Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Bush = Nixon? Not So Fast, Says FNC’s Chris Wallace

A recent screening of the new movie “Frost/Nixon” in Washington, D.C. was followed by a question and answer session during which someone made the inevitable comparison between Bush and Nixon. This proved too much for the "fair and balanced" “FOX News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, who thought the comparison unfair:

“To compare George W. Bush to Richard Nixon is to trivialize Nixon’s crimes and is a disservice to Bush,” Wallace said. Recalling that 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, and noting that there hadn’t been any attacks on U.S. soil since, Wallace suggested that something had been done right. That’s why, he said, “we are all sitting here tonight so comfortably”—and not afraid of another terrorist attack. Moreover, Wallace said, “Richard Nixon’s crimes were committed solely for his own political gain, whereas George W. Bush was trying to protect the American people.” To suggest otherwise, Wallace insisted, “was a grave misrepresentation of history, then and now.”
Whereas it's perfectly true to state that Nixon's crimes were made solely for his own political gain, and that no similar charge could be laid at the door of Bush, it is the interpretation of executive power which both Nixon and Bush shared which many of us would list as the similarity between the two men. Nixon literally stated that crimes were not crimes when the president committed them and Bush has admitted that he had eavesdropped on American citizens without a warrant and outside of FISA, which is a federal offence, and argued that he was doing so to keep Americans safe.

The fact that what he had just admitted to was a federal crime was seemingly unimportant because he was the president and his motives were honorable.

He has also suspended habeas corpus, has engaged in extraordinary rendition, and has tortured people which is also illegal under US law.

So Wallace may have a point when he states that Nixon committed crimes for his own political gain, but that does not mean there are no similarities between Bush and Nixon.

Both men felt that the law could be ignored if the president chose to do so. That was the similarity between the two administrations.

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