Friday, December 19, 2008

Blago Liked McCain, Too. So What?

Who says April's the cruelest month? So far in December, the 37th President has been in the news thanks to the Nixon Library's latest tapes opening, the release of "Frost/Nixon," and the death of W. Mark Felt (Bob Woodward's famous Watergate source). Now word comes that RN was the political hero of...Do I really have to say it? Do I really have to speak his name? "Time":

While going to school at Northwestern University, [Rod] Blagojevich idolized Nixon, according to friends, frequently defending him during the Watergate scandal. According to a long-time Blagojevich friend, the future governor often found inspiration in Nixon's "me against the world" sensibility. Blagojevich particularly loved the fact that Nixon bounced back after the "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" speech after losing the race for California governor in 1962.
As you may imagine, the "Time" story pretty much writes itself from there. ("Gawker" presented the snapshot above, which was taken in 1980, apparently in New York City.) Someday this kind of superficial compare-and-contrast sidebar will actually be cranked out by a next-level computer program as part of the new financial paradigm resulting from the death of print journalism.

In this case, reporters Eric Ferkenhoff and Howard Chua-Eoan push the envelope way too far by eliding Blagojevich's financial corruption with the profoundly ideological Vietnam-Watergate episode.

They also assert that Mr. Nixon "overstayed his welcome on the national stage." One might ask the young (if I may assume) journalists how they figured that out. Obviously there are those who thought January 21, 1969 was one day too long, whereas others (and this would also be a partisan statement) think the impeached President who should've moved out years earlier was Bill Clinton.

Lacking a script for the premature voluntary end of a modern Presidency, Mr. Nixon waited until the House Judiciary Committee had passed Articles of Impeachment, conducted a straw poll in the Senate, and resigned. What would Ferkenhoff and Chua-Eoan's approach have been? Do they have an alternative date in mind?

It's not the reporters' fault that Blagojevich liked RN, nor RN's, for that matter. But just as with the disgraced governor and his other hero, Sen. McCain, their stories and personalities aren't remotely comparable.

As a matter of fact, maybe a computer would've done better.

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