Is the position that the United States finds itself in today worse than it was in 1973--the comparable point in the Nixon administration? I believe that it is.
Watergate--the name for a related group of scandals in the Nixon Administration--represented a covert attempt to undermine the electoral process. Although it came to involve the President in a cover-up, it was essentially a political scandal aimed at insuring Nixon's reelection.
The Bush Administration, in contrast, has mounted a frontal attack on the Constitution. If it were to succeed in imprinting its view of government on the nation, the presidency would be more powerful than it ever has been under liberals--the alleged apostles of big government--government would be less transparent than any time in the last 70 years, the state would have more power to intrude on citizens' lives than ever in our history, and those citizens would have no right of redress. And all that is beside the way that the present regime works to increase the power of those at the top of the economic scale.
There is another factor at work here. In 1973-74, we lived in a bi-polar world. While Watergate wracked the nation we remained the undisputed leader of the non-Communist world. In the nuclear standoff, our opponents had few options to take advantage of disarray at home.
Today, our weaknesses play into the hands of our enemies, separate us from our allies and handcuff us in our battle against people who want the worst for the United States. We are substantially weaker now than we were when Bush came into office, and the primary cause of this is not Osama bin Laden or his allies, but George W. Bush and his.
That's why I say that the present crisis is worse than Watergate.