An "uneasy" Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has warned the president to stop channeling Richard Nixon’s paranoid administration, comparing the White House’s recent pushback against Fox News, the Chamber of Commerce, and Wall Street to "street brawling." (Watch highlights from Alexander's Senate speech.) Is the comparison ridiculous—or resonant?
Nixon was much worse: The Nixon-Obama comparison is “insane,” says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. Obama’s team has made a few mild, justified attacks. Tricky Dick took revenge on an "actual enemies list" by spying on his foes and rifling through their tax and medical records. As Alexander would have it, Obama is stooping to that level merely by declining to "lose every fight."
"Defining Nixon Down"
Obama’s no Nixon, but he is overreacting: "Okay, so Alexander went too far in suggesting that Obama was drafting an ‘enemies list,’" says Debra Saunders in the San Francisco Chronicle. The White House is certainly free to criticize opponents such as Fox News, but so, too, are pundits "free to mock the administration's risible attempts to dress up its thin-skinned ways as love for unbiased reportage."
"The real flaw: Fox is a no-fawn zone"
Overreacting? Unlike Nixon’s, Obama’s targets deserve it: Obama’s so-called enemies are America’s enemies, too, says Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, quoted in Politico. He’s attacking organizations that stand in the way of health care and financial reform, warning "advocates of greed—instead of the greater good—that they no longer have public legitimacy."
"Is Obama’s Offensive Against Critics Overdue or Overdone?"