- - Sunday, July 6, 2014



There’s a scene in the movie “All the President’s Men” — a terrifying scene — that could easily have been written about the Obama White House today.

In it, reporter Bob Woodward is talking with his secret source, Deep Throat, in a gloomy parking garage about Edmund Muskie’s failed candidacy for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, eventual nominee George McGovern, shifty Attorney General John Mitchell, and Donald Segretti, a low-level Nixon aide and political dirty trickster.

Woodward: Does the FBI know what we know? Does Justice? Why haven’t they done anything?

Deep Throat: If it didn’t deal directly with the break-in, they didn’t proceed.

Woodward: Who told them not to?

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Throat: Don’t you understand what you’re onto?

Woodward: Mitchell knew?

Throat: Of course Mitchell knew. You think something this size just happens?

Woodward: Segretti said —

Throat: Don’t concentrate on Segretti. You’ll miss the overall.

Woodward: The letter that destroyed the Muskie candidacy, the Canuck letter, did that come from inside the White House?

Throat: You’re missing the overall.

Woodward: What overall?

Throat: They were frightened of Muskie, and look who got destroyed. They wanted to run against McGovern — Look who they’re running against. They bugged, they followed people, false press leaks, fake letters, they canceled Democratic campaign rallies, they investigated Democratic private lives, they planted spies, stole documents and on and on. Now don’t tell me you think this is all the work of little Don Segretti.

Woodward: Do the FBI and Justice know this?

[Woodward turns when a car suddenly starts up and screeches away. When he turns back, Deep Throat is gone].

Rewatching that movie recently got me thinking about all kinds of correlations between Presidents Nixon and Obama, some obscure, some not so much. For example, mull this over: In the run-up to the 2012 election, one candidate emerged on the Republican side that sparked excitement. Political pundits and election experts began to say, “Hey, this guy’s got a chance.”

His name was Herman Cain. But as quickly as he caught fire he was engulfed in controversy. Women came forward to claim he had sexually harassed them (including one who lived in the same building as top Obama adviser David Axelrod). To this day, no one knows where the leaks came from, but some point to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency.

What’s fascinating is that Mr. Obama didn’t want to run against Mr. Cain, an articulate opponent of the president’s policies whose business acumen with blue-collar companies made him a weighty candidate. No, Team Obama wanted to run against Mitt Romney, worth a cool half-billion dollars. The campaign’s strategy was to divide Americans by class and income, harangue the “1 Percent” — chief among them Mr. Romney — and capture the votes of the naive.

They were frightened of Mr. Cain, and look who got destroyed? They wanted to run against Mr. Romney, and look who they ran against?

But there’s so much more. Article 1 of the impeachment charges against Nixon cited the president for “withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States.”

The Obama White House routinely rejects demands from House investigators for documents — and in the most recent example, claims to have lost thousands of emails from former IRS head Lois Lerner.

Article 2 charged Nixon with using the Internal Revenue Service to punish his political foes.

Did Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. know that the IRS was doing exactly that to conservative and tea party groups? Don’t tell me you think this is all the work of little Lois Lerner. Of course Mr. Holder knew. “You think something this size just happens?”

So far, the media is, not surprisingly, missing the overall. Article 2 also charged Nixon with using electronic surveillance “for purposes unrelated to national security.” Might Mr. Obama being doing so as well? We’ve all only just learned of the massive spying operation by the National Security Agency. Has anyone bothered to investigate?

Nixon was charged with “failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavored to impede and frustrate lawful inquiries by duly constituted executive, judicial and legislative entities.” Mr. Holder has been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents concerning the disastrous Fast and Furious gunrunning operation.

As Deep Throat says, it all goes “on and on.”

And there’s one more haunting moment near the end of the movie in the same shadowy parking garage, when Deep Throat stops playing coy with Mr. Woodward and decides to spill everything. “Get out your notebook. There’s more.”

There always is.

Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @josephcurl.

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