Forty years ago public outrage about the actions of President Richard Milhous Nixon, lead by his long time liberal critics, forced him to be the first U.S. chief executive to resign the presidency. Critics screamed about Nixon’s extra-legal and extra-constitutional conduct as protestors ringed the White House chanting “Jail to the Chief.”
Nixon’s men had spied on their fellow citizens, allegedly used the IRS to harass their political enemies, waged war without the consent of Congress and used the CIA in an effort to hide their crimes.
No man, Nixon’s critics assured us, was above the law. For his transgressions, Richard Nixon was forced from office, evading prosecution only because of a presidential pardon.
Yet by any reasonable measure, Nixon’s sins seem venal compared to those of President Barack Obama.
Nixon’s men illegally wiretapped his political opponents -- and they went to jail for it. When the FBI used warrantless surveillance to wiretap and intercept the mail of anti-war radicals, those who did so were charged, tried and convicted.
Obama has used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to guarantee any surveillance the government wants without probable cause. Nixon spied on a virtual hand-full. Barack Obama’ s NSA wire-taps the entire nation and monitors the e-mails of thousands.
Nixon talked about using the IRS to harass his opponents but there is no evidence that he successfully did so, yet illegal use of the IRS was among the Articles of Impeachment voted by the House of Representatives. Obama’s IRS has actually used the IRS to harass conservative groups. Can you imagine the liberal outcry if IRS officials under Nixon referred to liberals as “a—holes’ and “crazies”?
The White House tapes show Nixon attempting to use the CIA to impede the FBI investigation into the Watergate break-in. This pales in comparison to the CIA spying on members of the US Senate charged with investigating the Agency's illegal activities.
Where is liberal outrage over Obama’s Justice Department spying on reporters? What would have happened if Nixon's Justice Department had opened the mail and tracked the movements of Walter Cronkite as Obama’s Justice department did with Fox’s News' James Rosen?
Nixon’s impeachment included the charge that he evaded Congress’ sole authority to declare war by bombing Cambodia. Yet in Libya Obama said that only he had the inherent authority to decide what is a “war” and that no congressional approval was necessary. He proceeded to bomb Libya, destroy its military and spend more than a billion dollars in borrowed money in support of one side, who was not aligned with the United States, in a civil war.
Nixon’s men considered the murder of investigative journalist Jack Anderson. That’s nothing compared with Obama’s assertion that he has right to kill any U.S. citizen without a charge, let alone conviction.
Nixon was excoriated for the missing 18 and a half minutes in his White House tapes although his long-time Secretary Rose Mary Woods claimed to have erased them by mistake. In the torture scandal, CIA officials admitted to destroying tapes that they knew could be used against them in criminal cases at the same time Obama’s IRS says hundreds of thousands of documents regarding abuse against Tea Party and Conservative groups are “missing,” without repercussion.
While Nixon was known for his “Enemies List,” the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program says that Obama also has an enemies list stored by keyword, which has been used to take down perceived political enemies such as General Petraus. During his re-election campaign Obama even brazenly posted his enemies list on-line as a not-so-subtle threat not to donate to his opponents. How Nixon’s critics would have howled if he had publicly targeted Sen. George McGovern’s donors.
Because of Obama’s iconic status on the left, liberals are silent as Obama shreds the Constitution in ways Richard Nixon would have marveled at. Democrats scoff at the notion of the impeachment of Obama for crimes far more serious and reaching than of those committed by Richard Nixon.
Roger Stone is author of "Nixon's Secrets: The Rise, Fall and Untold Truth about the President, Watergate, and the Pardon" (Skyhorse Publishing) which will be released on August 11.