Suppressed at the rumor stage, there've been lingering inklings of the traitorous dealings of both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, both of whom were said to have done harm to the US in order to further their presidential aspirations. In the case of Nixon, it was sabotaging peace talks that would have ended the Vietnam War during Johnson's term. Saint Ronnie played a similar game when it came to negotiations to release the Iran hostages before the election. The coziness between Reagan and Khomeni continued, leading to the Iran Contra affair. Watergate, the story goes, was more about Nixon trying to retrieve incriminating documents that showed his "treason," as Johnson called it, regarding Vietnam.
Well, it turns out there's new evidence in both cases. It's detailed in a pretty stunning article, here.
Indeed, newly disclosed documents have put old evidence into a sharply different light and suggest that history has substantially miswritten the two scandals by failing to understand that they actually were sequels to earlier scandals that were far worse. Watergate and Iran-Contra were, in part at least, extensions of the original crimes, which involved dirty dealings to secure the immense power of the presidency.
The importance, among other things, is the implication that there's a default mode among Washington elite and "journalists" to maintain conventional thinking about these matters. Too many people staked out the wrong territory, and don't want to be disgraced. And so it goes: whether it's the falsehoods that led us to war with Iraq, or the failure to prosecute the promulgators of torture, the maintenance of power supercedes the truth. And it's all excused because revelations of political venality would be too "difficult" for the American people to handle. (Interestingly, the article describes the decision by LBJ to withhold the damning documentation of Nixon's interference with the peace process, possibly for that reason.)
Today's Republicans, with their ahistorical reverence of Reagan, will do what they always do with troublesome facts: ignore them. But the article is a fascinating read. We might also consider it in light of the Obama's decision not to pursue high-level war criminals, vis a vis torture.