The Origins Of The Right’s Smear Machine

This is a must-read to understand the history. Starting with Nixon, again and again Dems let Republicans off the hook, again and again they respond by doing even more and worse. Background: Dems had evidence that Nixon’s presidential campaign sabotaged peace talks that could have ended the Vietnam war in 68, to help Nixon in the election. Dems kept this secret “for the good of the country.” Nixon then kept the war going four more years so he could announce its “end” just before the 72 election. (“Peace is at hand.”)
How the Right’s Smear Machine Started | Consortiumnews,

… the decision by President Lyndon Johnson and his top aides to withhold from the public their evidence of Nixon’s sabotage of the Vietnam peace talks in fall 1968 proved to be the opposite of their stated intention: to hide the dirty secret for “the good of the country.”
As Johnson’s national security adviser Walt W. Rostow observed in 1973 as the Watergate scandal was unfolding, Nixon may have dared undertake that domestic spying program because he had gotten away with his 1968 skullduggery unscathed.With the evidence of Nixon’s “treason” kept under wraps, Republicans could fancy themselves the real victims in the Watergate scandal and thus could justify doing whatever was necessary to protect some future GOP president from similar treatment.
With the evidence of Nixon’s “treason” kept under wraps, Republicans could fancy themselves the real victims in the Watergate scandal and thus could justify doing whatever was necessary to protect some future GOP president from similar treatment.

Reagan let off the hook for Iran Contra and for sabatoging Carter’s hostage talks. Bush let off the hook for torture and illegal war and various acts of corruption. … and so on.

Some examples include evidence of another October Surprise dirty trick in 1980 (with Reagan’s campaign frustrating President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to free 52 American hostages in Iran), the Iran-Contra sequel (as President Reagan traded more arms to Iran for more U.S. hostages in 1985-86), the Iraq-gate scandal of secretly arming Saddam Hussein (which put President George H.W. Bush on the spot after the Persian Gulf War in 1991), or the Plame-gate affair (which involved George W. Bush’s administration leaking the identity of a covert CIA officer to get back at her husband for exposing a lie behind the Iraq War in 2003).