Don’t equate Obama with Nixon

I have witnessed at least one pundit and several letters to the editor make reference to Obama being like Nixon. The pundit, George Will, should know better and I would hope the others would, too. We should do a quick history lesson to refresh, but first we may want to wait until all the information is in before people lay Obama over the coals. More on that later. Nixon said often, “I am not a crook.” He was wrong. Let me tell you why:

– Nixon created a burglary group in the White House called The Plumbers, designed to plug leaks and exploit information about their political adversaries. Members of the group broke into the offices of Daniel Ellsberg to steal his reporting on classified issues known as “The Pentagon Papers” which indicated a conspiratorial Nixon presidency. Members also broke into the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel complex. They got caught which led to the Nixon’s Waterloo known as Watergate.

– Nixon Committee to Reelect the President, interestingly named CREEP, did childish and criminal disruption tactics to discredit Democratic adversaries. They did not want to run against Senator Edmund Muskie; so they made it their mission to get him to drop out of the race. They ran against Senator George McGovern, who was their choice opponent. Nixon won easily over McGovern.

– Nixon’s Chief of Staff, Bob Haldeman, went to jail. His Assistant for Domestic Affairs, John Ehrlichman, went to jail. His Attorney General, John Mitchell, went to jail. So, did White House Special Counsel, Charles Colson, White House Council, John Dean as well as several of the burglars, Gordon Liddy, Howard Hunt and others and Donald Segretti, one of the CREEP tricksters.

– John Dean’s testimony was the most damaging, but it was the existence of tapes of all conversations in the Oval Office that were the smoking gun. Nixon was ordered by the Independent Prosecutor to turn the tapes over, but he asked the new Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire the Independent Prosecutor, Archibald Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. The Deputy AG William Ruckelshaus refused as well and was fired. Cox was finally fired by Robert Bork (who had a later claim to fame, being denied as a Supreme Court Justice nominee). This was called the Saturday Night Massacre and was the beginning of the end for Nixon. He finally was ordered to turn the tapes over.

– Nixon was about to be impeached before he resigned on August 9, 1974. The Congressional Committees approved three articles of impeachment – Obstruction of Justice, Misuse of Power and Contempt of Congress for Defying a Subpoena. Congress was about to take action, but gave the President some time to think about it.

– Nixon could have gone to jail, but President Gerald Ford gave him a full pardon which angered many.

– While this was one of the worst moments in our history, it was also one of best. The president did and condoned criminal activity and tried to cover it up. The heroes are many: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post, Mark Felt (an undercover source known as Deep Throat), Richardson, Cox and Ruckelshaus for standing up to the President, Senator Sam Ervin of NC who chaired the Congressional Committee and Judge John Sirica, to name only a few.

– If you want a summary of the key characters, please click on this link or rent “All the President’s Men” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

http://www.historyteacher.net/HistoryThroughFilm/FilmReadings/WatergateCastOfCharacters.pdf

My wife laughs at me when I say the next statement, but “I did not make this stuff up.” Do not let anyone tell you what Nixon did was not that bad. Nixon was a crook. Yes, he did do some good things as President – opening China markets, creating the Environmental Protection Agency and ending the war in Vietnam – but his Presidency should be remembered for all of the above.

Getting back to President Obama. I have shared before the Benghazi scandal is on its last legs and if people read the report prepared by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullens back in December, they would not have carried it this far. Both Pickering and Mullens have offered to testify in front of Congressman Darrel Issa’s committee, but have not been asked to do so. Issa did want Pickering to testify with only the Republican committee members behind closed doors, but he declined. They obviously wanted to manage the message. He said he would be delighted to testify in front of the whole committee. Plus, the emails released by the President seem to corroborate the story that the CIA was editing talking points to protect their mission. So, unless something major happens or if  the IRS issue fizzles out, my guess is this will die soon.

The IRS scandal looks like it amounts to over-worked bureaucrats who were attempting to make their jobs easier by having the same people look at the same kinds of filings. The dilemma is there were tons of groups wanting tax exempt status. Yet, per pundit David Brooks, they are guilty of being oblivious to how this might be perceived. And, the managers that should have known better should have made changes. There may be more to it, but we should let the investigations run their course. And, unlike Nixon, Obama is outraged and trying to get to the bottom of it.

The one that gives me pause is the wiretapping for national security issues. I personally do not like what was done to these AP and Fox News reporters and there should have been more procedures followed in my mind. I want to see more on this. Yet, like the above two issues, let the investigations be completed before we rake people over the coals. And, do one more thing – let’s remember what really happened with Nixon.

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8 thoughts on “Don’t equate Obama with Nixon

  1. Thanks for clarifying this and sharing the details. I was surprised to see people comparing Obama to Nixon. It strikes me as wrong, but I don’t know all of the details, so this helps. Thanks!

    • Thanks Emily. I am surprised too, but people seem to count on others lack of knowledge. That is what frustrates me about George Will, as he knows better.

  2. Concise. Informational. Factual. Substantive. Thank you, btg.
    And, now here’s a thought and a couple of questions….
    It is alarming that now instead of questioning media reports, opinions, editorials…so many (citizens at large) glom onto the gravitational pull of the negative. I have this image of all of us swirling in informational muck because some [pseudo] disseminating majority (media?) have decided this is how we *like* it. When did we give truth away?
    Or…did we allow it to be taken from us?

    • Thanks Raye. Interesting you say that. I had a discussion with a newspaper person. I said you tend to print more negative news and less positive news. He argued for awhile, but then I made the following comment. If something goes right 99 times out of a 100, that is not news. Yet, the one time it does not it becomes newsworthy. So, we must know context and history. This is one reason why everything should not be a contest. Global warming is a great example. 97% of scientists believe it is a real threat and man-influenced. That is 97 to 3 by my count. Let’s talk about what to do about than the 3% who say it is not. Thanks for your thoughts. BTG

  3. So many Americans are willing to take what they see in the paper or on TV as gospel, without even taking a moment to think whether it is rational or logical. If its on TV, it must be fact. We’ve become a nation of non-thinking lemmings, willing to follow the talking head of the moment, willing to believe what some pundit, even a George Will, tells us, instead of checking it out for ourselves.

    Benghazi is a Daniel Issa personal vendetta, no substance, all flash that he creates himself. Republicans have defunded the IRS for years, and now cry incompetence. Personally, if they were fully funded, I would fully expect them to investigate the Tea Bagger and Super PACS to a much deeper level than they’ve been able to do.

    As for the AP/Fox issue, I am deeply concerned by those. Obama has lost all my support with his fanaticism over leaks and prosecuting whistle blowers. If he can’t do business that would be ok on the front page of the papers, than he shouldn’t be doing it at all. His open and transparent promises for government are anything but, and as for Holder and his recusing himself, thats the joke of the year. His right hand man, in the very next door office is running the show, and Holder has the gumption to claim he knows nothing? LOL!

    Great post, and having lived though the Nixon era, for anyone to compare Obama with Nixon just proves their utter partisanship, hatred for the workings of democracy, and their stupidity.

    • Barney, great comments. So, few people watch or read real, in depth news. The local news is all about weather, sports and crime. So, they will take what some people say as gospel, when their faith is ill-placed. Thanks bro, BTG

  4. While you are contrasting the two men, don’t forget the possible war crimes that Obama is almost certainly committing. He may not be a crook, and the comparison is inexact, to be sure, but Obama is being led about by the military and seems unable to stand up for any principles whatever.

    • Agreed. We should not let him off the hook for that. We are viewed in a lesser light and not the shining light on the hill. Although, I did hear a Syrian soldier who was quoting David Duke as his impression of America, which is quite strange. Thanks for writing. BTG

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