Rav Avigdor Miller on Presidential Scandals



How should an Orthodox Jew view the current Watergate scandal involving the President?


He’s asking what we should think about the Watergate business. The Watergate scandal deserves the name scandal only because of the scandalous behavior of the Ervin Commission that is investigating the President. It’s important for us to know that what is taking place now is not because of Nixon; it’s not even because of the Republican Elections Committee. It has nothing to do with that. If anybody thinks that’s the reason, he’s making a very big mistake.

I’ll tell you what’s really doing. America today is in the throes of a great upheaval, a great unrest. When you hear that college students set fire to college buildings, when you read of an institute in New York City – it’s supposed to be a college – where pornography is the chief course, when you hear of unchecked crime flooding a whole country, when you see irresponsibility and wickedness everywhere, then you have to know that the man who is elected President is not going to be spared the effects of this. It’s in the air. Just like the students are raging against what they call the establishment and trying to stage revolts; revolution is in the air.

Now, Nixon made only one mistake. And that was when he publicly espoused the cause of conservatism. That’s what made him hated by all the pseudo liberals. Of course, the Democrats, the politicians, they have something else in mind. They were badly trounced in the election and therefore they are preparing now for the next election. All this is election propaganda for the next time. The more they can lambast the Republican administration, the more they’re going to have propaganda for their side. But the pseudo liberals, they jumped in on this for a different reason; it’s because they hate anybody who speaks against permissiveness.

Now I’ll tell you a little anecdote. I’ll be very careful so that you shouldn’t be able to identify it. Not long ago there was a President of the United States who lived in honor and he died in honor; but it’s well known that he had a bagman, a Jew. If you wanted to become friendly with the President, you had to see his Jewish friend. Of course, the President’s reputation was pure. He was lily white. He never touched any money – because he didn’t have to.

So don’t fool yourselves – everybody knows that there’s graft in every administration. The difference now is this. They weren’t investigated because up until now the government had authority. Even police once had authority. When I was a boy, I walked through black neighborhoods at night. There was no question about it because everybody was afraid of the policeman. And there was only one policeman! And he didn’t have any patrol cars; he didn’t have any walkie-talkies either. All he had just was a billy club. And he knew that if he used it there wouldn’t be any civilian review board. And therefore one policeman on foot was enough to intimidate a big neighborhood. They knew that if anybody did something wrong, they’d be brought to justice. But today a policeman is afraid. The policemen are afraid.

Now, there was a time when people were afraid of the government. You couldn’t pry too much into a government because you could end being railroaded to Alcatraz. They took you to Alcatraz. But the government has lost so much power. Not like they say today that the President is taking power. The whole thing is just the opposite! He’s stripped of all power now. Now he’s mamash like a little baby. He has to surrender tapes. He has no secrets. Whatever he says to foreign potentates he has to reveal to his political enemies. It’s ridiculous today.

So poor Agnew (Spiro Agnew, Vice-President under Richard Nixon). Agnew is a better American than all his detractors are. There’s no question that Agnew is a good American. What did Agnew do? Agnew took. When he gave out contracts, the people were expected to give donations to the election campaign. Now this has been done for time immemorial in this country but for Agnew it was considered a great crime and he was knocked down.

On Nixon they didn’t pin anything yet, but he’s guilty before he says anything. Now why is he guilty? Just because it’s a time of wickedness. The country today is in the hands of vandals. They tear down everything including all the standards of decency in human conduct; and therefore we’re not surprised.

But let me tell you my friends that it’s not right for us to keep quiet. We Jews, we have to have some sense of fairness. Is it so quickly that we forget that Nixon was a friend of the State of Israel? He stuck his neck out. Never mind when people tell you he did it because it paid for him to do it. Jews don’t talk that way. If someone did something which was ostensibly a favor to us then we are for him with all our hearts.

Why shouldn’t each one of us write letters? I wrote my letters. I wrote two letters just before yesterday, four letters the week before last. We should write letters. First of all, drop a line to President Nixon. You don’t have to be a literary genius. Say, “We are for you,” and sign your name. “We are with you,” and sign your name. “We back you.” That’s all. He should get tons of letters from Jews. And so what happens instead? Instead we have Jews like Bertram Podell, a big ‘chacham.’ He wants to impeach President Nixon. Or Elizabeth Holtzman, a big kup-mentsch. The biggest tragedy is that these Jews were elected to public office.

I wrote a letter to Podell so he answered me. He said, “A friend of Israel?” He said there are other friends of Israel besides Nixon. He said, “If we will have Ford, Ford is also a friend of Israel.” You hear that answer?! That’s how to be good with a friend?! You say you can get somebody else who is also a friend?! That’s a Jew?! Write them letters! And you should write letters also to Elizabeth Holtzman and to Bella Abzug urging them to drop dead.

Now, if you’ve got a pencil, take down the following address and send in some money. I’m telling you it’s a kosher donation. Fairness to the Presidency. Again, I’ll say it slowly: Fairness to the Presidency c/o United National Bank, Norton, Massachusetts 02766. I sent in mine already. That’s why my name was in the New York Times yesterday in the list of sponsors. Again, Fairness to the Presidency c/o United National Bank, Norton, Massachusetts 02766.

Plus don’t forget to send the letters. And put a whack into the letters. Also you can write to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. We need letters. Somebody has to be sane.

Am I saying Nixon is lily white? I’m not interested! I’m a friend of his. The truth is he’s a very good President. You have to know that Lincoln was supposed to be impeached too. There was a big movement afoot to impeach President Lincoln. What happened from all this impeachment propaganda? Finally some hothead bought a gun and shot Lincoln. And that’s exactly what they want to happen now.

And so the whole Watergate business is nothing but a symptom of the wickedness of the country today and I say we have to bow our heads in shame that there are Jews who have the temerity and the ingratitude to speak up against the President. Havei mispallel beshlomo shel malchus – we have to pray for the peace of the government and this President is a really good President. He’s the one who had the courage to try to stem the tide of vandalism and crime.

Also he’s trying to put a stop to all this welfare spending. The silliest thing is welfare. What does welfare spending mean? It means you’re inviting to the big cities all the poor. Welfare is an incentive for them to come and settle in your cities; so all the poor come and settle in your cities and now they have the votes and you have to pay taxes and they can commit all crimes and you have nothing to say on it because they’re the majority. They drive you out of the city eventually.

All of these things are being done by the pseudo liberals. They’re our enemies because they are enemies of the country. And therefore we have to speak up as much as we can. And the little that we do, Hakodosh Boruch Hu will give us success.

Now I’d like to speak more on the subject but I want to move on to the next question.

TAPE # 36 (1973)