You just know he's laughing from his place in hell. The president who created a Constitutional crisis in the 1970s in the wake of the Watergate scandal, leading to the Articles of Impeachment being drawn up against him -- thereby forcing him to resign from office to avoid the inevitable shitstorm impeachment would bring -- is cackling with the sort of maniacal glee only the damned can produce as they wither forever in the flames of Perdition, and have suddenly become privy to some uproariously funny bit of news from the land of the living. Richard Nixon's shade is laughing because he has been through the exact same song and dance routine George W. Bush is now trying to mimic. And he knows, in the void where his heart should be, that sooner or later it's all going to come crashing down around the would-be dictator's ears.
Nixon tried to fire U.S. attorneys investigating his involvement in crimes and political scandals. But he didn't have the support apparatus Bush has now, with six years of a complacent, complicit Republican Congress and an Orwellian "PATRIOT Act" granting his administration authority to bypass Congress in matters of appointing federal prosecutors. Nor did he have a spineless Democrat-controlled Congress that was afraid to raise the specter of impeachment for refusing to comply with Congressional investigations.
But Nixon ultimately realized that sooner or later, when you've tried to grab more power than you're legally entitled to and the outrage has built to epic proportions, you're going to end up paying. And pay he did. Congress had had enough of Nixon's power-grabbing, and so had the public. He was forced to resign, rather than risk an impeachment process that would have eventually landed him in prison and ended the Republican Party's political ambitions for generations.
That same, sick scenario is playing out again -- only this time the stakes are much higher. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzalez and all the other fascists that comprise the regime are not about to let themselves be made subject to the rule of law. They are too selfish to give up their ill-gotten power, and they don't care about the damage their actions are causing this nation. Congressional Democrats may be more timid than they were when Nixon was president, but this will not last; they are starting, albeit slowly, to find their spines. And now that they're back in power, they aren't going to be told "no" by the regime. The public wants answers, and it wants justice. It's why Democrats were voted back into power last Fall. And a righteously angry public will not be denied.
Nixon learned the hard way that you can't stall justice forever. You can try, but sooner or later justice will find a way to win out. Which is why he's laughing his dead ass off even as he roasts in the fires of hell: because his old cronies Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld really thought they could succeed where their old boss had failed, that they and their buddy Shrubya could commit high crimes in office and manage to escape their predecessor's fate; but Nixon knows from experience that just isn't so. Some people never learn from history, and so are condemned to repeat it. This is the delicious irony Nixon is cackling over. Misery loves company, and Nixon knows he's going to be reunited with his old pals from back in the day. Good times!
Gerald Ford's shade has now shambled over to the specter of his old boss. He, too, found out the hard way what happens to presidents who try to deny a pissed off electorate justice. He asks Nixon what's so god-damned funny, and Dicky-boy tells him. Ford simply shakes his head in sorrow (for he knows that some folks never learn, and that he is going to have to suffer the presence of the cretins who surrounded him in the '70s forever--"goddamnit, the afterlife well and truly sucks and why oh why did I ever pardon this fucking maniac?"), and shambles back off to his own corner of Perdition to sulk. Nixon just scowls at his former veep, his mirthful mood now ruined. "Johnson was right about him," Nixon thinks. "Too dumb to even fart and chew gum at the same time, much less have a sense of humor." Or irony.