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Kennedy writes: 'In a characteristic spasm of partisan apoplexy, Iowa Congressman Steve King offered a shrill algorithm: "add Watergate and Iran Contra together and multiply by ten" to calculate the tyrannical evil of the Obama scandals…. Here are some of the historical tidbits he might consider.'

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (photo: unknown)
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (photo: unknown)

Obama and Nixon: A Historical Perspective

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Reader Supported News

20 May 13


or once with good reason, the GOP is exorcised with the scandals involving the IRS targeting political groups and the FBI's spying on A.P. reporters. The broader public is legitimately concerned. However, in its classic overblown breathlessness at all things Obama, the gleeful Republican leadership is already calling for impeachment and dragging out desperate comparisons to Nixon's Watergate. This, despite caveats from its own sages not to overplay Republican good fortune. "We overreached in 1998," Newt Gingrich admitted recently. He counseled restraint to the Tea Party jihadists he helped spawn. Gingrich recalled how the GOP's scandal mongering against Clinton had only amplified Clinton's popularity and cost Republicans the 1998 mid-terms and Gingrich his speakership. But this new generation of hysterical House members immune to that wisdom, are headed straight for the feinting couch in fits of anti-Obama hysteria.

In a characteristic spasm of partisan apoplexy, Iowa Congressman Steve King offered a shrill algorithm: "add Watergate and Iran Contra together and multiply by ten" to calculate the tyrannical evil of the Obama scandals.

As usual, the Fox-fueled GOP narrative swayed the mainstream press. On May 16, Reuters' Jeff Mason interrupted Obama's press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan to ask the President, "How do you feel about the comparisons by some of your critics with the scandals of the Nixon Administration?" Obama responded with calm contempt; he would leave those comparisons to the journalists. But he urged Mason to "read some history." If Mason takes that advice, here are some of the historical tidbits he might consider.

President Richard Nixon was aware that the IRS had audited him in 1961 and 1962 and presumed those audits were politically motivated by the Kennedy White House. When, early in his Administration, Nixon learned that his friends and political allies John Wayne and Rev. Billy Graham had endured recent audits by his own IRS, Nixon boiled over. He ordered White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, "Get the word out, down to the IRS that I want them to conduct field audits on those who are our opponents." Perhaps recalling the Kennedy era audits, Nixon ordered that its investigator begin with my Uncle's, John F. Kennedy's, former campaign manager and White House aide, then Democratic Committee Chairman, Lawrence O'Brien.

Nixon's minions had the IRS set up a special internal arm "the Activist Organization Committee" in July of 1969 to audit an "enemies list" provided by Nixon. My uncle Senator Ted Kennedy was at the top of that list along with a small army of well-known journalists. The IRS later renamed its political audit squad "Special Services" or "SS" to keep its mission secret. The SS targeted over 1,000 liberal groups for audits and 4,000 individuals. The SS staff managed their files in a soundproof cell in the IRS basement.

On September 27, 1970, Nixon ordered Haldeman to get the IRS to investigate my Uncle Ted who was then the presumed frontrunner in the 1972 presidential contest, sharing the field with Edmond Muskie and Hubert Humphrey who Nixon also ordered audited.

Nixon personally put White House dirty trickster Tom Charles Huston, former president of the Young Americans for Freedom, in charge of setting up the new IRS "anti-radical squad" to make sure that the laggards in IRS's bureaucracy didn't drop the ball. Huston prepared a 43-page blueprint for Nixon outlining a government agency campaign targeting Nixon's enemies. Uncle Teddy was still at the top. The scheme included tapping phones without warrants, infiltrating organizations that had been critical of the President and, purging IRS agents who refused to tow the Republican line. Huston told the President, "we won't be in control of the government and in a position of effective leverage until such time or we have complete and total control of the top three slots" at the IRS. Nixon also enthusiastically authorized a series of "black bag jobs" including breaking into offices, homes and liberal think tanks like the Ford Foundation and the Brookings Institute which Nixon believed was home to many former Kennedy Administration officials.

As a disclaimer, Huston cautioned that the "use of this technique is clearly illegal; it amounts to burglary. It is also highly risky and could result in great embarrassment if exposed. However, it is also the most fruitful tool and can produce the kind of intelligence which cannot be obtained in any other fashion."

According to historian and Nixon biographer, Rick Perlstein, Nixon "found the document splendid." Haldeman ordered Huston to draft a formal decision memo outlining the illegal plan as a mandate to the heads of the intelligence and tax collecting agencies. Nixon ordered Haldeman and Huston to order the IRS, the FBI and the CIA to proceed with the plan.

In May 1971, Nixon used an IRS investigation of Alabama Governor George Wallace's brother, Gerald Wallace, to pressure Gov. Wallace to run for President on the Democratic ticket as a spoiler rather than on a third party ticket as he planned. The blackmail scheme succeeded and most of Wallace's white male supporters fled to the Republicans after the Democrats nominated civil rights activist George McGovern. Nixon's tactic of having Wallace run as a Democrat was an indispensable element of the White House's "southern strategy".

Four months later, on September 8, 1971, Nixon raged at his counsel and Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, John Ehrlichman, about the IRS's lack of progress on finding dirt on his enemies. "We have the power but are we using it to investigate contributors to Hubert Humphrey, to Muskie, and the Jews? You know they are stealing everybody.... you know they really tried to crucify Ho Lewis [Reader's Digest editor, Hobart Lewis, a Nixon supporter who had been audited]! Are we looking into Muskie's return? Hubert's? Hubert's been in a lot of funny deals. Teddy? Who knows about the Kennedys? Shouldn't they be investigated?"

The following week he pleaded with Haldeman to light a fire under the IRS. "Bob, please get me the names of the Jews, you know the Big Jewish contributors of the Democrats.... Could we please investigate those cocksuckers?"

The following day he replayed that tune for Ehrlichman. "You see the IRS is full of Jews that's the reason they went after Graham." Haldeman recounted in his diary, "There was a considerable discussion of the terrible problem arising from the total Jewish domination of the media. Graham has the strong feeling that the Bible says there are Satanic Jews and that's where our problem arises."

The "Jewish-controlled media" and the "liberal media" were never far from Nixon's limbic system. Nixon also bugged reporters and used bribery, blackmail attempts, forgery, spying, burglary, and extensive bugging by national police agencies and by his own "plumbers squad" to monitor and manipulate the press for political purposes. Many of the top twenty names on Nixon's political enemies list (which eventually included 47,000 Americans) were reporters. They included Daniel Schorr, Mary McGrory, Edwin Guthman and Walter Cronkite. Nixon's staff and agencies bugged their phones, investigated their sex lives, rifled their trash, and had them watched and followed. Nixon directly ordered the investigation of imagined homosexuality by columnist Jack Anderson, a devout, teetotaling Mormon with a happy marriage and nine children.

On March 24, 1972, a group of Nixon's trusted operatives including former CIA spy E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, a murderous former Dutchess county, New York prosecutor and Adolf Hitler admirer, huddled in the basement of Washington's plush Hay-Adams Hotel, across from the White House with Dr. Edward Gund, a CIA physician, poison and assassinations expert. Nixon had complained darkly to top staffers including Special Counsel Chuck Colson that Anderson was "a thorn in his side" and that "we have to do something about this son of a bitch." According to Hunt and Liddy, Colson deployed them that day saying that Nixon had ordered Colson to "Stop Anderson at all costs."

The three spooks plotted out the best way to murder Anderson including running him off the road, spiking his drink with venom, breaking into his home and lacing Anderson's aspirin bottle ("aspirin roulette") with a special toxicant undetectable by autopsy or simply shooting him with Liddy's untraceable 9mm pistol. The plot is detailed by Mark Felstein in his 2005 book, Poisoning the Press, and elsewhere. Liddy suggested painting Anderson's steering wheel with a massive dose of LSD which would cause Anderson to crash in a hallucinogenic craze. Dr. Gund warned them that the LSD would be traceable in an autopsy. They finally elected to stab Anderson outside his house. Liddy volunteered to do the bloody work and make the crime look like a bungled robbery. Luckily for Anderson, the plot fizzled and was forgotten when both conspirators were arrested shortly thereafter in the Watergate scandal while endeavoring to reset a bug in Larry O'Brien's office.

On October 6, 1971, Nixon ordered Haldeman to have the IRS audit Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler who had transformed the Times from a right wing rag into a universally respected paper by recruiting top journalists from across the nation. Chandler and his very large family were close friends of my family and had spent the summer prior to my father's death running the Colorado River with us. "I want Otis Chandler's income tax," Nixon told Haldeman. Nixon then called his Attorney General and former law partner, John Mitchel, and ordered Mitchel to fire the Los Angeles Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. "The fellow out there in the Immigration Services is a kike by the name of Rosenberg." The President explained to Mitchel, "He is to be out." Fulminating on, Nixon told Mitchel, "I want you to direct the most trusted person you have in the Immigration Service to look at all the activities of the Los Angeles Times... let me explain as a Californian, I know everybody in California hires them... Otis Chandler... I want him checked with regard to his gardener. I understand he is a wetback. Is that clear?" When the Attorney General replied, "Yes, sir." Nixon crowed triumphantly, "We're going after the Chandlers! Every one, individually and collectively, their income taxes... every one of those sons of bitches."

In August of 1972, Edmund Muskie withdrew as George McGovern's Vice Presidential running mate. After my Uncle Ted demurred at McGovern's request that he join the ticket, McGovern recruited another of my uncles, Sargent Shriver. On August 9, Nixon had a meeting with his staff to discuss how to destroy the Democrats. Turning to Haldeman, he asked, "What in the name in of God are we doing on this one? What are we doing about the financial contributors? Now those lists there... are we looking over the financial contributions to the Democratic Committee? Are we running their income tax returns? Is the Justice Department checking to see if there are any anti-trust suits? We have all this power and were not using it. Now what the Christ is the matter? In other words I'm just thinking for example if there is information on Larry O'Brien. What is being done? Who is doing this full-time? What in the name of God are we doing?" Nixon abruptly narrowed his sights on McGovern's top contributor, Henry Kimmelman, and said emphatically, "Scare the shit out of him," He repeated the order to Ehrlichman, "Scare the shit out of him. Now there are some Jews with the mafia and they are involved with this too!"

George Schultz was now Treasury Secretary. Nixon directed Haldeman to order Schultz to audit Kimmelman. "Everybody thinks George is an honest, decent man," Nixon observed contemptuously. "George has got a fantasy... what's he trying to do say? That you can't play politics with the IRS? Just tell George he should do it." Three days later Nixon had Kimmelman's tax returns as well Larry O'Brien's who had by then agreed to manage McGovern's faltering campaign and whose office would be the target of the Watergate break-in.

On March 12, 1973, even with the erupting Watergate scandal and its related Congressional investigations incinerating his presidency, Nixon was still intent on using the IRS to disable his enemies. That day he asked Haldeman, "What happened to the suggestion that the IRS run audits on all the members of Congress?"

Those who bother to read these historical snippets will find many important departures and only tenuous parallels between the Obama Administration's IRS affair and Richard Nixon's Watergate-era IRS scandal. A principal distinction is the ingredient of direct presidential involvement. President Nixon was the fulcrum, the visionary and the principal conspirator in his various capers to use the IRS as a political weapon. Nixon personally directed and persistently harangued his staff to audit, investigate and gather dirt on his enemies for personal purposes. Nixon went to reckless extremes even punishing IRS agents who refused to participate in his vendetta. A mean-spirited viciousness and his contagious enthusiasm for law breaking were also distinctive Nixon bailiwicks. In contrast, there is no evidence that Obama even knew of the IRS investigations which were presided over by Donald Shulman, a Bush appointee. The most recent evidence indicate that the Tea Party audits resulted not from intentional political targeting of conservatives from the sheer preponderous of Tea Party applications among the hundreds of 501(c)(4) tax exemption requests that deluged a tiny understaffed IRS field office. The 200 demoralized officials, already drowning in tax exemption petitions, also audited several liberal groups including Progress Texas and Sea Shepard. Detailed reporting in Sunday's New York Times indicates that the problem arose because the Cleveland branch is already debilitated and overwhelmed by years of personnel and budget cuts, now aggravated by the sequestration -- and confused by new rules applying to the cascade of political "charities" unleashed by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. The GOP's comparisons of today's IRS blunders to the Watergate era scandals broadcast a willful blindness toward history.

As to the A.P. eavesdropping scandal, any spying directed at journalists should set off fire alarms in a democracy. The Associated Press is justified in its outrage at the Justice Department caper. Fear that a reporter's phone may be bugged will inhibit disclosures and discussions with the many secret sources and whistleblowers upon whom journalists rely to keep our democracy transparent and our public informed.

Obama's Justice Department's eavesdropping on the Associated Press, however, is in no way analogous to Nixon era bugging. The Obama eavesdropping was an, unfortunately, legal investigation of national security leaks involving a Nigerian terrorist bomber planning to blow up an American airliner en route from Amsterdam to New York. Nixon's bugging in contrast was illegal and his purposes were political and personal having little or nothing to do with national security.

Many states have "journalist shield" laws that make eavesdropping on reporters illegal and give a limited, but critical privilege to the relationship between journalists and their sources. Obama has long promised to support federal shield legislation. This week, apparently motivated by damage control, he finally asked Senate leaders to produce a federal shield law, a reform that could transform this scandal into a national plus for American democracy. That legislation will require GOP support. Republicans could also work with the White House to find adequate funding and training for the IRS and remedy the morale and governance problems in Cleveland. The big question now, is whether Republicans will sideline genuine reform in their efforts to exploit the "scandal". Republican legislators have apparently been ordered by their leadership to hold scandal-mongering hearings but to stall any legislation for genuine reform. The real scandal is the Republican party's devotion to grandstanding over governance and its preference for slime over substance.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-57 # Richard Raznikov 2013-05-20 10:57
The Obama-backed 'shield law' exempts the President and anything said to cover the vague 'national security' definition. It's not a reform and it does not protect the press in its most critical function: investigating the worst of presidential abuses. Nixon was a dangerous, crazy man and a bad President. But in terms of policies, both on civil liberties and foreign wars, Obama is not much better, if at all.
-20 # SMoonz 2013-05-20 12:50
Funny how Obama wants to talk about Shield laws but he was against them only weeks ago.
+29 # bmiluski 2013-05-20 14:51
I wonder if Obama had tried to back a "shield law" weeks ago would the republicans then have stopped it? Now that they're making all this hoopla might they not have to support it?
-22 # JackB 2013-05-20 14:10
I see you now know the green & red numbers in the upper right hand corner of the post rarely monitor whether the posting is correct or incorrect. They are "happiness" values. If the folks liked what they read you get a lot of green. If they didn't you get a lot of red.

The articles chosen preach to the choir & the numbers usually reflect the choir's approval.
+29 # bmiluski 2013-05-20 14:52
So, change choirs......... Go and sing somewhere else.
+26 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 18:54
Ha, Ha bmiluski! Love your post, man!!! Hey, remember the saying "dick Nixon before he dicks you?"
+4 # Rick Levy 2013-05-20 19:58
Sounds like the counterpart of the "silent majority" of the 1960's against leftist dissenters: "If you don't like it, go to Russia".

Meet the new boss...
0 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 18:54
No one's telling him to leave the country. No one's saying he can't complain. He can complain all he likes, but maybe he'd be better served around fellow right-wing lunatics who agree with him. Instead, he'd rather whine about the fact that most of us disagree with him. bmiluski had every right to use that same conservative adage against a loudmouthed conservative. I see nothing wrong with that.
-5 # David Heizer 2013-05-21 20:50
Is everyone critical of and/or unhappy with Obama therefore a "right-wing lunatic" in your book?

Jack B is right; the red and green buttons here have nothing to do with the intelligence or salience of a comment, but are only the RSN equivalent of the "Like" button, an effortless way of flipping the bird for people who have nothing useful to contribute.
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 22:56
No. I'm not a right-wing lunatic. Have you ever read any comment by me?

Only the right-wing lunatics who only complain about Obama because they have a right-wing lunatic agenda to put another version of President Cheney in the White House are the ones I'm complaining about.

Of course thumbs have nothing to do with the correctness of a response. Who said they did? Do you have a problem with people voicing their opinion on these threads when they don't agree with yours? I'm not pouting about the -2 I have. Why do right-wing lunatics have to pout that the rest of us don't agree with them? There's a BIG world of opinion outside of Fox News, the Drudge Report, and AM radio. Deal with it.
+3 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 23:08
The only substantive criticism of the Obama Administration is coming from the left. It's been the left that was complaining about the fact that he campaigned as one of us, but has governed as a center-right Republican.

The right is only criticizing him because he won the election and is the way of them further enacting their entire agenda (pushing even further beyond the right-wing goals of the bush jr. administration) .
+5 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 23:44
It's only right-wingers who think the left is incapable of anger toward President Obama. Right-wingers live in a world of black and white with no nuance or thought below the surface. To right-wingers, if anyone is angry at a right-wing Democratic president, the ONLY solution to the problem MUST be to replace him with a right-wing Republican, even if that anger is directed at the fact that he's too CONSERVATIVE to represent the people who elected him.

Right-wingers are the ones trying to present us with a phony choice between a right-wing Democratic president, and a looney FAR right alternative from the Republican Party, never acknowledging the fact that a TRUE alternative would be one that actually comes from the left.

American politicians representing the left are few and far between right now. The right has won the war of attrition and its prize is an incredibly fractured, disheartened, dehumanized, and angry country that's been sold to thieves for the price of an endless supply of dirty fossil fuel and our children's doubtful futures.

Part of their game plan is always to blame the failure of their own philosophy on the left. Luckily for them, they have a Democratic President in the White House right now (the 2nd one in a row) that tows the conservative line and takes all the flack for furthering a right-wing agenda, but does it on behalf of the left, while the actual left is entirely absent from the decisions made by our government.
+2 # tm7devils 2013-05-20 19:46
Happiness - green, green, green - would be if you got alzheimers and forgot how to log onto the internet...
-124 # egbegb 2013-05-20 11:50
If I change every "Nixon" above to "Obama" do we have any proof the changed article is in any way in error?
+93 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 12:28
If you read the article and had been paying attention in history class you'd know there's about a million major differences - not that that would fit your agenda.
-61 # edge 2013-05-20 12:56
Quoting Billy Bob:
If you read the article and had been paying attention in history class you'd know there's about a million major differences - not that that would fit your agenda.

Does YOUR Playboy have a picture of Obama as the d does your arm get tired?
+24 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 14:47
Way to keep it classy. You're a service to your agenda.
+16 # bmiluski 2013-05-20 14:52
Oh EDGE,........ really??????
-20 # edge 2013-05-20 16:25
Quoting bmiluski:
Oh EDGE,........ really??????

OBAMA can never be wrong according to some of you!
GROW up sometimes he is and when you don't admit it then you look like a fraud.
+29 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 17:01
Obama has always been way too conservative. I've always said that. Haven't you been paying attention. Most of the people who post on RSN are still pissed off at President Obama about something or another he's done to compromise with the Republican Party at our expense after we elected him.

Of course the answer to that isn't MORE conservativism, which is all you and your side can offer.

And, when you start to blame bush for what he did to destroy our country during his 8 years (i.e. torture, multiple unfunded wars based on lies, the Patriot Act, 9-11, not to mention spying on all Americans' emails, phone calls, etc. and openly admitting it, etc.) without constantly pretending it never happened, you can start talking trash.

Until then, the childish masturbation references just help show your true colors.
+1 # Vegan_Girl 2013-05-24 10:03
These people are not conservatives. They are right wing extremists calling themselves conservatives. I think it is time we stopped letting them get away with it.

I agree with everything else in you post.
+16 # Phlippinout 2013-05-20 21:21
Actually Edge, I know he is wrong too, so were the ones before him and probably after him, I dont dislike Obama any more than i disliked any of the empirical corporate sluts that occupy Whiteys house, but given the same choices, same election, I would vote for him over MItt Romney any day at all! Too damn bad we dont have any real people to vote for.
+7 # bingers 2013-05-21 14:36
You're right, sometimes he is wrong, usually when he goes along with the feces started by Bush and supported by Republicans. Face it, Obama is a moderate conservative at a time when the country desparately needs complete conteol by actual liberals if we are to survive as a democratic republic, rather than a screw everybody except the obscenely rich oligarchy.
+21 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 12:36
Are you fucking insane!!!??? Didn't you read the article??? Well, perhaps you should read and comprehend the article BEFORE fucking commenting.
+7 # bmiluski 2013-05-20 14:53
Oh come on TODD. Such an intelligent person as yourself can surely come up with a better word than ?
+13 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 18:58
Well, maybe... But actually, no! It is the most versatile word in the English language. And was a favorite of my favorite junkie comedian, Lenny Bruce. Can be used as a noun, adjective, verb and adverb. It's my favorite word, especially when I am extremely pissed off, like when Edge posts his drivel. So there you have it, in a nutshell.
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 18:50
I agree with Todd to an extent. These threads have long since thrown out the need for "decorum". If the word's good enough for DICK cheney, then we should be allowed to use it too. I don't use it much, but I can see where it's a useful interjection (see "Schoolhouse Rock" video about interjections).
+18 # Working Class 2013-05-20 12:56
Quoting egbegb:
If I change every "Nixon" above to "Obama" do we have any proof the changed article is in any way in error?

We have the same level of proof that would be used to determine the sanity of trying to prove a negative. We should not have to prove the allegation of every wing-nut's imagination. The Nixon record is established fact. On the other hand what you suggest is just the ramblings of a sad example of what is wrong in the capital and unfortunately much of the “news” agencies.
+41 # lhufford 2013-05-20 11:59
Great article, but there is one error. Thomas Eagleton was McGovern's first VP nominee, not Edmund Muskie.
+60 # NanFan 2013-05-20 12:00
Awesome and frightening look back on the most egregiously criminal -- before W -- administration in the White House today.

Mr. King of Iowa should be ousted next election time. He's a rabid "slime over substance" Republican who uses classic Hitlerian propaganda to squirrel up the people.

Thanks, Mr. Kennedy, for an amazing analysis and contrast sorely needed in response to King and other Republicans out to "get" Obama, no matter what!

-43 # jtatu 2013-05-20 12:27
No one is really interested in defending Nixon. Why does Nixon's conduct help the Obama administration? All Obama can say is that he is not involved with manageing the Executive branch. He is to busy praising himself.
+39 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 13:02
The right-wing is bringing up Nixon to try to exonerate itself. They still can't bring themselves to bring up bush jr. president Cheney. They really don't want to remind voters that that's who they elected the last time they got a chance.

The idea is to make scandals out of everything so the people who voted against the Republican agenda, still won't be able to get their way.

They'll do the same thing to President Clinton in a few years when she's in office.
+18 # Doll 2013-05-20 16:53
Billy Bob,

Don't they always use that same old tired refrain. I'm really getting sick of it.

Check out Media Matters for a flowchart comparing Nixon's misuse of the IRS and Obama's.

I'm rooting for Elizabeth Warren for the next prez.
+11 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 17:12
I'm rooting for Elizabeth Warren too. Right now, she's the only politician I can think of that could both: win, AND actually follow through on a liberal agenda. I also like the fact that she's chosen to do it IN the Democratic Party rather than standing on the sidelines and pretending she can make the two-party reality of our country go away by idle fantasies.

If she'd compete in the primaries against Hillary Clinton toe-to-toe she might stand a real chance of winning. Clinton would literally throw everything at her but the kitchen sink because she feels entitled to the presidency at this point (like the tantrum she had over Obama's nomination), but Warren is pretty tough herself. I wouldn't expect her to just sit there and take it.

What we need right now is another FDR. And Elizabeth Warren is the ONLY politician I can think of that could possibly pull that off.

I just wish she'd hire me as her chief campaign advisor. I know how she could win over conservative dominated states.
+19 # bmiluski 2013-05-20 14:55
Could you please give us an example of how President Obama is busy praising himself. You people keep making accusations but are unable to prove with facts. But then again, that's typical.
+15 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 19:05
Yes, the entire GOP agenda is based on trying to discredit Obama by using half truths and outright lies. There is not one single positive point in their ranting. Their base is marginally educated and barely sane. Their media front are total liars on all levels. The GOP has stooped to the lowest of lows ever and in my opinion, has totaly lost any iotta of credibility they ever had. Disgusting.
-8 # jtatu 2013-05-21 11:27
"I am the one we've been waiting for."
By the way who are "you people".
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 18:47
"I am the one we've been waiting for."

Huh? You'll have to explain that one. Are you quoting yourself? Did you use the quotes accidentally?

As for "you people", he was talking to YOU, so I guess "you people" would have to be the group YOU belong to (right-wing knee-jerk conservatives who are incapable of holding up your own end of an argument, and unable to see your own unbelievable hypocricy).
-3 # jtatu 2013-05-22 13:59
I am quoting Barak Obama.
+1 # NanFan 2013-05-22 14:53
Quoting jtatu:
I am quoting Barak Obama.

jtatu ~ You can't even SPELL Barack Obama, let alone understand any kind of contrast of his actions in his presidency to those of Nixon in his sicko presidency.

+1 # Billy Bob 2013-05-22 14:58
Cite the quote. Where did you get it from. I'd like to see your resources. Do you have a link?
0 # jtatu 2013-05-29 09:35
Quoting Billy Bob:
Cite the quote. Where did you get it from. I'd like to see your resources. Do you have a link?

Sorry, I did mis-quote the President. He actually said, "We are the ones we've been waiting for." He said it on multiple occasions including campaign speeches and in a speech delivered in Germany. I understand that he borrowed it from Alice Walker, another radical nut, like Rev. Wright, that our President admires.
+1 # c.e. taylor 2013-05-24 00:54
You can't spell, you can't quote, and you can't think. Other than that ... great job.

I wonder if Charles Krauthammer is pleased to hear you quoting him - Does he smirk or snicker upon seeing that when he puts words in Obama's mouth, he's got "you people" out there swallowing it all hook, line and sinker?

And look at the legs his fairy tale has had. Krauthammer put those words in Obama's mouth back in July 2008 -- and here you are spouting him as gospel 5 years later.

You've been had. "You people" have all been had - you swallow everything the Krauthammers and Limbaughs and Becks of your world spoonfeed you. And you don't just believe it. You go to war over it.

Man oh man.
+9 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 19:00
Bull puckey, I say! (see bilmuski, I don't have to use the word "fuck").
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 23:47
Hey! You said "fuck" again! Now I've said it!

Did you ever see the Monty Python "saying Jehovah" sketch from "The Life of Brian"?
+4 # bingers 2013-05-21 14:47
Boy, it's close, but I think jtatu may have posted the Cheneyest ignorance of the day. 8^)
+15 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 12:30
"John King of Iowa should be ousted next election time. He's a rabid "slime over substance" Republican who uses classic Hitlerian propaganda to squirrel up the people."

-Apparently you're unaware that the only challenge he faces in that district is if someone even farther to the right (if possible?) challenged him in the primary.
+10 # bingers 2013-05-21 14:45
Actually, the Reagan presidency was the most corrupt in history with over 100 felony indictments arising from staff and cabinet actions, not including the proven fact of Reagan's treason.

But Nixon's felonies, while not as deep as the Reagan ones, was a far wider spread of felonies.

And dumbya was, well dumb and more easily manipulated by the scum he surrounded himself with.
+56 # MichaelArchAngel 2013-05-20 12:15
As the electorate ages and dies we forget the lessons of the past and only a prodigious effort at learning and knowing history can avoid making mistakes once learned but now forgotten.
-20 # HowardMH 2013-05-20 14:06
Until there are thousands of really, really pissed off people on Capital Hill all at the same time – with base ball bats, or 2 x 2s) raising some serious hell against the Lunatics, and idiots absolutely nothing is ever, ever going to happen to these totally bought and paid for by the richest 50 people in the world that are becoming more and more powerful with each passing rigged election thanks to the stupid people.

How much success have you had with the TOTALLY NON VIOLENT protests over the last few years?

I’m no fan of Sarah’s but this comment is just so appropriate. So how is that Hopei, Changie working out for you now?
+9 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 16:12
The problem with your scenario is that it's stupid and suicidal. If you really wanted to protest the conservative whoredom the only way available is a general strike.
+5 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 19:07
Oh, I think you ARE A BIG FAN of Sarah The Stupid. Come on now. Admit it. You love that shit head from Alaska!
+9 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 21:27
You mean "Mooselini"?

The "Tyrant of the Tundra"?

The "Helicopter Assailant"?

"Michelle Bachmann's Crazy Cousin"?

"The Great White Whore of the Great White North"?

"Our Last Line of Defense Against Russian Invasion"?

"The Winking Witch of Winter"?
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 23:56
"The Frozen Fascist"?

"The Idiot of the Iditerod"?
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-05-22 12:03
"The Big Gulp Bigot"?
+4 # Billy Bob 2013-05-22 12:06
"The Siberian Hussy"?
+14 # tomo 2013-05-20 12:34
RFK, Jr.,'s account of Nixon misdeeds is thoughtfully written and contains material--on George Schultz, for instance--of which I was not previously aware. Nonetheless, I feel the article is very misguided. I am wondering when we Democrats will grow tired of the justification-b y-citing-of-wor se-precedents arguments we have been adducing for the last four and a half years in defense of all the bad things Obama has been doing, and more especially for all the Hamlet-like things our chief law-enforcement officer has not been doing. In notable ways I think Obama is more dangerous than either Nixon or W. because he is normalizing the abdication of our system of law, particularly of our bill of rights. That he is promising he is about to do otherwise should, in the light of his track record of four and a half years, give no one confidence.
+13 # MJnevetS 2013-05-20 15:44
Tomo, you misunderstood the intent of the article. It is NOT Democrats justifying presidential behavior in relation to past Republican crimes. This was written in response to Iowa Congressman, Steve King's comment "add Watergate and Iran Contra together and multiply by ten" to calculate the tyrannical evil of the Obama scandals. It is actually the Republicans stating that Obama is worse than the 2nd most despised Republican president (they won't mention G.W.Bush). Nonetheless, as Mr. Kennedy has amply demonstrated, the analogy just doesn't hold water. It has never been Democrats pointing to the despicable acts of past Republican presidents; shockingly, it is Republicans pointing to the despicable acts of past Republican presidents and saying 'Obama is just as bad'. Unfortunately for them, anyone who can READ and THINK would know it is not true. (regarding the IRS scandal)
0 # tomo 2013-05-22 22:56
The IRS scandal is a tempest in a teapot. The attack on whats left of the press is a tempest.
+5 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 19:10
Sorry, Tomo. I totally disagree with you. I'm not sure what you meant by praising the article then proceeding to disagree with its premise. I have confidence in Obama. And yea, he's not perfect. But you tell me who is a perfect president. I know for sure it wasn't Nixon .
+18 # Milarepa 2013-05-20 12:34
Twice the KKK Republicans got on their horses to go lynch themselves that uppity nigra. Both times he gave them a terrible horsewhippin'. If Nixon were still active he'd be riding with them, and he'd get whipped too. The KKK Republicans just can't get it through their heads that he will always whup 'em. Any time of day, any day. I'm not fond of Obama, far from it, but I sure like what he does to the KKK.
+15 # jmac9 2013-05-20 12:36
Republicans are a disaster to you...

Where's the mention of how Karl Rove and other Teabag and Republican scammers were illegally squirreling up their "non-profit' status groups to pack in campaign money and illegally use the cash for political campaigning...A s this is illegal activity -
Seems the IRS might want to be looking into those groups.

But this whole system is such a sham. Criminal Bankers get paid off with your tax money. The Bankers - like Wells Fargo, HSBC, Bank America are caught money laundering illegal drug gang profits.
Corporations get your tax money to send their operation overseas and cut your American jobs...Republic an won't stop giving your tax money to Oil companies...

and then we're told by the Attorney General of the Nation - that such business enterprises are above the law -
'too big to jail'-
are you too big to jail?
+15 # vgirl1 2013-05-20 12:40
Outstanding article that puts all of this into perspective. In so doing, it again highlights the extremism of the TPRepublican party, as they use all the sinister and vitriolic language they can muster and take all the obstructionist actions they can to undermine this presidency and the people's faith in government. American electorate, stay alert. Do not be bamboozled by those who really don't have your best interest at heart, namely the Taliban mimicking, TPrepublican party.
+3 # frederico 2013-05-20 12:45
You sound like all the other wine and cheese liberals and "progressive" Obama enablers. He is guilty of genocide, torture, anonymous assassinations, etc, etc...Just like Nixon, the Bush's, Andrew Jackson, Reagan and others.
Your Father was the last great hope America had before going down the path of corporate military control of the planet. That's why he was killed. Wake up dude!
-11 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 19:13
Oh, for God sake. To who's Father are you referring?
+9 # Regina 2013-05-21 00:29
Robert Kennedy, Sr., shot dead in 1968 during his presidential campaign, was the father of the author, RFK, Jr. Heads up! Or is "think" missing from your vocabulary?
+5 # Todd Williams 2013-05-21 07:24
I didn't realize that frederico was writing directly to Robert Kennedy. I usually doon't respond to these articles as if the author was rewading RSN comments. Sorry for being so fucking ignorant, regina. And "think" is not missing from my vocabulary. Nice comment, regina.
+5 # tomo 2013-05-21 01:36
I think that frederico is addressing himself to RFK, Jr. "Your Father" refers then to RFK.
-3 # vgirl1 2013-05-20 21:24
Sick comment.
+13 # vgirl1 2013-05-20 12:48
It is also worth noting how eager the complicit media is in joining the TPRepublican, over the top, misinformation messaging on the 3 current issues of the IRS, AP and Benghazi. What is sad is that a lot of so-called progressive media is playing into their hands as well, by also calling these issues "scandals" instead of issues. As long as left-wing media are willing to perpetuate the TPrepublican, sensationalist, over the top description of what we are looking at, it gives shelter and credence to the malice contained in the words of the TPrepublicans and their right wing vitriolic machine.
+3 # bingers 2013-05-21 14:54
What progressive media? It's nearly 100% conservative owned, even MSNBC. I guess the progressive media is The Nation.
+2 # Billy Bob 2013-05-21 18:43
I love it when MSNBC is considered liberal (in between constant commercials for natural gas, the oil industry, and coal)
+8 # motamanx 2013-05-20 13:10
Steve King is an empty suit, parroting what the Koch Brothers told him to say.
+20 # Martha Luehrmann 2013-05-20 13:18
Thank you, Robert. Thank heavens for someone who knows his history. "Lest we forget!"
+17 # giraffee2012 2013-05-20 13:34
There is nothing much in common between Nixon and Obama. The IRS targeted the TP party Super Pacs but remember the TP scream "NO" to taxes and claim big govt is the problem (even though they request $$ help when their state goes under-water, so to speak)

The law used by the TP to evade paying taxes on their Super-Pacs was written to include ONLY non-political "Pacs" and although somebody (not Congress or the Supremes) changed the wording - it is still a fact that "Pacs" used for political agendas are NOT exempt from taxation on their anonymous "Pacs" of $$.

So, the GOP is going after the IRS - although the GOP-TP are screaming against President Obama (as usual) they do not get to what "we the people" care about: Tax evaders. Somebody should enforce the law and Congress should re-word the "law" so there is no ambiguity "who is tax exempt"

But - the TP-GOP have but one agenda and it ain't "for the people - or the 99%" -- it is to hope to win elections in 2014 and 2016 by blurring the lines of guilt and over-stepping whatever vague law...

Remember folks: Nobody is putting the Banksters in Jail or even raising hell about their stealing (false forclures, etc) and other pranks that take our jobs, salaries, and money and ....

1. President Obama must attack back with a change in the wording of the "law" used by the IRS to "target" TP "pacs"
2. Dems must expose each unproven rhetorical false statement by GOP/TP
+14 # Leadyourself 2013-05-20 15:12
Brilliant piece,Bob,but who cares what you say
(Bill vandenHeuval hired me to create the advertising
for your father's (my Hero) Presidential campaign,and
I've been talking like this ever since.)
Water ; that's your subject,and New York
water's been cleaner because of your Hudson
River vision.
Could you now knock heads together in
the White House to save the Great Lakes?
They contain almost 25% of all the
FRESH WATER on Earth and are surrounded
by FIFTY defective Nuclear Reactors. Any ONE
going kablooey will destroy 1 out of every 4
glasses of drinking water on Earth.
I don't our planet's 7 Billion People can
afford to lose 25% of their drinking water,
do you?
Hey,wars have been fought over WATER
for 5,000 years.
I'm sure the people in the states the
Great Lakes touch (Michigan,Illinois,Wisconsin,
Ohio)and Canada will help you.
Your name is Robert Kennedy.

(I'm from Michigan, so you can count
on me--Larry Brown,

Again,kick-ass writing here.
0 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 19:16
Yes, I agree with you Larry. But what's also kool is that Robert is a kayaker!!!
-2 # engelbach 2013-05-20 15:27
So Nixon was worse than Obama. BFD.

Nixon did not succeed, as Bush and Obama have done, at defying the Constitution and enacting into law anti-civil liberties legislation.

Even Nixon's hatchet man, Spiro Agnew, could only impotently spew his garbage about "nattering nabobs of negativity" without being able to enforce his anti-student, anti-working class bigotry with changes to the law.

But side-by-side comparisons of Nixon and Obama are meaningless. We're stuck with the corporatocracy of the two ruling class parties that we have now.

Kennedy is making one more attempt to defend Obama — our current war criminal in a long line of them — by excusing his flip-flop on shield laws and direct action against whistle blowers, and actually justifying the intrusion into the AP's private phone records because it was "legal."

Laughable, Bobby Jr.

Labor Party 2016.
-4 # Todd Williams 2013-05-20 19:17
Will nothing satisfy you, engelbach?
+5 # vgirl1 2013-05-20 21:29
Where have you been, Nixon resigned to avoid a BIPARTISAN consensus vote to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors (ie to impeach him for his actions that went against his oath to obey the Constitution and other laws of the USA).

Boy, you TPrepublicans sure have no shame at being ignorant and ever so willing to try to re-write history.
+17 # hkatzman 2013-05-20 15:33
501-c(4) is tax exempt for non-political purposes. If the right-wing decides to uses this for political means, then of course the IRS should go after illegal applications.

Tea Party is a political group. So anyone using Tea Party in its name or purpose should be suspected of being political and therefore not eligible for tax-exempt status.

So, what exactly is the scandal?
+13 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 17:22
The scandal is that the IRS DID NOTHING WRONG. In fact the IRS was doing exactly what it's supposed to do. I don't want to pay taxes when some brazzenly political group doesn't have to.

The rest of the scandal is that Republicans will always look for scandals whenever there's a Democrat in the White House, even if they have to manufacture them out of thin air.

Oh yeah... And another scandal would be the fact that, once again, Obama just folded under political pressure, rather than doing the right thing and defending the fact that the IRS was doing the right thing.
+21 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-05-20 15:33
If you think that Nixon and Watergate were bad, read Walsh's report on Iran Contra. Reagan was guilty (without even knowing it) but George H.W.Bush is one of the worst scumbags ever in government. Yes, even worse than his father Prescott and his dumb ass son George W. We haven't had a decent person in the White House since Jimmy Carter (and he was a weakling). Robert Kennedy Jr, has the brains, expertise, and name recognition to be our next President. Pick Elizabeth Warren as your V.P. and you are sure to win. Take back our government. The corporations and our military are killing us. Run, Bobby, run.
+14 # Billy Bob 2013-05-20 17:26
I agree with everything in your comment with two exceptions:

1. Reagan KNEW EXACTLY what he was doing. The phony memory loss and stupidity was an act because, afterall, he was an actor. He was playing the part of a simpleton for sympathy, just like when he pretended he "couldn't hear" reporters' questions when they were questions he didn't want to answer anyway.

2. An even better idea might be for Elizabeth Warren to run for president and pick Robert Kennedy Jr. as HER V.P.
+4 # mjc 2013-05-21 09:24
Interesting blog. The Republicans DO get shrill the closer they think they are to another big election loss. Robert Kennedy was indeed getting too close to becoming the Democrat candidate for president when he was assassinated. Hillary Clinton also seems to have the momentum now for 2016 and that is very scary for the GOP. The only Republican I have any respect for these days is Menendez. On one of the Sunday pundit shows he really outdid even the Democrats on the platform Anyone else notice how at least of those tv shows had a disproportionat e number of Republicans or leaning that way on making it seem as if Obama WAS impeachable?
+3 # mjc 2013-05-21 09:25
Or even vice versa. Great ticket, Billy Bob.
+2 # bingers 2013-05-21 15:05
Quoting Billy Bob:
I agree with everything in your comment with two exceptions:

1. Reagan KNEW EXACTLY what he was doing. The phony memory loss and stupidity was an act because, afterall, he was an actor. He was playing the part of a simpleton for sympathy, just like when he pretended he "couldn't hear" reporters' questions when they were questions he didn't want to answer anyway.

2. An even better idea might be for Elizabeth Warren to run for president and pick Robert Kennedy Jr. as HER V.P.

Two things, back in 1980 I was a Republican precinct captain and got to spend a little time with reagan. I can guarantee that he wasn't play acting the part of simpleton. It was obvious to me that he had Alzheimers and I told people that at the time. I remained a Republican at that time and Voted for John Anderson, but I now believe that he was one of the very worst presidents in history.

Granted, he wasn't dumb, and on some days I'm sure he was in posession of all his faculties, but what you need in a president is for them to be in control of their faculties 24/7/365 (or 366)

But he was actually a warm friendly guy, so it's hard to understand why he did so many things that damaged the people.

Secondly, we may be well aware of Elizabeth Warren, but 95% of the people have no idea who she is, A Kennedy/ Warren ticket would be a lot stronger than vice versa. Then she could be VP for 8 and President for 8.
+6 # ishmael 2013-05-21 00:02
"The GOP's comparisons of today's IRS blunders to the Watergate era scandals broadcast a willful blindness toward history."

Almost. It is blatant lying. GOPee leadership is well aware of the rampant paranoia among its pathetic rank-and-file membership and it is attempting, unsucessfully, to fabricate a scandal out of thin air. No word from the Party of No about how leftish organizations were also targeted.

US GOP, you really do despise the US as much as Nixon did.

You are in the wrong country.
+5 # Milarepa 2013-05-21 00:38
Twice the Republican KKK got on their horses to lynch that black man. Twice he disarmed them and horsewhipped them silly. It has never occurred to the KKK that a black man could be smarter than they are. So they'll get horsewhipped again and again by this same black guy. Not that they'll ever learn ...
+3 # ishmael 2013-05-21 09:34
And they will try to deny again and again, any logical relationship to their beloved KKK. Pathetic.

Any responses, GOPee?
+2 # bingers 2013-05-21 15:08
Since the Boston Tea Party was a protest against a tax CUT for British merchants could we please stop calling them Tea Party and start calling them what they truly are, used Toilet Paper Republicans.
+1 # ishmael 2013-05-21 18:09
People who really know them and their hypocrisy and hatred have been calling them that for years.
0 # charsjcca 2013-05-21 20:03
It strikes me as strange that any informed person would expect otherwise. I have not knowingly used a secure telephone since 1963. I live under the shadow of the IRS. Sending mail to me keeps the post office in the black.
0 # Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg 2013-05-22 15:46
Nixon's spying was personally motivated while Obama is an organization man through and through. He's a product of the intelligence services (His mother was very obviously CIA, the machine politics of Chicago, the Rhodes-Milner Fabian mindset that gives socialism a bad name in the UK and America. So his spying is strictly business. Nixon's spying and malicious IRS audits naturally led to outrage by other elements of the elites who had suffered from it. The current administration is just on autocratic autopilot, grinding down anyone who exposes the Empire's malfeasance - left, right or wingnut.
+1 # Billy Bob 2013-05-22 18:00
The current administration is also just continuing with policies it inherited, but no one on the right seemed to concerned about at the time.

S.O.S. = Selective Outrage Syndrome
0 # frederico 2013-05-23 06:22
Regina and Tomo, Thanks for the clarifications.

+9 # Regina 2013-05-20 22:29
Robert Kennedy, Sr., shot dead in 1968 during his presidential campaign, was the father of the author, RFK, Jr.

+5 # tomo 2013-05-20 23:36
I think that frederico is addressing himself to RFK, Jr. "Your Father" refers then to RFK

Yes, I was addressing the author, RFK, Jr., who's Father we deperately needed to lead the nation back then. Now, the election system doesn't work at all. The delusional RFK, Jr. joins Bill Maher, Michael Moore and many otherwise brilliant people in defending Obama the murderer, and in thinking that we can vote our way out of the toilet flush of amEriKa that is happening, as we speak. Good riddance to that America, it was a huge lie from day one. If they, and the rest of us don't fully grasp that reality ASAP, we won't be able to re-invent the good America that all sane people desperately need and want. Fuck the current totally rotten systems. We need millions of feet on the ground to reinvent a consensus direct American Democracy, based on mutual Respect, Common Sense and the Golden Rule. The Iroquois Confederacy had it right, but we left out the parts about all of us actually being equal, and the successful leadership by Women.
0 # c.e. taylor 2013-05-24 01:10
Robert, I'm surprised at this mistake: It was Thomas Eagleton who resigned and your uncle replaced on the 1972 ticket, not Ed Muskie.

Aside from that, a jarring article that is well warranted. I lived through all of that history and yet I'd forgotten some aspects of just how pervasively insidious it was.

I'm of the generation and the stripe that died in an enduring way the night your father did. It was the profoundest "third strike and i/we were out."

Good wishes in the causes you fight. I live by your father's adaptation of the G.B. Shaw quote, "Some people look at things and ask 'why?'; I look at things and ask 'why not?' ... You carry that torch of his well.

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