From Watergate to Whitewater: The Public Integrity War

From Watergate to Whitewater: The Public Integrity War

From Watergate to Whitewater: The Public Integrity War

From Watergate to Whitewater: The Public Integrity War

Synopsis

The two decades since the Watergate scandal have seen an unprecedented focus on ethics in government. The public integrity scandals of the Clinton administration have, once again, focused national attention on ethics in Washington. This work addresses this very topical subject and the authors come to some unusual conclusions. Tracing the origins of the modern public integrity war back to the very birth of the nation, the authors explain how conservatives and progressives have used allegations of unethical conduct in an effort to persuade the American public to accept their respective visions for American society. A cynical public, anesthetized to the distinction between actual wrongdoing and partisan attack, follows ideology and self-interest rather than character, allowing politicians to get away with even the most egregious conduct.

Excerpt

The public, in the years following the Watergate scandal, has grown increasingly cynical about the integrity of public officials and the ability of government to solve difficult local, state and national problems. Despite great optimism that Watergate would mark the beginning of a new era of integrity in government, the opposite has occurred. Watergate, instead, ushered in an era of unprecedented public integrity carnage.

The carnage had little to do with legitimate concern over the condition of public service ethics. It had much more to do with the trend in American politics that saw movement conservatives and new progressives battle over the role of government in American society. Movement conservatives fought to dismantle the administrative state. New progressives struggled to preserve the responsibility of government for dealing with a vast array of problems facing American society.

This book argues that the public integrity war has made it next to impossible for the public and the media to distinguish between legitimate character issues and those motivated by ideology. Furthermore, the public integrity war will likely continue as long as movement conservatives and new progressives continue their struggle to convince the majority of the American public to accept their respective visions of government.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.