Earlier today, Huffington Post’s Sam Stein noted that as the guest host of Bill Bennett’s radio show on March 6, RNC Chairman Michael Steele compared President Obama to Richard Nixon. “What you are seeing here, folks, unfold is nothing short of the Nixon administration played out in a different era and a different style,” declared Steele:
“I’m going to tell you something,” Steele replied. “You make such an important point, because I had a conversation earlier this week about the very point you just made about the Nixon administration. What you are seeing here, folks, unfold is nothing short of the Nixon administration played out in a different era and a different style. But the results and the effects are the same. You have H.R. Haldeman and Rahm Emanuel, these guys, the master manipulators, the master controllers in the background, moving and shaking the pieces, creating an enemies list, putting together the targets on our side. The whole strategy of demonizing Rush Limbaugh, which has been exposed now…”
Steele’s comparison of Obama to Nixon is ironic given the fact that just a month earlier Steele enthusiastically compared himself to one of Nixon’s most prominent henchmen, G. Gordon Liddy. During a February 5, 2009 appearance on Liddy’s radio show, Steele told the former political dirty trickster, “I follow the footsteps of guys like you”:
STEELE: So, I, you know, I follow the footsteps of guys like you who, you know, who, you know, set the bar and pushed and pushed and pushed and made sure that we could obtain the results that would benefit people in communities, fighting for the rights of individuals and making sure that, you know, we don’t back down. Our opponents don’t back down. Why do we?
Which principles would those be? The ones that told Liddy it was fine to break into the office of the Democratic National Committee to plant bugs and photograph documents? The ones that made him propose to kidnap anti-war activists so they couldn’t disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention? The ones that inspired him to plan the murder (never carried out) of an unfriendly newspaper columnist?
LIDDY: Yeah, folks, I want to give you a little background on my guest, Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican Party. After joining the Republican Party, Mr. Steele became the chairman of the Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee. Now, Prince George’s County is where I live. And in 1995, the Maryland Republican Party selected him as Maryland state Republican man of the year and he worked on several political campaigns. He was an alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego and a delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia that ultimately chose George W. Bush’s candidacy. And so, if I may so, you are a very very good rhetoritician and you speak up and you are aggressive and you are not apologetic. And that’s what we need in my view sir.
STEELE: Well, we’ve apologized enough, you know. And you scratch your head sometimes and you say for what? What did — you know, why would we apologize for arguing for the creation of wealth as opposed to acquiescing to the distribution of wealth. Why would we apologize for making sure that parents, particularly in a city like the District of Colombia where I was born and raised, have a choice in educating their kids. Our president went to some of the finest schools that Hawaii had to offer. So I think that it’s an opportunity now for us to provide that same choice, if you will, for kids today to go to some of the finest schools that a city, a state, a nation has to offer. Why do we limit that capacity and that ability. So, I, you know, I follow the footsteps of guys like you who, you know, who, you know, set the bar and pushed and pushed and pushed and made sure that we could obtain the results that would benefit people in communities, fighting for the rights of individuals and making sure that we don’t back down. Our opponents don’t back down. Why do we?