In an interview for Newsmax TV, released on Monday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) accused President Obama of turning America into a monarchy. He also condemned Congressional Democrats for being “partisan rubber stamps for a lawless president”. While that style of blustering rhetoric is not unusual for the Republican Senator, he also went a step further by comparing President Obama to corrupt former President Nixon.
Trying to draw parallels to Nixon’s lawless abuse of power during the Watergate scandal, Cruz complained:
We’ve had presidents in the past who have abused power. But when that has happened: When Richard Nixon abused power, Republican senators stood up to him and said, ‘Mr. President, you’ve gone too far.’ In fact, it was Republican senators who went to the Oval Office, … and said, ‘Mr. President, it’s time for you to resign… What is strikingly missing are Democratic senators who have more commitment to the Constitution and rule of law than they do to their party.
Cruz couldn’t quite make up his mind, which “scandal” was like Watergate. He meandered about, criticizing Obama on immigration policy, foreign policy, and his nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General, during the course of the conversation. All those Obama “scandals” presumably being equal to the Nixon conspiracy to cover up a political burglary, at least in Cruz’s mind.
At one point, Senator Cruz finally tried to make the connection between Obama and Nixon more explicit, when he stated:
But the point is when the IRS targeted citizens’ groups for their political views, Democrats circled ranks around the president. To be honest, Nixon tried to use the IRS to target his political enemies. President Obama’s administration succeeded.
He was trying to draw a comparison to Richard Nixon’s now infamous “Enemies List”. In August 1971, then-White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, John Dean, circulated a memo to Assistant White House Chief of Staff Lawrence Higby, titled “Dealing with our political enemies”. In the memo, Dean wrote:
This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration. Stated a bit more bluntly-how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.
Even the interviewer for the right-wing Newsmax TV program, was taken aback a little by Cruz’s attempt to compare Obama to Nixon, noting that nothing Obama had done really matched the scope of Watergate, or Nixon’s enemies list.
Right-wing politicians like Ted Cruz have spent the past six years trying to convince the American people that Barack Obama is the most corrupt president in history. Ted Cruz’s recent comments are an attempt to keep feeding that false narrative. As a potential presidential candidate he has to keep supplying red meat to satisfy the base. Never mind that the President won’t appear on the ballot in 2016, being anti-Obama is the Senator’s main selling point.
Never mind that none of the imagined “scandals” have stuck, because the Obama administration is not acting outside the law, in the way that the Nixon White House did. Cruz is desperate to make something stick. Maybe by relentlessly crying “Watergate” or “abuse of power” he can get the attention he craves. Yet, much to Ted Cruz’s dismay, no amount of heavy handed rhetoric from the GOP pretender for President, will change that fact that the Obama White House is nothing like the Nixon White House.