Political Discourse

A Case Study of the Watergate Affair

Title Details

Pages: 186

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 06/01/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3627-5

List Price: $25.95

Political Discourse

A Case Study of the Watergate Affair

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  • Description
  • Reviews

Watergate has already told us much about the political dynamics of the presidency. In Political Discourse, L. H. LaRue shows that it can also reveal much about Congress, the men and women we elect to be our collective voice in Washington. Retracing the debates in the House Judiciary Committee as it voted on the articles of impeachment, LaRue shows that our representatives—all of them lawyers—chose to center their discussions largely on the president’s violation of the law.

Yet, LaRue suggests, far greater matters than simple lawlessness were at stake. By choosing to organize their discussions predominantly around the concept of “rule of law,” our representatives sidestepped the crucial issues of government ethics, the public trust, and democracy itself that Watergate raised. In this way, they failed in their role as representatives and misstated the deepest concerns of their constituents. LaRue proposes that breach of trust, not rule of law, should have been the focus of the discussions. Such a metaphor would have been less legalistic, closer to most Americans’ true concerns. It would have created a more wide-ranging debate that better encompassed the crucial issues that surrounded Watergate—one that spoke for our determination as a people to resist tyrants who threaten our democracy.

Sheds new light on what exactly was being said . . . Fascinating addition to the literature of political rhetoric.

Political Science Quarterly

LaRue offers a distinctive and individual treatment of the Watergate impeachment proceedings.


About the Author/Editor

L. H. LaRUE is Class of 1958 Alumni Professor of Law Emeritus, Washington and Lee University. He is the author or editor of numerous books including A Student’s Guide to the Study of Law: An Introduction, Rewriting the History of the Judiciary Act of 1787, andConstitutional Law as Fiction.