Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Enemies? Recalling the Days of Richard Nixon

White House enemies in the first 100 days of a new adminis- tration? Totally bizarre. Most new presidents spend their first few months in office moving beyond their campaigns. They work on mending partisan fences and becoming a president of all the American people. Traditionally, it's an era of good feeling as the country adjusts to a new leader, whether or not they voted for him.

I was never much of a Rush Limbaugh fan. In fact, I didn't care for him at all. But I can learn to like him if Washington D.C. is going to become some big-people equivalent of the grade-school playground. I'm glad that Limbaugh has issued his debate invitation, and I hope he gets a favorable response.

Many Americans are too young to remember President Richard Nixon. While he was president, Barack Obama was a child living in Indonesia, far away from the US evening news. That's probably why he missed how bizarre people thought a "White House Enemies List" was. How he missed learning about it in history class when he returned to the US I am not sure. Presidents are supposed to have important enemies, like whole nations or empires or ideologies, not individual American citizens.

The Nixon Enemies List--including the Master List of Political Opponents--has been written about extensively, and is considered to be evidence of Nixon's increasing problem with paranoia while in office. Real questions remain whether Nixon completely succumbed to mental illness in the last days of his administration. Debate continues whether the enemies list or talking to the pictures on the wall is more important in that assessment.

While the President looks pretty healthy to me, this is nuts.


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