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Like Watergate never happened

At moments, "The Lessons of Watergate" conference held a couple of weeks ago in Washington, D.C., by the citizen’s lobby Common Cause, was a little like that two-man roadshow retired baseball players Bill Buckner and Mookie Wilson have been touring. In it, they retell the story of the catastrophic moment during the bottom of the last inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series, when the Mets’ Wilson hit an easy ground ball toward Buckner of the Red Sox, who haplessly let it roll between his legs. That notorious error ultimately cost Boston the championship.

As the New Yorker magazine’s Reeves Wiedeman wrote of the players’ joint public appearance, ''It is as if Custer and Sitting Bull agreed to deconstruct Little Bighorn.” Or those World War II reunions where aging Army Air Corps men meet the Luftwaffe pilots who tried to shoot them down over Bremen.

So, too, in Washington, four decades after the Watergate break-in scandal that led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon. Up onstage was Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, one of the first victims of Nixon’s infamous “plumbers,” the burglars who went skulking into the night to attempt illegal break-ins – including one at the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.

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