Is Obama Walking the Trail Blazed by Nixon?
by Victor Davis Hanson
What would a president do if he were furious over criticism, or felt that his noble aims justified most means of attaining them?
Answer that by comparing the behavior of Richard Nixon to that of an increasingly similar Barack Obama.
Nixon tried to use the
Nixon ignored settled law and picked and chose which statutes he would enforce -- from denying funds for the Clean Water Act to ignoring congressional subpoenas.
Nixon attacked TV networks and got into personal arguments with journalists such as
Nixon wanted the
Nixon went after "enemies." He ordered surveillance to hound his suspected political opponents and was paranoid about leaks.
Now, consider how President Obama has directed government, as opposed to the platitudes he has offered about how it should operate.
The FCC? According to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, Obama's agency, until outrage arose, had planned "to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their 'news philosophy' and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information." In other words, Obama FCC appointees dreamed of predicating federal licensing on having politically correct views similar to their own.
Enemies? Federal authorities jailed a video maker for a minor probation violation after the Obama administration falsely blamed him for causing a riot that led to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi in
Dinesh D'Souza has written and filmed some very unflattering things about Obama. He might be as openly critical of the president as Daniel Ellsberg once was of Nixon. In January, the office of Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara indicted D'Souza on federal charges of violating campaign finance laws. If convicted, D'Souza could be imprisoned for up to seven years. Usually, those accused of such transgressions face far lesser charges involving fines.
Speaking of the
Going after reporters? Obama regularly blames
Ignoring the law? The Affordable Care Act as currently administered bears little resemblance to the law that was passed by
Wiretaps? Well, aside from the electronic surveillance conducted by the
There are a few differences, however, between the transgressions of Nixon and Obama, and America's reaction to them.
The old watchdogs of civil liberties that took on Nixon -- the America media of the Watergate era -- are now silent. For them, Obama is not right-wing, easily caricatured, unappealing or an old anti-communist agitator, but an iconic liberal, charismatic, and in the past an experienced community organizer. A Democratic Senate majority now has little interest in auditing Obama, though it once zealously pounced on Nixon's misdeeds.
If you once suggested that Nixon's team was violating constitutional principles, you were hailed as speaking truth to power. Try that with progressive Obama, and you are likely to be caricatured as some sort of embittered
Both presidents once had enormous potential and high poll ratings, but their treatment of the Constitution was as Orwellian as it was unnecessary. Before Nixon imploded, he was warned to stop it.
Article: Copyright ©, Tribune Content Agency
"Is Obama Walking the Trail Blazed by Nixon?"