Top Constitutional Experts: Obama Is Worse than Nixon

George Washington's picture

In the wake of the twin scandals of the IRS targeting conservative groups and the Department of Justice spying on AP reporters, the comparisons between Obama and Nixon are everywhere.

But what do experts say?

Former New York Times general counsel James Goodale – who represented the paper during its Pentagon Papers fight with the Nixon administration – said in an interview yesterday that Obama is worse than Nixon when it comes to press freedoms. And see this.

Former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald noted last year:

We supposedly learned important lessons from the abuses of power of the Nixon administration, and then of the Bush administration: namely, that we don’t trust government officials to exercise power in the dark, with no judicial oversight, with no obligation to prove their accusations. Yet now we hear exactly this same mentality issuing from Obama, his officials and defenders to justify a far more extreme power than either Nixon or Bush dreamed of asserting: he’s only killing The Bad Citizens, so there’s no reason to object!

Jonathan Turley – perhaps the top constitutional law expert in the United States (and a liberal) – writes:

The painful fact is that Barack Obama is the president that Nixon always wanted to be.


Four decades ago, Nixon was halted in his determined effort to create an “imperial presidency” with unilateral powers and privileges. In 2013, Obama wields those very same powers openly and without serious opposition. The success of Obama in acquiring the long-denied powers of Nixon is one of his most remarkable, if ignoble, accomplishments. Consider a few examples:


Warrantless surveillance


Nixon’s use of warrantless surveillance led to the creation of a special court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). But the reform turned out to be more form than substance. The secret court turned “probable cause” into a meaningless standard, virtually guaranteeing any surveillance the government wanted. After hundreds of thousands of applications over decades, only a couple have ever been denied.


Last month, the Supreme Court crushed any remaining illusions regarding FISA when it sided with the Obama administration in ruling that potential targets of such spying had to have proof they were spied upon before filing lawsuits, even if the government has declared such evidence to be secret. That’s only the latest among dozens of lawsuits the administration has blocked while surveillance expands exponentially.


Unilateral military action


Nixon’s impeachment included the charge that he evaded Congress’ sole authority to declare war by invading Cambodia. In the Libyan “mission,” Obama announced that only he had the inherent authority to decide what is a “war” and that so long as he called it something different, no congressional approval or even consultation was necessary. He proceeded to bomb a nation’s capital, destroy military units and spend more than a billion dollars in support of one side in a civil war.


Kill lists


Nixon ordered a burglary to find evidence to use against Daniel Ellsberg, who gave the famed Pentagon Papers to the press, and later tried to imprison him. Ellsberg was later told of a secret plot by the White House “plumbers” to “incapacitate” him in a physical attack. It was a shocking revelation. That’s nothing compared with Obama’s assertion of the right to kill any U.S. citizen without a charge, let alone conviction, based on his sole authority. A recently leaked memo argues that the president has a right to kill a citizen even when he lacks “clear evidence (of) a specific attack” being planned.


Attacking whistle-blowers


Nixon was known for his attacks on whistle-blowers. He used the Espionage Act of 1917 to bring a rare criminal case against Ellsberg. Nixon was vilified for the abuse of the law. Obama has brought twice as many such prosecutions as all prior presidents combined [and see this]. While refusing to prosecute anyone for actual torture, the Obama administration has prosecuted former CIA employee John Kiriakou for disclosing the torture program.


Other Nixonesque areas include Obama’s overuse of classification laws and withholding material from Congress. There are even missing tapes. In the torture scandal, CIA officials admitted to destroying tapes that they feared could be used against them in criminal cases. Of course, Nixon had missing tapes, but Rose Mary Woods claimed to have erased them by mistake, as opposed to current officials who openly admit to intentional destruction.


Obama has not only openly asserted powers that were the grounds for Nixon’s impeachment, but he has made many love him for it. More than any figure in history, Obama has been a disaster for the U.S. civil liberties movement. By coming out of the Democratic Party and assuming an iconic position, Obama has ripped the movement in half. Many Democrats and progressive activists find themselves unable to oppose Obama for the authoritarian powers he has assumed. It is not simply a case of personality trumping principle; it is a cult of personality.


Long after Watergate, not only has the presidency changed. We have changed. We have become accustomed to elements of a security state such as massive surveillance and executive authority without judicial oversight. We have finally answered a question left by Benjamin Franklin in 1787, when a Mrs. Powel confronted him after the Constitutional Convention and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” His chilling response: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

We appear to have grown weary of the republic and traded it for promises of security from a shining political personality. Somewhere, Nixon must be wondering how it could have been this easy.

Nixon’s “Enemies List” is famous, and the former head of the National Security Agency’s global digital data gathering program says that Obama also has an enemies list … which has been used to take down a wide variety of people, including the head of the CIA. The Washington Post’s Ed Rogers notes:

Obama doesn’t need a traditional Nixonian enemies list. In the digital age, with the Obama machine’s much-celebrated technological capabilities, the president can sort his enemies by keywords.

You’ve heard about the AP spying scandal, and the head of the Department of Justice implies that the government has spied on many other reporters.

Reporters who criticize those in power are being smeared by the government and targeted for arrest (and see this).

Indeed, the Obama administration is treating real reporters as potential terrorists.

After Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge.

Wikileaks’ head Julian Assange could face the death penalty for his heinous crime of leaking whistleblower information which make those in power uncomfortable … i.e. being a reporter.

Daniel Ellsberg notes that Obama's claimed power to indefinitely detain people without charges or access to a lawyer or the courts is a power that even King George didn't claim.  Former judge and adjunct professor of constitutional law Andrew Napolitano points out that Obama's claim that he can indefinitely detain prisoners even after they are acquitted of their crimes is a power that even Hitler and Stalin didn’t claim.

Indeed, Obama has turned America into the most spied upon nation in world history, and has rolled back liberties to the time of the enactment of the Magna Carta in 1215.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
q99x2's picture

Obama is a puppet for globalists. Nixon wasn't. Although Nixon did get drunk once and go for the nuke buttion. He was stopped.

roadlust's picture

Obama is only "worse" if you consider the murder of hundreds of thousands of human beings, the overthrow of democratically elected governments around the world, and the complete corruption and subversion of almost every US govenment agency, law and principle, to spy, prosecute, or criminally harass the American public you don't like, to be no big deal. 

Obama has his issues, but Nixon was essentially hijacking a nation and it's Constitution on his insane megalomaniacal mission. 

He freaked out even some Republicans.  Think of that.

Savyindallas's picture

Nixon was scum  -Obama is a puppet scum. Dangerous puppet scum because he fools so many sheeple. In that regard he is perhaps the best puppet scum the elites could ever have created. Better than the criminal puppet scum Clinton. Far better than the incompetent pathetic joke of a puppet scum that Bush 43 was.

MFLTucson's picture

Race card should be pulled out very shortly!

BeetleBailey's picture

GW: Keep cranking out the truth brother.....


Well done...

brettd's picture

Forget impeachment. 

I want him as a beacon of Progressives for the next 4 years!

SmittyinLA's picture

You don't understand, every second he's in office they get more power, in 4 years odds of our freedom will be far far lower and govt far more powerful than today.

New_Meat's picture
Top Constitutional Experts: Obama Is Worse than Nixon

One thanks the Gods for "top constitutional Experts"

Evidently GW can't see where the wind b blowin' these dayz.

- Ned

{GW b in the rear-view mirror, esp. when it comes to the "Statist", that is the GW perspective v. the "Country Class" why, that would b the rest of us.  Perhaps I over-estimate the "rest of us", but it is a good first-approx.}


nmewn's picture

Never under estimate the rest us ;-)

And WE aren't done with David Gregory either:

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Office of the Attorney General (OAG) on behalf of the politics and law blog Legal Insurrection, run by law professor William A. Jacobson. The FOIA lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, seeking access to records concerning the decision by the District of Columbia not to prosecute David Gregory, the host of the NBC news show “Meet the Press,” after Gregory violated District of Columbia law by displaying a high-capacity ammunition magazine during a broadcast interview (Jacobson v. District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, et al. (No. 13-0003283)).

On Sunday December 23, 2012, Meet the Press host David Gregory interviewed the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre concerning firearms policy in the United States. During the course of the interview, Gregory exhibited a high-capacity ammunition magazine. The possession of such an ammunition magazine was a clear violation of the law of the District of Columbia. D.C. Code § 7-2506.01(b)."

GoldenDonuts's picture

I don't understand why you americans don't call bullshit and do something.  Why are the Republicans just standing around ah shucksing and looking down?  Is it because one day they will have the same power and they can make lists too?


You are going from a country that was the freeest nation on earth to a cross between the fiction books 1984 and the hunger games.

The Heart's picture

"You are going from a country that was the freeest nation on earth to a cross between the fiction books 1984 and the hunger games."

True that. The problem is, the majority are already careless slaves to the mind controlling Lame Stream Media Propaganda Slop Bucket Tripe that is spewed out in the nightly churches on the Television. If they turned off the TV's and stopped printing the yellow journalism for a month, things would change and fast too! But then, all that is possibly coming anyways, and the suddenness of the stoppage will be worse than a heroin junkie going cold turkey with no super market or liquor store within a thousand miles to walk to.

Pray for America. Pray for the world.

brettd's picture

Republicans are the flip side of the Obama coin.  

Nixon Ford and Bushes were all big government Republicans.

It's Reagan/conservatives/tea party people who want smaller/accountable government.

rustymason's picture

What countries are recommended? Will anyone accept Americans anymore?

Divine's picture

You could come to Scandinavia, where I live. Sweden & Norway have more wealth & resources than Finland, but also lot more Niggas/somalis/kurds/manbearpigs. Finland is quite nice and people here like American people (hate your gov't), only bigger minus is a cold hard winters of 4-5 months. Also no taxes on gold.

failsafe's picture

I don't think you get it. There is no actual difference between any of the parties. All of that is just a shell game. All of it has become a facade for greedy men and women to hide behind while they amass wealth and power and get themselves off riding roughshod over the helpless populace that still believes in the constitution.

failsafe's picture

 Christ. Sigh. I got nothing. WTF. It's gonna take more than normal protest ... Something entirely different from the protests put forward in the past. Nothing like those will come close to what it will take to overcome all this accumulated power. Will have to starve them out of power with sheer nonparticipation. Get as self-sufficient as possible and hunker down under the radar til they realize they are fighting over nothing anyone needs.

swmnguy's picture

I think you're right.  What it's going to take is nobody showing up one day.  They can amass all the paper they want, but when nobody will recognize it, it's over.  That's paper money, paper power, everything.  It's all based on the consent of the submissive.  Sure, the options may be to submit or die (by violence, starvation, what have you), but it's still a choice.  When things get bad enough, it takes longer to make the choice.  When there's no more advantage in showing up to do one's allotted duty, then it's over.  See USSR, 1991. 

paracap's picture

Obama is worse than Hugo Chavez, Pol Pot, Stalin and Castro.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

Please keep this conversation somewhere on planet Earth or, if you're being sarcastic, note that.  Sarcasm doesn't always come through with just text.

StarTedStackin''s picture

Take Obama's dick from your lips and notice the destruction of the U.S. Constitution!

Winston Smith 2009's picture

I'd say that it's a very good rule of thumb to believe that every president is worse than the last one as far as the Bill of Rights is concerned because each new corporate front man never makes any effort whatsoever to repeal the power grabs and police/surveillance  state additions of the previous prez, instead adding more of his own.

It's all been downhill from the moment that the Church Committee disbanded.  Nowadays, it's "COINTELPRO?!  How quaint..."

The Alarmist's picture

It's been downhill ever since the real George Washington left office.  Kind of like going from Cincinnatus to Commodus.

StarTedStackin''s picture









What HASN'T the Obowel Movement lied about?



It's time to reclaim America and FLUSH THE OBOWEL MOVEMENT!!!!!




P.S. to some of the folks stealing my quotes with no attribution....



Phuck Yoo!

StarTedStackin''s picture

"GW", admitting the obvious, is a liberal's way of desperately trying to reclaim a shard of validity, once even the terminally stupid see the emporer has no clothes........

Kastorsky's picture

finally there is a movie about "killing all bankers"!

lolman's picture

"kill all the bankers and movie producers"


now that is something I could watch XD

billsbest's picture

We haven't come across Nixon's "Kill List" as yet, but here's Clinton's:

Murders by Rulers: The Clinton's Body Count


world_debt_slave's picture

The invisible hand guides all

cynicalskeptic's picture

A few have claimed that Obama was a true 'Manchurian Candidate' - crafted by the CIA ansd set up to deflect the rage against the Bush Administration, a marketing construct that would keep any real progressive from gaining the Presidency.  The expectation was thast Hillary Clinton (a proven and cooperative candidate) would get the nomination but she stumbled and the diversion ended up getting elected.  There are serious questions about Obama's past and his family's background.... The Company seems to play a prominent role.

Maybe these conspiracy theorists are right - would explain a lot.  Including the 'moving on' and not prosecuting ANYONE for real War Crimes.  More than a few CIA personnel were clearly liable when ti came to interrogations.  

It seems like the CIA has been deeply involved with every President since Carter tried to clean house. Some calim they weren't too happy about that and reasserted themselves after his ouster.   Iran CONTRA, drug running and far more - no consequences. Herbert Walker was hip deep as a former director.  He ran foreign affairs under Reagan.   Google 'Mena Arkansas' for Clinton.  NOTHING done by the CIA - no matter how illegal, no matter how injurious to this nation, seems to ever have any meaningful consequences.

It really doesn't seem like it matters WHO we 'elect' - the scrip stays the same on the major issues.  We're still working on the neo-con hit list - Obama's taken care of Libya and is now moving on to Syria after Bush did Iraq and Afghanistan.  Divert people's attention with 'social issues' and let them think we still have a democracy.

Dealyer Turdin's picture

I've caught Veterans Today out back Smokin' Crak.  Not even worth fine tuning the telephoto lens on those buggers.  Go there. Dig around.  Nuts,  Keep them out of here fer god's sake, or there goes the neighborhood.

Count de Money's picture

The press was after Nixon ever since the Checkers Speech. The press hated Nixon and he hated them back.

"I leave you gentleman now. You will now write it; you will interpret it; that's your right. But as I leave you I want you to know.... just think how much you're going to be missing. You don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference..." - Richard Nixon, 1962

But the press has been in masturbatory ectasy ever since before Obama started running. They are culpable in everything Obama has done and they are accessories before, during, and after the fact.

Widowmaker's picture

What press, Pissboy?

Incorporated press is just another money racket.

Suckers believe the "news," smart money follows the ads.

topspinslicer's picture

These so called experts have obviously been reading the musings of one Zeus on the yahoo news comments section

Steve in Greensboro's picture

obama, Killery, Holder, Geithner, Van Jones, Anita Dunn, Side-show Bob Carney...these guys make Richard Nixon look like George Washington.

StarTedStackin''s picture

Please not how cowardly pussy oBowel voters never refute posts, they just down arrow them......

Dealyer Turdin's picture

Little red footprints made out of wounded sheep, fun to track.

Aegelis's picture

"This apple is more rotten than that apple".  Throw'em both out, get new apples.

Minburi's picture

Looks like a Filipino.

Marley's picture

Having lived through the 60's and tricky dick's fuckover of america, I would agree with the assesment.  Only thing worse is that the crying .1%ers and their minions are even worse.  After all, Nixion, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama are the .1%ers choice.  Tea Party, Socialists, Capitalist, Libertarians, it don't matter.  Drop off the grid and get a life.

Smiddywesson's picture

Not to stick up for Dick, but both parties are corrupt and always were.  Read Mathews' book Kennedy and Nixon for a well balanced analysis of how dirty politics was back then and the lengths both parties went to in order to  discredit one another.

For example, Dick Nixon spent every dime he had after his separation from service on phamplets for his congressional run.  Somebody broke into his campaign headquarters and stole all the materials.  Nixon learned the rules early and the hard way, there are no rules.   Make no mistake, both sides were dirty.

Question:  Which presidential icon initiated the blasphemy known as Executive Orders, a process to bypass Congress and create an imperial presidency?  Jack Kennedy. 

Question:  Which president invaded Cuba without Congressional authority?  You guessed it, good ole' Jack. 

Sound kind of familiar to the current president? 

Political partisanship is an opiate to blind the masses.  Brand A isn't any better than brand B, the poision just tastes a little different.

A. Magnus's picture

"Question: Which presidential icon initiated the blasphemy known as Executive Orders, a process to bypass Congress and create an imperial presidency? Jack Kennedy." WRONG! The practice started nearly a century before Kennedy even was old enough to shave. "Question: Which president invaded Cuba without Congressional authority? You guessed it, good ole' Jack." WRONG AGAIN! Eisenhower put US boots on the ground in SE Asia without an act of war declared by Congress. Kennedy FIRED Admiral Lemnitzer for being a Nazi pig bastard who wanted to hijack American planes, kill civilians and blame them on the Cubans. Dick Cheney dusted off Leminitzer's treasonous plans and used them on 9/11 to great effect...

Marley's picture

Sorry, not a fan of Jack either.  I'm not a political animal or servant.

AnAnonymous's picture

Nixon, most beloved 'american' president after Roosevelt (Roosevelt cheated, he played under different rules)

Smiddywesson's picture

Williambanzai7, I can't see that picture from this terminal, but I sure would like to see the blue and red "Change" poster from Obama's first presidential campaign with Nixon's face photoshopped on it.

Nothing's changed.

the grateful unemployed's picture

everybody blew their wad superimposing Obama on Bush. turns out it was short sighted of them

machineh's picture

WB7 already superimposed Obama on Hitler, in his legendary 'Be Mein' valentine.

Maybe he should merge Obama and James Holmes, since they're both lowlife mass murderers.