reporter.How goes the Economy?
Richard. Sir, the Economy goes well. It has
always been my game plan to halt that
spiraling inflation, to go to full
employment in peacetime, yet let our 140
businesses make a profit. And here’s
[Enter Herbert Stein.]
the man who’ll inform us more directly.
Stein. Be not misled by figures. ‘Though government
figures tell of the ne’er ending upward
spiral of inflation, let us remember 145
that men today are earning more than ever.
More to pay for those increased prices. And,
lo, great men of wisdom have predicted
that this nation’s economy shall swing
into recession. In all of grand nature’s 150
mighty scales and cycles, none is more horrid
than the periodic rise and fall of
economic health. From times of rising
prosperity, realized from the very
depths of dark depression, through rampant 155
inflation, and thence backsliding, past times
of recession, no turn of nature’s head
could be more damaging than this thing called
Recession. Great men of wisdom have
defined this wretched phrase, and, after adjusting 160
figures, declare that we’re inevitably
headed towards that phase. But, I ask you, can
we have a recession with so much
inflation, huh? Now, the President’s Phases,
the fourth of which we’re in, have indeed helped 165
this economy. It’s slowed it down quite
nicely. Of course, I admit that things have
not gone so well, but without these Wage and
Price Controls, we’d be in a mess indeed.
It’s oft been said that many things this man’s 170
administration has done are to blame
for unemployment, but I insist that
no man shall be unemployed unless he’s
some sort of slob, save for those sidelined by
this energy crisis. But once my 175
comrade Simon has relieved us of this
source, we’ll be back to normal. And do not
fear. One year ago the power
of the dollar abroad was sinking fast, but it’s
recovered and I can safely say that 180
this economy is as sound as a dollar!
[Exit Herbert Stein.]
Richard. Next question. The lady over there.
8th Reporter.I should like to ask you about your taxes?
Richard. My personal taxes are my personal
problems. But, as the matter has been brought out, 185
I shall lay my cards out on the table.
First, I have given my tax papers to
both the IRS and a congressional
Joint Committee. I will abide by their
decisions. Yes, it is true that I paid 190
very small amounts in two years, but this
was because I made a donation of
my Vice-Presidential papers, which was,
at that time, a legal deduction, to
the National Archives. But I must 195
admit it was close to the time of the
change in law. Unfortunately my
tax lawyer has lost the original
deed. But its duplicate is dated well
within the legal time. I trust all my 200
financial doings to my consultants
and go by their advice and I have no
real say in determining how much I owe.
9th Reporter.Mr. President! Mr. President!
Richard. Ah, you. 205
9th Reporter.Is. J. Archibald Cox doing his job?
Richard. Mr. Cox, not to be confused with my
daughter’s husband, is performing his duties
as Special Watergate Prosecutor
most forwardly. In fact, he is so 210
enthusiastic at getting and
presenting his evidence that he’s asked
for many of my personal papers.
Now, is that right? I’ve the Executive
Privilege, so I don’t think I’ll give over 215
to a grand jury my private papers.
But, Mr. Cox is doing an admirable
job, ‘though I must restrain some of his enthusiasm.
10th Reporter.Mr. President! Mr. President!
Richard. Yes, ma’am. 220
10th Reporter.Were you aware that the Committee to
Re-elect the President was
doing so many naughty things?
Richard. Of course not!
10th Reporter.But they were working for you. 225
Richard. Well, not really. I let them do their own thing.
10th Reporter.But, well, they helped you to be re-elected.
Don’t you feel guilty about your aides doing
all these ridiculous and illegal
shenanigans? 230
Richard. I must admit I’m terribly embarrassed
that my friends were so corrupt. But I had
no control over them. Next question.
The big man over there.
11th Reporter.Let’s forget your domestic problems. 235
Richard. [Aside.]
A good idea!
11th Reporter.How fares our relationship with Russia
and the People’s Republic of China?
Richard. Quite well. As you know I’m the first
President to visit both China and 240
Russia in the very same year. Yes, we’re
beginning to accept our communist
friends. We must trust them. Look at my foreign
record. First, I’ve given an end to that
horrid War in Viet Nam. Then I’ve made 245
overtures to Communist China.
[Enter Henry Kissinger.]
I’ve sent them ping-pong players and we got
panda bears. We have now an understanding
with our former enemies. And look at this,
Hank Kissinger, my dear friend and colleague, 250
has won the Noble Prize for Peace in the
Middle East. Tell us about, it Hank.
Kissinger. I am happy to have brought together
those warring peoples.
11th Reporter.What, chiefly, interests you about the Mid-East? 255
Kissinger. The broads.
11th Reporter.Huh?
Kissinger. No, really, I am very much concerned
about the Arab oil embargo.
As you know, this has created a severe 260
hardship and imposed grave economic
repercussions. However, we have stopped
the fighting and are working
on the oil problem now.
[Exit Henry Kissinger.]

12th Reporter.Mr. President, why did you install 265
tape recording machines in your office?
Richard. For historic purposes. For all
posterity to know exactly how
the important decisions of my
administration were made. 270
12th Reporter.Do any of the tapes contain any
conversations that are related to Watergate?
Richard. Why, yes they do. And I can say with perfect
candor that they show me innocent
beyond a shadow of a doubt. 275
12th Reporter.But, how do we know?
Richard. Because I told you so. Don’t you believe
me? As much as I’d like to, I can’t
release the tapes because they contain
many matters of National 280
Security and would compromise the
confidentiality of my
conversations. Now, as you know, Mr. Cox,
not my daughter’s husband,-
and the Senate Watergate Committee have 285
subpoenaed my tapes. I’ll not give them up!
12th Reporter.What if the courts order you to?
Richard. I’ll burn that bridge if I come to it.
12th Reporter.But, they’ll prove once and for all your guilt or innocence.
Richard. I’m innocent! 290
12th Reporter.But there is no way for us to know
unless we hear the tapes and judge for ourselves.
Richard. I told you, I’m innocent! Now, sit down! Next question!
The man with the blue bow tie.
13th Reporter.Why hasn’t the Vice President been his 295
usual vociferous self?
Richard. I’ll let the man speak for himself.

Agnew. I’ve made my point on a number of
occasions. I shan’t want to run my ideas
into the ground. And besides, I’m much 300
preoccupied by other business
to be making much in the way of
attacks on the effetist snobs and liberal
press. I’ve done much traveling in the
President’s name. Thank you. 305
[All rise. Fanfare, “Hail to the Chief”, etc.]
[Exeunt Richard and Secret Service Agents.]
[Exeunt Agnew, Pat, Julie, Tricia, Edward Cox, David Eisenhower, Secret Service Agents and attendants.]
[Exeunt Ziegler, Members of the Press, Demonstrators, Supporters, and Crowds.]
[Exeunt Secret Service Agents.]

Monday, January 03, 2011

Scene V. Washington, D.C. a courtroom.

[Enter Judge Sirrica, divers Bailiffs, clerks, and officers of the court.]
Sirrica. What business have we today?
1st Bailiff. Many affairs, your honor, some speedings,
a divorce, two MIPs, and one tax evasion.
[Enter Spiro Agnew, lawyers, and divers crowds.]
Sirrica. Very good. And what’s the first case?
1st Bailiff. The tax evasion. 5
2nd Bailiff. Hear ye, hear ye. This court’s in order.
The State versus Spiro T. Agnew.
Sirrica. Approach the bench, Mr. Agnew.
[He reads.]
“The defendant is charged here with three counts
of tax evasion. One, willfully and 10
knowingly withholding information
from an authorized person. Two, giving
false information on tax documents.
Three, conspiracy to keep these matters
from the proper authorities.” 15
How do you plead?
Agnew. Nolo Contendre, your honor.
Your honor, if it please the Court, I would
like to read a statement.
[He reads.]
In recent days many men have made such 20
allegations intent to injure me.
Well meant men, having snooped around, uncovered
the ambiguities that any life
may hide. These men, their fantasies in flight,
discount the good to magnify the ill. 25
So scandal sells the daily news.
What course can honest politicians choose?
Reprimanded by the barons of the
newsprint, we are ready blame for acts,
though not of our design nor need nor want, 30
that soon enough become our own solemn
responsibility. And so it was
in Maryland, as Governor having been.
Of all these fancied charges brought,
collecting bribes et cetera, I am guilty not. 35
I did not contemplate these deeds so charged.
However, as elected officials, we have,
a duty to remain far above all
scandalous maters. For if we are so
minutely connected with alleged 40
deeds, we’re stained beyond all recall. It’s then
that the public trust in us is so
diminished, we are forced to…
concede our elected positions.
[Exit Agnew.]
Sirrica. The man is fined ten thousand dollars. Next case. 45
[Exeunt lawyers.]
2nd Bailiff. ‘Tis time for a recess, your honor.
Sirrica. Oh, my, a fine and busy morning this has been!
Will these tiresome matters never come to an end?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Scene I. Washington, D.C. The White House.

[Enter Archibald Cox , a Prosecutor.]
Cox. Ah, here’s the place I seek. Sixteen Hundred
Pennsylvania Avenue. I wonder
if he’s at home? Let’s see. I’ll say to him,
“Here, sir, I’ve something for you.” And then hand
him the Subpoena. Yes, that will do it. 5
Then he’ll have to deliver those papers
and all his private tapes.
[He knocks.]
Ahoy! Any one at home?
Attendant. [From within.]
Who is it?
Cox. ‘Tis I, Cox. 10
Attendant. [From within.]
Oh, yes, sir. I’ll inform the President
directly. But where is Tricia?
Cox. Tricia? I know of no one by that name.
Oh, well, ‘tis now a truly historical
moment. When that man receives this paper 15
history will have been accomplished.
For no President in all the long years
of this Republic has ever been made
to lend his private papers for the use
of the Courts. But now, as I present my 20
case to the Grand Jury, to insure that
I’ve all the evidence, I need those tapes.
Ah, how fortunate that our President
had such a turn of mind to secretly
install recording machines. Now all the 25
conversations that have ever occurred
involving these illegal Watergate
matters are preserved as they actually
happened. The facts, the truth, will now be known.
I can bring indictments against these men, 30
these guilty parties. I’m so glad I am
about to collect these records and tapes.
[Enter Richard and Secret Service Agents.]
Richard. Edward, why do you stand outside. Have you
lost your key, Edward? Huh, what’s this
tomfoolery? You aren’t my daughter’s husband. 35
Who’s this impostor who calls himself Cox?
Cox. That’s my name, sir, Archibald Cox, Special
Prosecutor, who was assigned by you
to leave these matters to the Courts. Here, sir.
Richard. What’s that paper? 40
Cox. Take it. It has your name on it.
Richard. What is it?
Cox. Here. It won’t bite.
Richard. Not literally. Again, I say, what is it?
Cox. Only a Subpoena. Take it. 45
Richard. Heaven’s no. I never touch the stuff.
Cox. Come, now, you’ve charged me with dealing justice
to all those who committed illegal
acts at Watergate. I need all your tapes.
Richard. No! I stand firm. My tapes are my tapes. 50
I charged you with prosecuting the guilty.
Leave me out of it. Besides, I have
the Executive Privilege.
Cox. I must have the tapes.
Richard. You are going too far, Cox. Stop, or you 55
will have trouble.
Cox. I need the tapes to prosecute. Give them here.
Richard. I need a phone. Get me the Attorney General.
[Exit Secret Service Agent.]
Mr. Richardson will cook your goose.
[Re-enter Secret Service Agent, with phone.]
Hello, Richardson, this is Richard. 60
This Cox fellow is getting arrogant.
He wants my tapes. Fire him, Richardson. What!
We’ll the same to you, too. And besides,
you’re fired! Hah, I’ll not have my Cabinet
Members defy me. Hello, Deputy 65
Attorney General, I mean Mr.
Attorney General. That’s right. Fire this
man Cox. Your former boss would not, which is
why you are now one of my Cabinet.
What! You, too! Well, quit, then. See if I care. 70
Who’s third in line? O.K. I remember.
Hello? Fire Cox. Here, Cox. It’s for you.
Cox. Yes, sir. Hello? Yes, sir. I understand.
Alas, I am fired. You will not get away
with this, Mr. President. 75
[Exit Cox.]
Richard. I can’t have these inferiors telling the
President what to do. Let’s return
to more important business.
[All re-enter the White House.]
[Enter Arab Ambassadors.]
Well, I’m glad you boys have decided
to end your embargo. 80
1st Ambass A thousand pardons, O Humble One,
But it is most unfortunate that we
deprived your illustrious nation
of its needed oil supplies.
2nd Ambass But, O Favored Host, a War is a War 85
and we were forced to take most drastic
measures. But, as the camel must always
come eventually to water,
so must we eventually end our embargo.
Richard. [Aside.]
With a hundred percent increase in price.- 90
Well, thank you, gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure.
Ambassadors. May a hundred canaries brighten your life always.
[Exeunt Ambassadors.]
Richard. That’s one problem solved.
[Enter Carl Albert, Speaker of the House of Representatives.]
Hello, Carl. What brings a member of the
loyal opposition to this lonely spot? 95
Albert. ‘Tis provided by the laws of this land
that, should anything happen to you, then
I’ll be President. I don’t want the job.
According to the Constitution, since we’ve
no Vice-President, you must appoint 100
one, to be confirmed by Congress.
Otherwise, I’ll go on as next
in the line of succession.
Richard. Do not worry, Carl. I doubt if anything
will happen to me! 105
Albert. I, too, sir, doubt if any physical
harm shall befall you, but sir, there is talk
that, because of all your administration’s
troubles, you’ll resign.
Richard. I’ll stick it out. I’m not the guy to quit. 110
Albert. And if you don’t resign, you’ll be impeached.
Richard. A ridiculous suggestion.
Albert. Not so, sir. For many years liberal
Democrats have disliked you, and now they
have so many acts to complain about. 115
And their solution is to impeach you.
Richard. I’ll admit my term in office has not
brought pleasant things, but, don’t believe for one
minute that anybody else could have
done a better job. Look at Rising Prices, 120
the Energy Shortage, Kidnappings,
Terror, World Conflict, the Wheat Deal, all these
things would have happened, no matter who’s
in Office. And since fortune deems me
to be that person, I must suffer the blame. 125
I’ll not give up. I’ll keep fighting against
all this adversity. I’ve done nothing
illegal, and all the discontent
that sweeps this land is not the fault, nor
under the control, of any mortal man. 130
I can’t be impeached.
Albert. A priest has already introduced
a bill for your impeachment. Many men
take this talk seriously. The handling
of the Cox affair has not helped. 135
Richard. ‘Twas my decision. I’ll stand by it.
However, Leon Jaworski, who will be
the next Special Prosecutor, will not
be under my control, which should satisfy
my critics. But we do need a Vice President, 140
a man of my own Party. I’ve thought long
about it, but first tell me who your choice would be?
Albert. I’m glad you ask, for I am most anxious
for you to name a Vice President.
And so I’ve brought him here for you to meet. 145
[Enter Gerald Ford.]
Richard. Why, my choice, exactly! Mr. Ford,
would you like to be Vice President?
Ford. Why, yes, I would.
Richard. Is he acceptable to the Democrats?
Albert. By all means. 150
Richard. Why, then, Mr. Ford, you’re going to be Vice President.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Scene II. Washington, D.C. a news room.

[Enter Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor.]
Chancellor. They say it’ll be a Constitutional
confrontation unprecedented.
Cronkite. ‘Twill be interesting, no doubt. But, here it is.
The courts have ordered him to turn over the tapes.
Chancellor. I do not understand the man. He has 5
complied quite completely in giving to
the Grand Jury his notes, schedules, and
even some tapes. Yet, he withholds the most
important conversations.
Cronkite. No wonder his popularity slips. 10
Dr. Gallup’s poll is at an all time
low. I say the man’s in trouble.
[Enter Howard K. Smith.]
Smith. Oh, you won’t believe this!
Cronkite. I’m all worn out from surprises. I’ll believe it.
Smith. This is incredible. One of the tapes 15
that Nixon had already turned over,
one that Judge Sirrica was reviewing,
to see if any parts were not meant for
the Grand Jury to hear, well, when it got
to the most important part of the 20
conversation, the tape started buzzing.
And for eighteen minutes, not one word
was heard. The tape, the most important part, wiped out.
Chancellor. I smell a fish.
Cronkite. ‘Tis not Kosher. This smacks of wrong doing. 25
This, indeed, is Obstruction of Justice.
[Enter Eric Severied.]
It’ll be the last straw.
Severied. You’re right on that. The House Judiciary
Committee has just been charged to look into
the possible impeachment of 30
the President. A momentous decision.
Cronkite. Indeed.
[Enter Rosemary Woods.]
Rosemary. I confess. I did it. I erased the tape.
Cronkite. What, ho?
Chancellor. Slow down, dear lady. Who are you? 35
And why do you confess to so heinous a crime?
Rosemary. I am Rosemary Woods, Secretary
to the President. And I come forward
to clear up this mess. I erased the tape,
accidentally, by holding down 40
the pedal, unconsciously, whilst I
answered the phone.
Smith. A plausible story.
[Enter Experts to the Courts.]
1st Expert. ‘Tis a lie. We’ve examined the tapes and
find that her story holds no water. 45
The tape was erased by repeated
attempts at various times.
[Enter Experts to the President.]
2nd Expert. ‘Tis a lie. We disagree. As hired
by the President to check on these
other experts, we find that it is 50
highly likely that it was
an equipment malfunction.
Cronkite. The times we live in are complicated
beyond recall. It is us, in the press,
who must sort through all this and bring out 55
the truth. But what are we to do when two
groups, both with experts, come forth with two sets
of information. Which is true and which
is false? As discriminating men of
the press, we must support one view or the 60
other. For one is true; the other false.
But mark my words, whichever side we choose,
those opposed will shout, “Bias!” I shake my head,
these times are too confusing for me.