Ed Driscoll

Bad Actors and Nixon's Coming

“Nixon’s Ghost and the Specter of Hypocrisy,” is explored by Seth Mandel at Commentary:

One of the many stars lining up on the Democratic side [in 2008] to spread the gospel of Barack was the actor Maggie Gyllenhaal, who continued to support President Obama in his bid for reelection again four years later. But Gyllenhaal is suddenly not so enthusiastic about the government. She is unnerved by the revelations about the NSA, and has joined an organization to rally this weekend called Stop Watching Us. She and other Hollywood celebrities, such as John Cusack, released a promotional video, which the ACLU is enthusiastically sharing. There’s one curious element to the video, however: it targets, repeatedly, one president: Richard Nixon.

Now in fairness, the video also includes appearances and commentary by Oliver Stone, so perhaps it’s not meant to be taken seriously anyway. But it’s a good example of the cognitive dissonance this president has inspired in his followers. Nixon, who takes a starring role in the video, remains the mascot for government intrusion and overreach.

At the rally, Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash will join such luminaries as Noami Wolf and Dennis Kucinich to speak about the dangers of, presumably, the Nixon administration’s crackdown on domestic liberty, his failing strategy in Vietnam, his belligerence toward Cuba, and his outdated anti-Communism. Oliver Stone does not appear slated to speak at the rally, so Harry Truman will be spared the Nixon treatment.

Fight the power — oppose Nixon’s reelection in 2016!

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(And best to avoid voting for Hillary as well. We already know she’s rather Orwellian.)

In the New York Times, Roger Cohen is not happy that Mr. Nixon Obama has alienated the EU with his spying:

Obama, in his cool detachment, is not big on diplomacy through personal relations, but Merkel is as close to a trusted friend as he has in Europe. To infuriate her, and touch the most sensitive nerve of Stasi-marked Germans, amounts to sloppy bungling that hurts American soft power in lasting ways. Pivot to Asia was not supposed to mean leave all Europe peeved.

But all Europe is. The perception here is of a United States where security has trumped liberty, intelligence agencies run amok (vacuuming up data of friend and foe alike), and the once-admired “checks and balances” built into American governance and studied by European schoolchildren have become, at best, secret reviews of secret activities where opposing arguments get no hearing.

That last paragraph seems confusing to me; help me me make sense of it in the comments. For over a century, American “Progressives,” particularly those at the New York Times, have sought to build an America in which liberty was trumped by security, where the checks and balances built into American governance were discarded, and one in which American students stopped studying forms of American governance and began learning how the Europeans do it.

So why do they sound so upset, when the current form of the NSA sounds like a definitive “Mission Accomplishment” moment for the American left?