I’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching the Benghazi and IRS scandals unfold. I suppose that it was inevitable that comparisons to Watergate would be drawn. Not surprisingly the right claims that these scandals are “worse than Watergate” and the left insists that these “minor scandals” don’t even come close to what they consider utmost abuse of presidential power.
Who’s right? Well first of all you have to understand each side’s motivations. On the surface it just simply seems like the right wants to take Obama down and left wants to protect him, but there’s more to it than that.
First of all we must understand what Watergate was. In the simplest terms it was some of Nixon’s subordinates breaking into Democratic national headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in 1972 and the attempted cover-up of the crime. The subsequent investigation into the matter uncovered various crimes including interfering with an FBI investigation, extortion, bribery, wiretapping, burglary, obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and perjury.
Nixon got what he deserved. Watergate was bad for him, but how bad was Watergate for us? People often complain about money in politics, and rightly so. Whenever there are large sums of money involved, corruption is always lurking nearby, so it’s safe to assume that the political parties are always, and have always been spying on each other. Watergate may have shaken naïve people’s confidence in government and our leaders, but I think that that’s a good thing. We are better off for it.
Watergate only directly affected the people involved. Contrary to what leftie writers would have you believe, the only effect Watergate had on most people was chronic fatigue brought on by endless news stories concerning it. Life went on for us pretty much as normal. (As normal as life in the mid-‘70’s could be.) The main inconvenience was the preempting or regularly scheduled TV programs with the Watergate hearings.
The Benghazi and IRS scandals are both much worse than Watergate. The problem is that there is a good chance that most people will never know. The press had it out for Nixon from the beginning, and no one probably would have even heard of Watergate if it weren’t for their relentless pursuit of the story. What we have here today is the exact opposite. The mainstream media is in the tank for Obama and has to be dragged kicking and screaming to cover any story where Obama may not look good. Paul Waldman, writing for CNN has described Solyndra and Fast and Furious as “nothing burgers”, both of which in my opinion are worse than Watergate. Did Watergate cost the U.S. taxpayers half a billion dollars? Did anyone die at Watergate?
Yes, both Benghazi and the IRS scandals are worse than Watergate. They affect all American citizens directly, not just the people immediately involved. Benghazi has weakened our international stature. It has caused our allies to lose confidence in us and has emboldened our enemies. It shows that we have leadership unwilling to protect American lives abroad if doing so might go against their current narrative. Knowing this, people cannot help but feel less secure here at home.
The IRS scandal has reduced trust in, and increased people’s contempt for an already unpopular government agency. It also can’t help but make people fear government retribution if they dare to speak out against it. Nixon was going after his political adversaries using his own people. One thing we can be sure of: although we know it was wrong, things like that had been happening since the early days of our country, and have not stopped with Watergate. Obama was going after individual citizens and small groups of people he had never met using a governmental agency. That’s Soviet style stuff that those people targeted by the IRS are most concerned with.
When Nixon got caught, he and his buddies went down, Ford became president and we all kept on truckin’. If Obama gets what he deserves, can we really afford the chaos of the IRS going down with him? Many of us want tax reform, but we know we can’t afford an uncontrolled break down of our federal revenue agency.
Obama has only three years left and cannot be reelected. It seems to me what many leftie writers are trying to protect is not Obama, but Watergate, or more accurately the concept of Watergate being the greatest of all evils. Nixon was a Republican and the mere mention of Watergate casts a dark shadow on the Republican Party, and the left just loves to mention it. You can’t watch any documentary about the 70’s, even ones that have nothing to do with politics without hearing about Watergate and seeing Nixon leaving on Marine One.
Watergate has been a weapon in the liberal arsenal for almost forty years. If the public comes to accept that there have been things worse than Watergate, then that weapon will be rendered permanently insignificant.