Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nixon’s the One

The latest meme from the Republicans is to compare the Obama White House to the Nixon administration. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) did it, as did Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), cautioning the president against creating an “enemies list” by labeling Fox News as not really a news organization.

“Based upon that experience and my 40 years since then in and out of public life, I want to make what I hope will be taken as a friendly suggestion to President Obama and his White House: Don’t create an enemies list,” Alexander said.

Describing the actions of Vice President Spiro Agnew and Nixon operative Chuck Colson, Alexander said he sees “symptoms of this same kind of animus developing in the Obama administration.”

What is it with theses people who keep making these false — not to mention stupid — equivalencies? So far the battle between Fox and the White House has been:

FOX: Obama is the enemy!

OBAMA: You’re not nice.

FOX: See!?! Enemies list!

If Mr. Alexander really thinks that what went on in the Nixon administration, where the president ordered the FBI and the IRS to go after his opponents (Eric Boehlert has the details, including ordering Attorney General John Mitchell to go after the family that owned the Los Angeles Times), is the same thing that’s going on with the Obama administration dissing Fox News, then I really have to wonder about his judgment and understanding of what really constitutes an “enemies list.” Maybe he should check with the Bush administration that made it a policy to freeze out The New York Times from any interviews with Mr. Bush and went on the attack against NBC and MSNBC. (And it’s not like the Obama administration doesn’t have several dozen reasons to think that Fox is not much more than just an RNC mouthpiece.)

One of the benefits of having been an observer of politics for the last forty years is that I, like Sen. Alexander, remember the Nixon years, and when it comes to beating up on the press and networks, the Obama administration are pikers. On that score, Nixon is still the one who set the standard.