May 20, 2013
There have been lots of comparisons, most hotly dismissed by the president’s defenders, between Nixon and Obama, but in some ways the latest scandals have the potential to match or even trump those of 1973–4.
Nixon’s sins were primarily domestic; no one died. Benghazi goes to the heart of U.S. foreign policy, when an administration knowingly misled the United States, and stuck to a pre-election campaign narrative that ensured a facility was endangered, help was not sent, Americans died, and a petty crook would be jailed to take the rap — while officials for weeks peddled an untruth. Unlike “Bush lied, thousands died,” the CIA did not give the president “slam dunk” information, supported by most agencies abroad and both Houses of Congress, but rather had its initial analyses massaged by the White House for overtly campaign purposes.
Much of the hatred toward Nixon emanates from the tapes that reveal the private man to be a paranoid and often deceitful character. But while Nixon stormed on about the IRS, and dispatched the odious John Dean to find a way to use tax returns against his enemies, at least after Donald Alexander took over, the agency pushed back, and often in heroic fashion thwarted the destruction of the once independent bureau.…To Read More…