Bush vs. Nixon

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This page is for analysis of the similarities and contrasts between the George W. Bush and Richard Nixon presidencies. Issuepedia contends that Bush has been far worse.


In response to a contention that Bush has been "small potatoes compared to Nixon", Woozle wrote on 2008-06-07:

I'll confess to not being very politically aware during the Nixon years. I remember my parents being outraged about him, but it didn't really enter into my world as something to care about (I remember we voted for McGovern in 1972). I'll also confess to not having researched Nixon as thoroughly as Bush.

However, this is how it looks from here:

Nixon didn't bring a country to its knees. The war was already going when he took office; he may have lied, but he didn't lie us into war. The lives he may have destroyed number, what, in the hundreds at most? He didn't mismanage Vietnam so badly that we managed to leave trillions of dollars lying around for the supposedly-hated enemy to pick up. He didn't start national propaganda campaigns on any scale even approaching Bush's campaigns for the Holy War on Terror and against global warming (and science in general) and using religion and the "culture war" as a way to keep people divided, confused, and ignorant.

When Nixon was dishonest, his dishonesty at least made sense, in a powermongering kind of way; George's screw-ups only make sense if you interpret them as part of a much larger plan to destroy America. Nixon was smart, and at least tried to justify his actions; Bush doesn't even care. He knows his silver foot will be kept polished and ready for him to suck on when he leaves office, no matter how badly the commoners (that's us) might be doing as the economy slides into its own quagmire and returning soldiers are left without adequate care (aside from the ones who come home in boxes) while the Bush supporters continue to proudly wear their "SUPPORT THE TROOPS" magnets.

Mind you, Nixon was Bad, and I could only shake my head disbelievingly when he was posthumously sanctified by the press.

But Bush (via Rove and others) took Nixon's playbook as an instruction manual, and built on it. Every act you ascribe to Nixon is something Bush has done too, and typically far worse.

He didn't just wiretap his "enemies", he demanded the right to stomp on the constitution at whim and wiretap anyone he wants, including random citizens (that's us). He didn't just abuse his power, he tried to corrupt the institution of the presidency itself and make it even more powerful. It seems clear that 9/11 couldn't have happened without (at the very least) some highly selective blindness on his part -- and when the towers fell, he hit the ground running and promptly got all kinds of evil new laws passed, leaving the future of American democracy very much in question. Almost as if he had been planning the whole thing for years, just waiting for "another pearl harbor" to provide a convenient threat to get the sheep in line.

I don't see the motivation for Dean to have bought this up when he did (c.2004) if he was just covering his butt; the world had moved on and forgotten about him, and his safest bet would have been to lie low and say nothing. Maybe he was desperate for a little income and thought that a book might be a good idea, but writing an anti-Bush book in the dark days of 2004 was hardly a sure bet.

If you've got any specifics I should know about Nixon, feel free to hit me with 'em.