The Nation: Good Old Dirty Tricks?

Some Republicans last week seemed determined to equate the Watergate affair with a tradition of political dirty tricks almost as old as the ballot box itself. Indeed, some nasty pranks have become depressingly commonplace over the years—the stealing of candidates' stationery to issue scurrilous letters or phony press releases, the use of embarrassing out-of-context photos.

Some of it is even funny. One saboteur recently turned loose a box of live cockroaches in Republican headquarters at Manhattan's Roosevelt Hotel. Lyndon Johnson aides reportedly poured itching powder down the backs of demonstrators carrying anti-L.B.J. signs at his rallies—forcing them to drop their boards and...

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