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Presidential Scandal

May 2024
1min read

Most Overrated Presidential Scandal:

With a nod to Whitewater, I think it must be Sherman Adams and the vicuña coat. I have no doubt that the calls by “the” assistant to the President to the Federal Trade Commission in 1958 were favors for an old friend, Bernard Goldfine, but you can’t buy the Executive branch for a coat—though, as I recall, Adams got a Persian rug too. (Harry Vaughan and the deep freezers in 1949 are right up there.)

Most Underrated Presidential Scandal:

That, I think, was Iran-contra. It was just too complicated to understand, too diffuse to explain or unravel. But I-C was a peek into the secret subgovernment of the Cold War. The U.S. government subofficially cultivated and supported simple-minded patriots and criminals, and torture, terrorism, and drugs all over the world. That’s the one that got away.

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