Sunday, July 30, 2006

How Nixonian

I find it reassuring that others have noticed the parallels between the Nixon administration and the current regime. The first time I mentioned the connections I had made, my listener laughed heartily and suggested that my tin foil hat was obviously too tight: it was impeding the blood flow to my brain. Now, however, people outside of the lefty blogosphere have begun to talk about the chilling similarity. I found an example of this phenomenon a couple of days ago in an op-ed piece by Rhonda Chriss Lokeman of the Kansas City Star published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

That President Bush knowingly imitates Nixon is bad enough. That Congress lets him is unconscionable. Defending America is more important than defending the presidency. Lawmakers must exercise constitutional authority and investigate and punish for any unlawful acts or high crimes and misdemeanors.

First there was the weapons-of-mass-destruction hoax that has led to the deaths of more than 2,500 troops in Iraq. Then there was the vengeful outing of a CIA agent, the wife of a vocal critic. Now the White House willfully obstructs justice.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told lawmakers that Bush personally impeded the inquiry into the president's authorization allowing the National Security Agency to intercept Americans' international calls and e-mails.

The secretive Bushvolk say they are protecting America from suspected enemies of America, such as terrorists. But what's to say that, like Nixon, they aren't also spying on individuals who personally offend them or vote against their issues?

If Bush's NSA directive sounds familiar, it should.

In several 1970 secret memos, Nixon's apparatchiks conceived a domestic scheme to:

• Have the NSA monitor "communications of U.S. citizens using international communications."

• Permit electronic surveillance "of individuals and groups in the United States who posed a major threat to the internal security."

• Intercept private mail.

• Engage in surreptitious and unlawful entry.

Nixon rationalized his actions with anti-communism. Bush uses the war on terror. Both men trampled the Bill of Rights, obstructed justice, and resisted judicial and legislative reviews.
[Emphasis added]

The main difference I see between the two administrations is that Mr. Bush's cadre are far better at their jobs than Mr. Nixon's staff. Perhaps the Karl Roves and the Dick Cheneys learned some lessons from the Watergate debacle. Whatever the reason, the country is entering an extremely dangerous phase where Constitutional principles such as the separation of powers and the Bill of Rights are ignored as quaint and irrelevant in a post 9/11 world.

I don't think my tin foil hat is that tight at all. Nor is Ms. Lokeman's.


Blogger A Tabla Rasa said...

Well, Cheney and Rumsfeld were there for the training with Tricky Dick...

7:33 AM  
Anonymous sister of ye said...

Now I'm waiting for certain parties on the left to quit their reflexive "Oooo, we can't call them fascists/Nazis/Stalinists! Their pundits will call us nasty names!"

If the comparison is apt, use it, and quit apologizing! Hitler and Stalin are still powerful icons in America's lexicon of evil, and the comparisons with them may be exactly what we need to finally penetrate the average American's ignorance.

To point out, "Well, Bush hasn't done [fill in atrocious action]." Well, neither had Hitler and Staln before they did whatever. The aim of the comparison is to this time prevent atrocities from happening in the first place.

After what BushCo has already done - declare unprovoked war, deny due process at home and abroad, undermine civil liberties, torture prisoners, and on and on - can we naively assert that there are levels to which they won't stoop if allowed?

10:50 AM  

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