Breslin doesn't really have one hell of a lot to contribute to the story of how King Richard fell--not much more really than some political haw-haws circulating in Washington during the months the Judiciary Committee got themselves ready to depose the president who was, after all, a crook. The Democratic Majority Leader, Thomas J. O'Neill--""Tip""--is Breslin's weather vane; once Tip intoned the forbidden word ""impeachment"" it was all but finished for Richard Nixon, even though the mills of bureaucracy were to grind on for many months before the abdication. Tip O'Neill, ""a big, overweight, cigar-smoking, whiskey-drinking, back-pounding Boston politician,"" was among the handful of men, who, Breslin suggests, instigated Nixon's political demise--something neither Judge Sirica nor the Supreme Court could have accomplished. ""Only a working politician could challenge and erode the one thing Nixon could not afford to lose: the support of political people."" Throughout, Breslin keeps grappling to say something about the illusionary nature of political power, how the illusion is the reality or, in Thomas Hobbes' words how ""the reputation of power is power."" Once Nixon lost that reputation he had lost his hold on politicians--on men like Tip O'Neill and Peter Rodino who finally brought about his downfall. Alas, Breslin couches all this ward boss savvy in an elaborate metaphor involving tilting mirrors and blue smoke, a metaphor he insists on sustaining to the very end when Gerald Ford is president and Tip O'Neill, our hero, is winging his way to Cape Cod. This time Breslin seems to have been wafted away--perhaps on all that billowing smoke?