In 1986, when I was doing research for a book that was to become Advice and Consent ( 1989), I was intrigued by the lack of analysis in the literature on Watergate relating the scandal to American politics. There was more journalism, histories, and personal tellings of Watergate than one could shake a stick at--which were all well and good-- but nothing that examined how Watergate, as an instance of political corruption, affected the American political system. However disparate these authors' training and purpose, they all seemingly reached the same conclusions: that, in President Gerald Ford's words, the long nightmare of Watergate was behind us and there was little reason for generalization. My disappointing survey, which I now sheepishly admit was probably incomplete,a led me to wonder why this (at least to me) obvious gap existed in the literature. It led me to pose broader questions about political corruption and about why there was so little work examining its generic effect on the United States. Which led to the present book.
This book has been a more difficult book to write than I had anticipated. I now have a very intimate appreciation of why the analysis of political corruption is an underattended subject. The subject matter is truly fascinating--the literal stuff of political drama--but the actors,____________________