Ron Howard, director of the new film Frost/Nixon, said during a panel discussion Tuesday that President Bush had abused his powers as clearly as Richard Nixon did. FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace defended Bush, saying that the comparison trivialized Nixon's crimes and unfairly demonized Bush. (U.S. News & World Report online)
What the commentators said
Liberals are determined to "Nixonize" President Bush, said James P. Pinkerton in Fox News online. But Wallace was right—comparing Bush's conduct in office to Nixon's is ridiculous. Nixon abused his office for political gain, while Bush has merely done what he thought necessary to keep the nation safe after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
That's a "wildly unpersuasive" argument, said Steve Benen in The Washington Monthly online. When Bush's administration outed a CIA operative and politicized U.S. Attorney offices, it was "all about political gain." If anything, "it's Wallace who is trivializing Bush's crimes" by suggesting that it was OK for him to abuse his powers because he "meant well."
"Abuse of power is abuse of power," said Roger Simon in Politico, "no matter whether the rationalization is national security or political security." But there's bound to be disagreement whenever discussion turns to Nixon. So get used to arguments about his legacy—with the release of Howard's movie the same week as the unveiling of 200 hours of Nixon White House tapes, "Richard Nixon is hot again."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why would a young person today be religious?
- The world's dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why we can't stop procrastinating, according to science
- Why Holy Thursday is so important to Christians
- Israel and Russia are getting along. Have the neocons noticed?
- How Community's Dean Pelton broke new ground for sexual politics on television
- Why I'm a pro-life liberal
- Texas has been holding this man hostage for 12,600 days
Subscribe to the Week