Monday, January 23, 2006

“I Am Not a Crook, Either”

[[Q U O T A B L E]] * Salon columnist Bruce Reed wrote the other day that he’s been struck by “how much George W. Bush has morphed in Democratic minds into Richard Nixon.” The comparisons are understandable, given the two presidents’ reflexive secrecy ... their paranoia about, and efforts to silence, their critics ... their dubious acts, leading to scandal ... and their determined prosecutions of unpopular wars. But sometimes, even the words coming out of Bush’s mouth sound like he’s channeling Tricky Dick.

Here’s Nixon on November 17, 1973, asserting his innocence at the height of the Watergate scandal:
“…people have got to know whether or not their President’s a crook. Well, I am not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.”
Now, here’s Bush earlier today, asserting his innocence at what may be merely the crescendo of the scandal kicked up by his domestic spying program:
“It’s amazing that people say to me, ‘Well, he’s just breaking the law.’ If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?”
Of course, the truth is that Bush kept his spying campaign secret from most members of Congress, and ignored objections from the few Democrats who knew about it (see here, here, here, and here). Furthermore, even the non-partisan Congressional Research Service has flatly rejected the White House’s repeated argument that the prez, in authorizing warrantless eavesdropping on U.S. residents, was only exercising authority he’d implicitly been given by Congress when it signed off on a resolution to make war on Afghanistan, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Plainly, as Al Gore said so well during his Constitution Hall speech last week, “What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently.”

Much the same thing was said of another Republican chief executive three decades ago, and we all remember what happened to that guy, right?

READ MORE:Bush Still Maintains He’s Not a Crook,” by John Aravosis (AMERICAblog).

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