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Source:  The New York Times

The word “bombshell” pops up a lot in Charles Ferguson’s “Watergate.”

From the summer of 1972, when five men were arrested breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee in Washington until President Richard Nixon’s resignation two years later, the public was confronted with a barrage of shocking revelations.

The morning papers and the evening news brought fresh reports of wrongdoing at the highest levels of government, unearthed by congressional committees, a federal grand jury, and the diggings of journalists.

Before the nation’s eyes, a “third-rate burglary” blossomed into a constitutional crisis.

Ferguson has given his film the subtitle “Or: How We Learned to Stop an Out-of-Control President.” In case the implications of the lesson weren’t clear, he ends with George Santayana’s well-worn aphorism about those who don’t study the past being doomed to repeat it.

Whether we’re living through a sequel to Watergate — or whether out-of-control presidents after Nixon might have learned to get away with their own crimes — is in some ways an idle question.

History rarely repeats itself exactly. The lessons of “Watergate” have to do with the fragility and resilience of democratic institutions, and with the stark ethical challenges that sometimes arise in political life.

“Watergate” is playing in theaters in Los Angeles and New York before airing November 2 – 4 on the History Channel.

Read the story at The New York Times. 

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