1. How is the Watergate scandal relative to today?
Yes, it is relative today. Many of the current scandals have the word “gate” attached to them: for example, “Billygate”, “Whitewatergate”. People have become more cynical of the politicians since then. Congressman were not as widely covered by the media before this. Coverage is much more aggressive now. Recording of conversations that was prevalent then has become almost extinct. Even note taking is more restricted. Many laws were passed like the Freedom of Information Act which have provided the public with access to government records and provided greater accountability.
2. Was Nixon’s involvement solely an ethical issue or was there a constitutional basis for the possible impeachment process?
There was a constitutional basis for the impeachment process. Article II, Section 4, which indicates the grounds for impeachment: "the President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Nixon was charged with bribery, and his other “high crimes and misdemeanors” according to the articles of impeachment are illegal wiretapping, misuse of the CIA, perjury, bribery, obstruction of justice, and other abuses of executive power.
3. Does the president have an obligation to live a more moral and ethical lifestyle as president or should they be allowed the same privacy of all citizens?
Yes, the president should live a more moral and ethical lifestyle as he is the head of the most powerful nation in the world. They have such immense influence and authority that an immoral person could abuse his position quite easily. The president should be of high ethical standards to avoid getting caught up in all the power and influence. As they say, “power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
4. Do you think that impeachment is strong enough to prevent American presidents from misusing their power? Why or why not?
Yes, it is strong enough. Historically, most presidents have maintained a high enough level of behavior to avoid impeachment. Out of the three presidential impeachments, it can be argued all were politically motivated (except for Nixon’s). In our country’s long history, this is enough proof that despite all their shortcomings, the vast majority of presidents have tried to toe the line and keep their behavior in check.