Ted Cruz said last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference that Richard Nixon had nothing on the current lawbreaker occupying the White House.
“Barack Obama is the president Richard Nixon always wished to be,” Cruz told the conservative faithful.
He was quoting George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who’s been comparing Obama to Nixon relentlessly over the last year.
Turley has company. Conservative patriarch George Will opened a column last May by quoting the articles of impeachment against Nixon, suggesting that the IRS scandal had “echoes of Watergate.”
Never mind that the IRS also scrutinized liberal groups or the small fact that evidence confirming that the Obama administration gave such orders to the agency still frustratingly eludes conservatives. Will was not to be denied. A few months later, he insisted that the Obama administration’s delays to the Affordable Care Act were worse than Nixonian: they were unconstitutional.
Will eventually eased up a bit in November, saying that the first year of Obama’s second term was the worst of any president excluding Nixon, but the meme has been set (even if it makes for a weird companion to the right’s other comparison between Obama and Jimmy Carter).
The conservative historian Victor Davis Hanson did his part to cement the comparison with a column published Thursday on National Review.
Hanson not only points to the IRS, but also the arrest of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, whose film was initially blamed for the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi (Nakoula found himself in jail for a probation violation related to his 2010 bank fraud conviction), as evidence that Obama crushes his enemies like Nixon.
And Hanson seems certain that the White House had it out for Dinesh D’Souza, a fringe right-wing figure whose anti-Obama film in 2012 had no discernible effect on the election that year.
Dinesh D’Souza has written and filmed some very unflattering things about Obama. He might be as openly critical of the president as Daniel Ellsberg once was of Nixon. In January, the office of Obama-appointed U.S. attorney Preet Bharara indicted D’Souza on federal charges of violating campaign-finance laws. If convicted, D’Souza could be imprisoned for up to seven years. Usually, those accused of such transgressions face far lesser charges involving fines.
D’Souza, not surprisingly, is also pretty sure that his work prompted Obama to deploy the feds on him.