Why Anthony Weiner needs to call Chuck Colson and Jeb Stuart Magruder
As if Anthony Weiner didn’t have enough problems in his life.
Within hours of Weiner announcing his resignation from Congress, Keith Olbermann blathered that he may hire Weiner for a talk show on Current TV.
Current TV is the television network created by former Vice President Al Gore to compete with Fox News. To say that the network has struggled would be an understatement. The corporate goal for Current TV in July is to close their ratings gap with the Home Shopping Network.
Last week, Olbermann was on the talk circuit promoting his new show on Current TV. On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Olbermann stated that he’d like to hire Anthony Weiner for the network’s 9:00 p.m. time slot.
It is ironic for Olbermann to say that he wants to be on the same network as Anthony Weiner. Olbermann has made a career by being the top wiener on television. However, if Weiner is interested in personal redemption, Olbermann is not the name he needs to pull up on his speed dial.
Operator — I’d like the phone numbers for Chuck Colson and Jeb Stuart Magruder, please.
The political scandal upon which all future ones were to be judged was Watergate. The break-in and ensuing cover-up sent men to jail and caused President Richard Nixon to resign. Two of the Watergate conspirators who went to jail were Chuck Colson and Jeb Stuart Magruder.
Chuck Colson was a special counsel to the president and the first member of the Nixon administration to go to jail following a guilty plea for obstruction of justice. Prior to going to jail, Colson was a ruthless political hack who was commonly referred to as Nixon’s personal hatchet man. He authorized Nixon’s “Enemies List” and was said to be willing to walk over his own grandmother to re-elect the president.
After leaving the White House (but prior to pleading guilty), Colson read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and converted to Christianity. Despite being blasted in the press at the time, Colson has lived his convictions since leaving prison. He started a jail ministry and became a noted lecturer on the topic of ethics. His views on religion and ethics are as unwavering as had been his actions on behalf of President Nixon.
Chuck Colson’s thoughts on Anthony Weiner were expressed in a column he posted recently: “I suppose if any good is to come from the Weiner episode, it may be that people can see where the me-centered, post-modern worldview leads us: To narcissism and to the therapist’s couch.”
Jeb Stuart Magruder left the Nixon While House to become deputy director of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (“CREEP”) and met with G. Gordon Liddy over the Watergate break-ins and other covert CREEP operations. Liddy and Magruder both followed Colson to jail.
Post jail, Magruder ended his involvement in politics, earned a Master of Divinity and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. Over the years, he has spoken openly on Watergate and the lessons that others could learn from his own mistakes. Magruder’s demeanor is softer than Colson’s.
Magruder’s stint as a Presbyterian minister included leading a church in Lexington, Kentucky. It was while Magruder was the head of that church that I had the opportunity to have lunch with one of the more infamous and controversial names in Watergate history.
My lunch with Jeb Stuart Magruder (and what I suspect he might say to Anthony Weiner)
In 1988, I was running in a Republican primary for a spot on the ballot to replace my old boss, Jim Bunning, in Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District. During that time, I was having a moral crisis about spending so much time away from my family and asked a friend to set up a meeting with Magruder for some spiritual advice.
The meeting started by Rev. Magruder telling me that he didn’t “do politics” anymore and that he was only there for a few minutes. But when Magruder found out that the purpose of my visit was not to solicit campaign advice, his mood changed. What followed was a two-hour lunch where Magruder advised me on the spiritual nature of political power.
For a time in 1973, as the director of Richard Nixon’s inaugural, Magruder basked in the glow of being the top powerbroker inside the Beltway. If a person wanted to be with the president on the night of the inaugural, they had to go through Magruder. His calls were taken and his messages were quickly returned. Two months later, when Magruder began cooperating with Watergate prosecutors, he became persona non grata to those same people.
Reverend Jeb Magruder told me privately what he has said publically — that Nixon knew of the Watergate scheme prior to the break-in and that, at the time, he was mistakenly willing to do anything to protect the president and his agenda.
Magruder’s personal lessons for me were two-fold. First, he said, all power comes from God and a politician ignores this reality at his or her own peril. In 1973, Magruder believed he had power. Fourteen months later, his penance for such thoughts was a jail term which left him emotionally and financially bankrupt. He said that upon his release from jail he understood that his only true assets in life were his family and his faith.
Secondly, even though I had gone to Magruder seeking answers in my life, he informed me that I would never find them. Only God knew the answers and He was not going to tell them to me in this life.
Magruder then instructed me that there were right questions. He said that as long as I kept asking the right questions, I could keep my political (and personal) life on the right track.
Maybe it’s just that simple
Somewhere along the way, like so many members of Congress from both parties, Anthony Weiner began to believe he had real power and quit asking questions based upon a basic understanding of right and wrong.
Before Anthony Weiner takes a call from Keith Olbermann, he needs to pick up the phone and call Rev. Magruder.
Rick Robinson is the author of political thrillers which can be purchased on Amazon and at book stores everywhere. His latest novel, Manifest Destiny, has won seven writing awards, including Best Fiction at the Paris Book Festival.