In early August 1973, Paul Harvey used his nationally syndicated column to defend President Richard Nixon as impeachment proceedings began in Congress.
Harvey, a conservative who had previously been critical of Nixon for extending the war in Vietnam, laughed at the charge that Nixon had been involved in “political chicanery,” noting that he had seen far worse behavior among politicians.
“Election after election I’ve watched machine politicians play the game the way the city’s electorate expects,” Harvey wrote of his native Chicago. He said he had seen local party officials “tilt the voting machines; vote winos for four bits and dead people for free; lose enough ballot boxes to reverse a defeat,” adding that the “pomposity and sanctimony of some politicians in this present instance make me sick!”
Yet like many others in the conservative movement, Harvey’s cringeworthy paean to Watergate whataboutism would not affect his future career prospects. Within three years, he would launch his “Rest of the Story,” radio feature, spinning avuncular, folksy tales of cultural oddities.