Matthews: Watergate anniversary recalls corruption still seen in 2012

Updated
 

Let me finish tonight with this backwash of Watergate.

We thought, those of us who lived through this scandal, that it was about something bigger than a break in, of a bugging of one side by the other. We thought and were told that it was about corruption — the corruption that comes when people in high office go off the deep end, when they use their positions to do what they want, to act like they are above the law that governs the rest of us.

We thought, too, that money was at the root of the corruption. Politicians with unlimited trunks of hidden money, unreported and unknown except by a few, could use that money to do just about anything they wanted.  

“We could get the money.” That’s what President Nixon said when he was told the Watergate burglars were asking for money — money to keep them aboard the operation, to keep them from jumping ship and spilling the beans to federal prosecutors. They were asking for “hush money,” to use a term we all came to know so well.

Well, now, four decades from the night of Watergate — the exact anniversary of the break-in is this Sunday — we see ourselves surrounded by unlimited money in politics. Thanks to the unlimited money pouring into the presidential campaigns, we see ourselves in the same world of powerful people giving overpowering amounts of money to politicians. We see billionaires giving tens of millions of dollars, money that means little to them but a great deal to the politicians.

What do they want for this money? Access? Support for their causes? They are paying to get someone elected. Why are they paying to get that person elected? It’s a question we have to ask again and again. 

“We could get the money.” It’s not something I like the sound of. 

Matthews: Watergate anniversary recalls corruption still seen in 2012

Updated