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Revealing Politics has posted an eye-opening video showing a side by side comparison of President Obama’s remarks on the various scandals that have overtaken his administration in his second term, versus President Nixon’s initial responses to the Watergate scandal – and the similarities are striking. Watch for yourself:
Even noted left wing zealot and Salon writer David Sirota sees a disturbing Nixonian angle with this administration – not so much over Benghazi and the IRS, but over Team Obama’s longtime war on the freedom of the press:
Other than reflecting a partisan assailant’s lack of creativity, Nixon metaphors and -gate suffixes are so overused in politics that they now most often mean almost nothing. Yes, to call someone “Nixonian” or to invoke Watergate in naming a scandal is typically less a serious substantive critique of an opponent than a reflection of the critic’s laziness and stupidity.
“Most often” and “typically,” though, are the operative words these days. While I’m obviously hesitant to invoke the 37th president terms for the aforementioned reasons — and while I agree with my Salon colleague Alex Pareene and my pal Steve Almond that the IRS and Benghazi brouhahas most certainly do not warrant Nixon references — I do believe Nixon’s legacy is nonetheless applicable to the revelations about the Obama administration’s posture toward press freedom.
Those particular revelations, of course, aren’t happening in a vacuum. Instead, they relate to an administration whose known obsessions suggest this is part of a larger, dare I say Nixonian, pathology — one defined by a hostility toward the most basic democratic ideals.
Context, as alluded to, is key to understanding the collective meaning of the Obama administration’s hostility toward press freedom, and the relevant context suggests these actions are neither unrelated nor merely a product of unplanned negligence.
Recall that for years, Obama and his aides have let it be known that above all else, they value loyalty and message discipline.
McClatchy newspapers said that works in practice as “a penchant for secrecy finely honed during a disciplined campaign.” The UK Telegraph said Team Obama’s campaign was “tightly controlled, with very few uncoordinated leaks.” The AP called it “ironclad discipline” that involves “carefully choreographed interactions with the press”; that is “marked by a ‘No-Drama Obama’ credo”; and that is run by staffers who are rewarded by a “strong loyalty to their man’s message.”
Put these two realities together — juxtapose the Obama administration’s abhorrent record on press freedom with its macho attitude about message discipline — and you see that this is all part of one larger story about this administration’s core priorities. Indeed, as the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza summarized it, “Obama and his top campaign aides prided themselves during the 2008 and 2012 races for their tight-knittedness and their lack of leaks.” That means that “while Obama’s senior team insists these decisions (to target the press) were made independently of him, there’s clearly a tone being set from the top down — and it’s a tone that Obama has long held, dating back to his days as a candidate.”
Well, um – yeah. Lots of people were writing about it during Obama’s first run for the Oval Office. Unfortunately, not many of those writing about it were in the mainstream press but instead wrote at conservative news and opinion outlets, and as such were dismissed as “racists” and “far right partisans” and other similar adjectives used to describe those who saw the writing on the wall then and who have been saying “Toldjah So!” on a multitude of issues ever since. Most of the MSM at the time, as you’ll recall, were busy openly fawning over his royal highness’ hip style, flair, his cool cat nature, his grandiose promises to “heal our nation” and “calm the oceans” – basically everything that was superficial was front and center, while the investigative reporting was reserved for Hillary Clinton, and the GOP potentials for for President like McCain and others.
But Sirota clearly hasn’t convinced everyone that the Nixon comparison is a fair one. Just ask MSNBC analyst and admitted Bush-hater Jonathan Alter, who claims such comparisons are “ridiculous.” I suspect Alter isn’t the only deluded liberal in denial. He’s on ship full of fools that still sails on, with Captain Holder at the helm (the President is just an innocent stowaway, of course ….).