I've got to confess I find myself in uncharted intellectual waters today. I'm sitting here wishing I knew more about Richard Nixon.
Nixon was a Republican, but because of the end he met, we conservatives tend to block him from our collective memory. He wasn't one of us. He held a general mistrust of the free market, and would find many of the ideals of today's Republican party fully misguided. He had probably never even heard of Milton Friedman, and thought that Ronald Reagan was a lightweight. He was a great lover of top down economic policy, wage and price controls, and was an absolute political hardball player.
They say he was the smartest man to ever sit in the oval office - as if Lex Luthor had won the Presidency. Had he been President today, he wouldn't have killed Osama bin Laden. Instead he'd be in a basement cell in Guantanamo while G. Gordon Liddy worked on him with a blowtorch and a pair of pliers. But Nixon would have probably told all of us that he's dead anyway. And he'd have giggled into his morning coffee every time Liddy sent him a severed finger along with a new map of terrorist outposts in Pakistan.
In short, he was a lot like Obama. He had a political enemies list like Obama. He waged war behind the scenes using the CIA and hit squads like Obama does. He'd have certainly used drones had they been invented in 1968, and wouldn't have lost a moment's sleep over the ambiguous legality and secret sins of the 'war on terror'. And it looks very much like they now have one more thing in common. It looks like they have both used 'executive privilege' improperly.
I don't know anything about this really - hopefully Frithguild is having a slow work day and is off in some dark corner somewhere crafting a post to explain to us all how the supreme court case, US v Nixon applies to this situation. But Mark Levin had a few things to say about it yesterday while I was stuck in traffic. He seemed to think (I'm sure you'll find this shocking) that Obama has stepped over some important legal line and has opened himself up to the same consequences which Nixon inevitably saw.
I have no clue. It's all outside my expertise. I'd like to be rid of Obama and his people because I think they're harming the Republic. I think it's at least possible that some law was broken, and I think it would send a useful signal to other would be tyrants to throw someone in jail. But in truth, all this discussion has left me feeling like the guys at my gun club do when I start trying to explain to them that "corporate greed" isn't really a problem at all that the only chance of getting the banks in line is to give them less regulation.
The law follows a trajectory that is within reach of logic, but is not defined by it. And the intersection of the law and politics is an even more crooked road. It's all beyond a simple tradesman like me.
So I find myself sitting here today wishing I knew more about Richard Nixon, in the hope that it would help me make sense of this and chart some future progression. I think it'd be a shame if Obama just loses the election and all things are sort of forgiven and forgotten. And there is a dead guy's family in Arizona who almost certainly feels the same way I do about it.