Guest opinion: Nixon resignation anniversary shows contrast with Obama

2014-08-07T00:00:00Z Guest opinion: Nixon resignation anniversary shows contrast with ObamaBy BRIAN GILMORE The Billings Gazette
August 07, 2014 12:00 am  • 

The 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation as president is an appropriate time to take note of how nasty and unfounded the current Republican calls for impeaching President Obama happen to be.

In August 1974 when Nixon shamefully resigned, it was clear he had to be removed from office. Nixon had violated the public trust, trashed the Constitution by seeking to disobey court orders, and laid waste to the nation’s democratic institutions.

He had engaged in criminal conduct, including covering up the burglary at the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Many high-level Nixon administration officials were convicted of crimes connected to Watergate and served prison time.

No violation of public trust

By contrast, there is no basis for the impeachment of Obama. He has not engaged in bribery, treason or any other high crime or misdemeanor like Nixon did back in the early 1970s. His behavior hasn’t remotely resembled Nixon’s violation of the public trust.

As a possible run-up to impeachment proceedings, the GOP-controlled House recently voted to sue Obama. This, too, makes no sense. Congressional Republicans claim he has refused to implement part of the Affordable Care Act, even though they are against Obamacare. And it was a highly partisan vote, with not a single Democrat voting in favor of the lawsuit.

By contrast, back in 1974 when Richard Nixon was forced from office, it was both Republicans and Democrats who agreed that he had crossed the line and had to resign or be removed. The recently deceased Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee was one of the Republicans who insisted on getting to the bottom of the scandal. And Republican stalwart Barry Goldwater eventually urged Nixon to resign once it was obvious he had broken the law.

Clinton impeachment

The country has been down the partisan impeachment road before when Republicans unsuccessfully tried to oust President Clinton for his personal transgressions. That was a terrible waste of time and resources. Seeking to impeach Obama would be an even bigger one.

The Republicans should drop their impeachment talk and their silly lawsuit and start dealing with the urgent issues that confront our nation.

Brian Gilmore is a poet, public interest lawyer and author of the forthcoming collection, “We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters” (Cherry Castle Publishing).

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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