Friday, March 14, 2014

Shades of Nixon

National Review's Victor Davis Hanson makes the case that President Obama is a simulacrum of former President Nixon. It must be said that the similarities are numerous and striking. Hanson notes the following, for instance:

Nixon tried to use the Internal Revenue Service to go after his political enemies — although his IRS chiefs at least refused his orders to focus on liberals. He ordered surveillance to hound his suspected political opponents and was paranoid about leaks. Nixon wanted the Federal Communications Commission to hold up the licensing of some television stations on the basis of their political views and ignored settled law and picked and chose which statutes he would enforce — from denying funds for the Clean Water Act to ignoring congressional subpoenas.

All true, but what does that have to do with Mr. Obama?

The IRS under this administration has been used as a political tool to stifle, harass, and neuter political opponents. The CIA and NSA are monitoring Congress and ordinary citizens. The FBI has been used to intimidate people who have spoken out against the Obama administration. Mr. Obama sought to use the FCC to monitor media newsrooms in a fashion one might expect from Russia or China. He has also attempted through the FCC to impose regulations that would essentially kill talk radio and bring the internet under government control.

The Obama Justice Department, moreover:
...secretly monitored Fox News reporter and sometime critic James Rosen. The Justice Department even seized his e-mails and phone records in fear that he might publish administration leaks. To hide these shenanigans, the Justice Department fraudulently dubbed Rosen a flight risk and a possible criminal co-conspirator.

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.
Mr. Obama has chosen to ignore laws he doesn't like, refusing to enforce marriage laws, immigration laws, and by executive fiat completely changing the Affordable Care Act. During his administration we have seen the most egregious power grab by the executive in our history and Congress is helpless to do anything about it because the president's party controls the Senate.

Hanson goes on to explain another reason why Nixon couldn't get away with what Obama has gotten away with:
There are a few differences, however, between the transgressions of Nixon and Obama, and America’s reaction to each.

The old watchdogs of civil liberties that took on Nixon — the American media of the Watergate era — are now silent. 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 tea-party zealot at best, a retrograde racist at worst. Nixon ended impeached and disgraced; Obama may well enjoy a lucrative and in-demand post-presidency.
The failure of our media and the Senate under Harry Reid to protect the American people from the aggrandizement of power by the executive branch of government is the reason why there is a Tea Party in this country today.