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Roger’s Rules

Obama Is Not Nixon

June 2nd, 2013 - 8:57 am

Like most sentient adults, between my bouts of general alarm at the lurching incompetence of the Obama administration I have been enjoying little nibbles at the cornucopia of Schadenfreude it offers. Particularly amusing are the parallels between Obama’s response to some of the recent scandals that have plagued his administration — above all, the still-unfolding  scandal of the IRS targeting political opponents of the Obama administration — and Richard Nixon’s response in the early days of the Watergate scandal.  Steve Hayward at Powerline points to a video montage, at once amusing and upsetting, that juxtaposes the two leaders’ embarrassing evasive maneuvers: “I only know what you know.”  “I just heard about this from a news report.” “What my press secretary said matched the reports I heard.” “As president, I am not going to let myself be distracted by these politically motivated side issues.” Etc.  Take a moment to watch the video. The parallels are striking.

At the same time, it’s important to note that Obama is not Nixon.  For one thing, Nixon, whatever his flaws, was a great president. No creditable witness is saying that about Barack Obama. (As one wag put it, comparing Obama to Nixon is an insult  . . . to Nixon.) For another, verbal echoes can obscure the historical chasms that separate one period, and one personality, from another. Harold Nicolson, in his little jewel of a book on the Congress of Vienna, was right to warn that  “We can learn little from history unless we first realise that she does not, in fact, repeat herself.  Events are not affected by analogies; they are determined by the combinations of circumstance.” What forces and contingencies conspire to determine those combinations it is the task of the historian to limn.

That said, I continue to believe that we are living through a sort of revolution, one of those yeasty times that Karl Marx called a “plastic hour” in which many of our assumptions about the way our lives will unfold are up for fundamental renegotiation. Institutions whose nature we had taken for granted are in the process of thoroughgoing redefinition. No one’s crystal ball is sufficiently clairvoyant to tell us where it all will end. But it seems clear that Obama’s legacy is no more immune to these forces than any other aspect of our social and political life. Scandals are accumulating like dust bunnies around the president.  Long gone is the “Yes We Can,” “promise-you-anything” candidate who found himself cheered when he said he was only a few days away from “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” We’ve had a little preview of what such a transformation might look like, and most people find it pretty scary.

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Top Rated Comments   
Though some are finding it irresistible to seek out similarities between Obama and Nixon - understandable and even fun - I think there's a major difference between the two overshadowing all else, and that is the impact of the media on their careers. Nixon was loathed by the press from his defeat of actor Melvyn Douglas's wife (can't recall her name) for the US Senate, to his years as Vice President, through his probably fraudulent loss of the presidency to JFK and to his WH victory. The media hatred of Nixon was just about universal and, even when he succeeded, the coverage was grudging and mean spirited. Obama, though, was created out of whole cloth by a simpering media madly in love with the IDEA of Obama; they didn't care that there was never a flesh and blood human being underneath the carefully-constructed speeches and opulent stagecraft. Like mediocre actors who are heralded as "the most talented of their generation" before they've even been seen by the public or artists who earn the label "major" because they have the correct political identities, the media thrust Obama into the spotlight in a way that made him all things to all people. Even Peggy Noonan bought into it!

To me the differences between Nixon and Obama are obvious. Nixon had to have the strength of character needed to do his job in spite of the hatred of the media. Obama, cold to the point of non-existence, can't function without the media adoration he's grown so used to.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hahaha... riiiight.

The ahem, '..deficit handed to him' is overwhelmingly due to the DEmocratic Majority Senate then-today! The same Senate he was part of. Sort of. When not voting, 'Present' and all.

The economy has barely a pulse and is NOT due to Obama but in spite of Obama's actions, demagoguing. Don't worry he'll take credit ANYWHERE he can get it. He always had and always will.

The wars.. read up on Iraq fatalities as of late.. over. The Sunni's and Shiite's didn't get your 'war ended' meme.

Taliban's been targeting Afghan civilians for months now. 'Winding down'

Wow you're dim. Even worse is your praise for our empty vessel, Teleprompter Jesus.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know if Nixon was great or not. It's much more complicated. But he was competent. He was able to work with a Democratic House (& Senate, IIRC.) The EPA was necessary to get lead out of our paint & mercury out of our air, good things. But now that agency has morphed into a terrifying actor. Wrapping up Vietnam? Good. Wage & price controls? Bad. Causing a rift between the USSR and China? Good. Abandoning the gold standard? Not an economist, but I think on the whole, bad.

Dear Liar's one signature act, Obamacare? Utterly horrible.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (57)
All Comments   (57)
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Obama has eclipsed Nixon as far as over-reaching his office. Considering the amount of information gathering done today a citizen has much less privacy today than he had 40 years ago. In retrospect Nixon was much better than Obama.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, yeah, great president...EPA, breaking and entering, price controls...with presidents like this, who needs Obama? Roger is having hash smoking flashbacks of delusional projected grandeur. Dude. Lay off the AK 47....
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wage & price controls
End of the gold standard
War on drugs
EPA
ERA
OSHA
Social Security COLAs
Guaranteed annual income
Supplemental Security Income
State-operated health insurance

Those are some of the things Richard Nixon either accomplished or tried to accomplish. He did succeed in federalizing many social welfare programs and more than doubled federal spending for those programs. I guess greatness is in the eye of the beholder.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, I forgot a biggie: President Nixon got the affirmative action ball rolling for us. Thanks, Dick!
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nixon was a great president?!?! What crack is the author smoking? Wage and price controls. EPA. OSHA. That's Richard Nixon. The guy was the quintessential big government RINO. Much of the groundwork for the Carter years was laid by the Nixon administration.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you! I can never understand conservatives defending the Keynesian who created the EPA.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nixon was a proponent of central planning of the economy. He stunk. The last great president was Coolidge. Conservatives should wash their hands of everyone since.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, I will not wash my hands of Reagan

And you should see the new book on Coolidge.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nixon was a great president! - Kimball

You just jumped the shark.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a sixties hippy, I was pretty certain Nixon was a crook. His pose with arms splayed and both hands giving the Peace sign with the words, "I am not a crook" were convincing, enough. The war on drugs was something a liberal would do because they just like to do wars on anything if it suits them (guns, religion, life, etc.). Back then, when you scored a lid, it came with stems and seeds and things you didn't need. Smelled like horse poo 'cause that's what it was shipped in. Countless GM vehicles had burn holes on seats from the popping of a seed as a joint was passed around. Violent enough to blow the head off and into your lap.

But today, that's all changed. Whatever crookedness Nixon possessed is small change compared to what comes out of the Chicago political machine. Crooked grows where one party rules. Like mushrooms. Everybody is in on the 'take'- cops, firefighters, teachers, where their palms are greased and everybody just looks the other way. The democrat/communist is an odd breed. They have perfected marketing and use it to destroy those who invented it. First Black President was genius, First Woman President is on deck. But when you get home and open the package, you find yourself very disappointed. What you thought they were selling just isn't there. Because they weren't selling you 'anything', they were just selling you a 'dream' and there are no refunds. You've been ripped-off and know it, but who do you turn to without looking like a fool? This best defines a crook to me and Obama is the epitome of one.

A second term of dreamers, liars, and crooks isn't what this country needs, but it's what we have. I would take a Nixon repeat with warts and all to four more years of what's to come. Don't bogart that joint, my friends. Pass it over to me.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was a "V-for-victory" sign, not a "peace" sign. The so-called peace sign was actually an attack on our troops.

I find it hard to believe that someone who was old enough durign the 60's didn't know the older meaning of the sign.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
During the Nixon administration the media would often try to get serious answers by going to Henry Kissinger. During the Obama administration, in order to avoid reporting any scandal, the media has resorted to kissing his henrydinger.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nixon had a brilliant mind. End of comparison.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agreed. Got to give the devil his due. For all practical purposes, we owe Nixon the lion's share of the credit for unfolding the Alger Hiss story, which led to his conviction on perjury (the statute of limitations for espionage had run out). The other members of HUAC (the House Committee on Un-American Activities) were increasingly stymied by the belligerent and evasive nature of Hiss' testimony. But Nixon thought like a trial lawyer and understood that the way you tear down the Great Pyramids is one brick at a time. The easiest part of Chambers' testimony to test was whether Hiss, contrary to his initial claims, knew Chambers. So HUAC switched gears. Instead of asking about his loyalties and his Communist Party ties (which were easy to lie about), they asked him specifics regarding his personal life during the period when Chamber claimed to know him. Then all they had to do was to ask Chambers the same questions and line up the answers.

Hiss soon realized that he had blundered by claiming never to have met Chambers, as he stalled, prevaricated, and quibbled over the meanings of the smallest issues. But it was inevitable that HUAC would piece together without a reasonable doubt that the two men knew each other.

Thanks to Richard Nixon. In fact, it's the Hiss case that probably sealed his fate as a president, because the Left never forgot and never forgave him his pivotal role in it.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you search for Article 2 of Nixon's Watergate era articles of impeachment - they read almost word for word on what Obama and his minions have been doing.
I will agree that Obama has all of Nixon's flaws, with few of Nixon's advantages. It is a shame that such a corrupt, feckless fool should become the "First Black President". He will undermine chances for the next black candidate, no matter how ethical, intelligent, responsible, courageous, hardworking or patriotic they may be.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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