PUBLIC ETHICS WARRIORS
The 1968 presidential election victory of Richard Nixon marked a turning point in the public integrity war. Nixon believed his critics would do anything in their power to destroy him. Although Nixon's obsession with his political enemies contributed greatly to the evolution of the Watergate scandal, other forces and trends played an equally significant role in fueling a major escalation of the public integrity war.
Critics of the regulatory process, individuals with business backgrounds attempting to gain acceptance in government, an explosion in media reporting and investigations of official misconduct by public officials and the increasing power of the public ethics bureaucracy all made a significant contribution to turning the public integrity war into a conflagration. The flames engulfed every part of the nation's political system. Instead of bringing victory to either the new progressives or movement conservatives, this intensification of the public integrity war hostilities simply convinced more and more Americans that the traditional political system had irrevocably broken down.