George F. Will is a columnist for the Washington Post.
“When I first met Richard Nixon,” Robert Bork says in the book he completed a few weeks before his death in December, “I could see in his expression the conviction that someone had blundered badly.” With the dry wit that, together with his mastery of the dry martini, made him delightful company, Bork says the president, who “almost visibly recoiled,” evidently considered his red beard emblematic of Ivy League left-wingery. Nixon probably thought the barbarians were within the gates.
They were. On Nixon’s staff.
“Saving Justice: Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre, and Other Adventures of a Solicitor General,” Bork’s recounting of events of 40 years ago, is an antidote to today’s tendency to think that things in Washington have never been worse. Bork became Nixon’s solicitor general in June 1973, 12 months after the Watergate burglary. Then Bork, fresh from Yale Law School’s faculty, met Nixon: “Apparently unsure if he was really dealing with a conservative Ivy League professor, he assured me his conservatism was something of a pose to keep others from moving too far left.” Conservatives knew this....