Watergate conspiracy theories, general questions

I don’t know much about the Watergate scandal, but I’ve now done a tiny bit of reading (the Washington Post has a collection of the stories as written) and I watched “All the President’s Men” this weekend. While looking for a general book about it, I ran across lots that seemed to be suggesting that it was all a big conspiracy against Nixon—John Dean is a popular suggestion for the ringleader—and that the standard narrative is all wrong. One book had a foreward by someone claiming it was all the CIA’s fault. When I got to the end of the foreward, I discovered it was written by Roger Stone. Yep, it was the Deep State going after Nixon.

So, is there any validity to any of these arguments? I know my knowledge is incomplete, but is this an area where legitimate scholars think the popular understanding is wrong? Or maybe that there are important nuances?

Not a chance in hell. It’s all on tape. Drop it, and study something more useful, like lint.

Thanks, but studying history is very useful.

+1. No one who lived through it could have any doubt. Read the newspapers of the time. I assume they are available on the internet, a lot easier than microfilm.

That stuff you’re finding isn’t history, it’s batcrap conspiracy nonsense.

It was a “third rate burglary” by a group of third rate wannabe spies. If Nixon’s re-election committee had given them up and taken their lumps, it would have ended right there. Instead, they tried to cover it up (leading to money being spread around - in large enough sums to be traced) and Nixon got involved and you know the rest.

The truth about history is that momentous events often happen for stupid reasons. For example, World War I.

To clarify, since I see that my OP was unclear, I am planning to read further on Watergate. I don’t want to waste my time on the Roger Stones of the world and I don’t want to reject real scholarship just because it contradicts what I think I know.

The Watergate scandal is exceptionally well documented, largely because all of the documentation happened in the Washington Post and in the courts. Anything written that contradicts those sources is nonsense. There was a conspiracy, but it wasn’t to depose Nixon. It was to cover up a crime that didn’t make any sense to begin with, as there was absolutely zero chance that McGovern was going to beat Nixon in the general election.

History is not related to the things you’re talking about here.

Then study the orthodox accounts of Watergate, and then stop. There is nothing to learn from “alternative” sources on this one.

If there was a conspiracy against Nixon then Nixon himself was part of it. That was the point of the tapes; they’re recordings of Nixon personally organizing the cover-up.

MHO, the best book on Watergate and the culture that spawned it. The book goes back to the beginning of Nixon’s political career under the tutelage of Murray Chotiner, which framed every campaign he ran; it also details the origins of the Plumbers and their shenanigans, including the opéra bouffe burglary of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. And since it’s written with consideration for a non-US audience, its attention to detail is noteworthy.

Its biggest drawback is that it ends when the Senate Select Committee recessed in 1973, but by that point it’s given you an insight into the morass that’s covered by the umbrella term “Watergate” than anything else I’ve seen.

(I’ve seen a couple of links that offer the book in .pdf form as a download, but getting it requires opening a “free” account and I tend to shy away from such requirements. YMMV.)

The thing about conspiracy theories is, they are not real scholarship. None of them. No, not that one either. Once you start with conspiracy theories, you are not just in danger of slipping into la-la land - you are there already. Getting into conspiracy theories without being a nutter yourself is a popular fantasy that never works out in real life.

Conspiracy theory is just a term used to stop you talking about something. Watergate itself was originally a conspiracy theory. The Trump collusion narrative is a conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory is something that challenges what you already believe. Some have plenty of evidence to support them, like the October Surprise or CIA involvement in the drug trade. Some don’t. Roger Stone is something of an expert on conspiracies, having been involved in several since his involvement with CREEP at the time of Watergate, but I wouldn’t trust anything he says on any subject whatsoever.

A CT is debunked. Something like Trump collusion with Russia has not been debunked, is being investigated and will might have a chance of finding out what happened.

Regarding Watergate, we know what happened. Anything that contradicts the facts is just nutjob stuff.

I don’t disagree with you and I’m not interested in things that contradict the facts. But telling someone who isn’t particularly aware of the facts that is not useful. Regarding Watergate, you may know what happened, but I wasn’t assuming I did. I’ve never studied Watergate, never had a class that even touched on it, so my knowledge of it is built on random shit from popular culture. I was not assuming my knowledge, built on random shit from popular culture, was 100% factual.

And the problem I was running into was picking up a book that seemed like it was just going to be a simplistic-but-accurate account (it’s a book for “young readers,” so I picked it up to have the basic plotlines in my head), then having that book have a foreward in its revised edition by someone like Roger Stone. The publishers chose to have someone trash their revised edition in the foreward. So that made me wonder what was up with the state of Watergate scholarship right now, that someone would have Roger Stone talk about CIA conspiracies in the foreward of a young readers’ account of Watergate.

The first thing to understand is that ‘Watergate’ is about a whole lot more than the actual break-in,

They wanted to pick the candidate they would have to run against, and once they had CREEP didn’t stop the ‘rat fucking’.

(There’s a, all too, brief scene in AtPM where WoodStein realize that they need research past the current crime to understand the totality of the criminality. See, in particular,: The Canuck Letter and Donald Segretti.)

CMC fnord!

My favorite Watergate theory was that it was all organized by Dean. . . to retrieve info that showed that wife Mo Dean was part of a call girl ring.

Are you familiar with the term “equivocation?” It’s when people reference a word or term in one context, using a particular definition; and then switch it to a different context using a different definition.

This is what you are doing.

A conspiracy theory is a term that clearly means an effort involving the misrepresentation of events in order to advance a particular agenda. Conspiracy theories include the faking of the moon landing, that the CIA killed Kennedy, etc.

On the other hand, theories about conspiracies are not the same. Obviously conspiracies exist, and exploring the evidence whether various people are colluding is a reasonable thing to do. But that does not mean that an investigation into a criminal matter has the same standing as fabricating events, or explanations of events.