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The left's new Nixon

The candidates seem to have worn themselves out marching in all those July 4th parades, and many are out of sight today, which offers the opportunity for more than the usual amount of idle speculation. To wit: Is Dick Cheney poised to become, for this generation’s liberals, the bogeyman that Richard Nixon became for the last generation’s lefties?

The question crops up in the wake of a new book by James Reston Jr., “The Conviction of Richard Nixon,” a memoir of the famous David Frost interviews with Nixon 30 years ago; and a new video posted by director Robert Greenwald on the Impeach Cheney website.

Nixon’s sins have been pretty well established by history, and his decisions in prosecuting the Vietnam War, disdain for the “flower children” and antiwar movement, and his role in the Watergate cover-up provided plenty of fodder for the left to nurture its hatred. Some have argued that President Ford’s pardon of Nixon cheated the nation of its chance to establish Nixon’s guilt, though others argue that the pardon – as Ford said he intended – saved the nation from a prolonged political distraction. Regardless, Nixon-haters didn’t get their pound of flesh, which has rankled them ever since.

Shift to the present: Cheney’s role in lobbying for the invasion and occupation of Iraq is the subject of protracted analysis and speculation by the left (among others). George W. Bush sits in the Oval Office but to many on the left, Cheney pulls the strings. And the recent commutation of Scooter Libby’s prison sentence is a close enough parallel to invite this mulling (we told you it’s slow out on the trail today) over Cheney’s role as the liberals’ red flag.

While the Impeach Cheney folks have as much chance of success as, say, Sam Brownback does of packing the moving van for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the movement–-14 U.S. Representatives have signed on–-reflects the deep bitterness on the left toward the vice president.

And at this stage of the White House tenure, it’s all about legacy.

--Scott Martelle

 
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Here I go, lifting my head above the parapet: I do not understand the amount of hatred directed toward Dick Cheney. Is it simply the natural result of a Left which believes the President is too stupid to arrive at his own decisions? And is this a consequence of the President's crappy communication skills (which continually embarrass even his most ardent supporters)? Certainly Cheney is articulate where Bush is verbally bumbling. And while Bush often tries to make nice, Cheney displays no such inclination toward make-believe civility. Still, the level of vitriol seems unprecedented to me.

Cheney, ARTICULATE?? No, he's a crude, smug and deliberately offensive example of those possessed of unquenchable greed and lust for power. He and his "boy" remain the poster children for continuing abuses of their office (and this nation's trust) that, frankly, DIck Nixon would've been ashamed of.
And, those you refer to as "among others" are not the Left. They are the rest of the rational citizens of this nation who, without consideration for political partisanship, feel the deep wound of this administration's rape of our dignity, our credibility, our rights and our Constiutuion.
Impeachment may not come to pass and that's a real shame.
But don't try to make your bones by writing it off as some crackpot scheme of the Left.
You and anyone else who sees these fellows as correct and blameless have your heads buried deep in your ideological sand.

Ummm...why is this all about "liberals" and "the left"'? Cheney's approval ratings are hovering around 20%. Maybe this crazy group that is displeased with Cheney would be better described as "the vast majority of the American people".

The "Impeach Cheney Folks" - you mean FIFTY-FOUR PERCENT of the American population?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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