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Is President Obama Channeling President Richard Nixons Legacy


A recent New York Times article, which was written by Mark Landler and Helene Cooper, said something about President Obama that was eerily similar to words that were spoken by President Nixon four decades or so ago. The article was titled, "Obama Seeks A Course of Pragmatism In the Middle East." It discussed the difficult time and criticism the President has been under as a result of his administration's reactions and actions to the upheaval in the Middle East. The article concludes with the following words: "Mr. Obama has told people that it would be so much easier to be the president of China. As an official put it: "No one is scrutinizing Hu Jintao's (Chinese Premier) words in Tahrir Square.

Seems the President might be getting a little irritated that others in this country and abroad somehow have a difference of opinion with his policies. Almost to the point that how dare anyone criticize his decisions. Compare this view of self pity with a famous Nixon quote: "Politics would be a helluva a good business if it weren't for the $#!*% people." Kind of sounds like the same problem: I am the President of the United States. I should be able to do what I want since I am that much smarter than the rest of you, you people are little more than irritants that make my life less enjoyable.

It is a shame that both Presidents think or thought this way. It is called a democracy, we are allowed to question our leaders' decisions even if it irritates them.

However, this channeling of Nixon does not end here if you do a little more research. Recently, President Obama has shown a very distressing tendency to ignore judicial protocol and decisions that he does not agree with. When a Federal judge deemed his Gulf oil drilling moratorium to be illegal, the administration merely revoked the original moratorium and replaced it with a virtually identical second moratorium, a charade that the judge promptly struck down with words admonishing the administration for its obvious disregard for his first ruling.

More recently, the President deemed that the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, a responsibility of the Supreme Court, not Barack Obama. This law, no matter how one views it, has been on the books for about fifteen years and has not been severely tested or found wanting in any court. The President basically said he did not like it or find it Constitution and unilaterally decided not to enforce it.

Sounds an awful like a Nixon position and statement from long ago: "Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the manner in which the President personally exercises his assigned executive powers is not subject to questioning by another branch of government." Thus, I guess President Obama was just exercising this Nixon tenet: regardless of what Congress has passed or the courts have decided, the President is not subject to questioning by these other two branches of government, even though the Constitution is structured to allow such questioning and separation of powers.

Now we are just getting warmed up. Consider some words from President Obama regarding the need to respect each other and to get along even though we may have differences of opinion: "So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope - what they deserve - is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences, to overcome the numbing weight of our politics."

Sounds good until you view it in the light of a Nixonism: "Let us move from an era of confrontation to the era of negotiation." In both instances, the words do not match the actions. Nixon had his famous "enemies list" of people who dared to confront him and his actions. President Obama has allowed his Democratic Party partners to lash out at anyone who dared to honestly and rightfully criticize or confront an Obama initiative with such disparaging words as un-American, racists, Neanderthal, and members of the Klan. Sounds all too familiar.

To quote many a TV ad, there's more! On March 8, 2011, the Washington Post reported that President Obama recently signed an executive order to "create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at Guantanamo, Cuba who continue to pose a significant threat to national security." Thus, with the stroke of a pen, the President has decided to deny a basic right of freedom to other human beings, the right to a fair and open trial so that the defendants can properly defend themselves and a just verdict reached after all of the facts and evidence have been put forth. Now, one man, the President, has decided to void that right, a right that is fundamental to the American justice system.

How can he dare do this? Maybe he is still channeling Nixon who once said: "When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal." Phew, I thought we were voiding something important here, the right to a fair trial. Lucky thing that Nixon blazed that trail, placing more value on a President's sole judgment that centuries of proven and successful judicial processes.