Conspiracy theory is in disrepute because it has become a religion. People want to believe that there is someone in charge who knows what they are doing. Just because there isn’t someone in charge who knows what they are doing doesn’t mean that people don’t conspire. Watergate is where conspiracy theory becomes pop art criticism. I have a possibility.
Everyone imagines a conversation where Nixon is told that he has to take the fall and he says in that Nixon voice:
-I’m not going without a pardon.
My question is when that conversation takes place and with whom. People naturally put that conversation at the end of his service. This doesn’t make logistical sense unless it occurred at least as far back as the second election. Nixon has to be complicit in his own impeachment. Why would Nixon want to be impeached? Because he required a pardon. Tricky Dicky, the evil monster with the world on his enemies list, knew that he would spend the rest of his life in court. I can’t know if it was an explicit plan but the pardon saved him from the damnation of eternal litigation.
Nixon is misrepresented as being out of touch and misunderstanding his context, a cold war warrior caught by progress. This is false. Nixon had few illusions and perfectly grasped his constituency and his opposition. He knew his opposition hated him and it was personal. As he waited at San Clemente for Ford’s decision he carefully totted up everyone he would drag down with him, from the Joint Chiefs, Taiwan, ITT, CIA, Standard Oil…
Ford was left with the choice of killing Nixon or pardoning him.