The real Republican role model — think Karl Rove and Lee Atwater and their employers, the Bushes — think Ken Starr and Ted Olsen and Richard Mellon Scaife — is not Ronald Reagan but Richard Nixon:
Because Kennedy was not a presidential candidate in 1972, he did not qualify for full-time Secret Service protection. But Nixon offered it to Ted Kennedy, given the assassinations of his brothers, President John Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy, and right after Alabama Gov. George Wallace was shot in May 1972…
But Nixon’s motives for the offer were not pure. He worried that if a third Kennedy were shot, and while not having Secret Service protection, he’d be blamed.
Plus, he wanted dirt. And the best way to get it was to have a Secret Service agent rat on the senator. There is no evidence an agent turned into such an informer.
“You understand what the problem is,” Nixon told Haldeman and Ehrlichman on Sept. 7, 1972. “If the (SOB) gets shot they’ll say we didn’t furnish it (protection). So you just buy his insurance.
“After the election, he doesn’t get a ... thing. If he gets shot, it’s too damn bad. Do it under the basis, though, that we pick the Secret Service men.
“Understand what I’m talking about?”