Over at Bloomberg View, I saw that John Dean had written an article, Obama’s Not Nixon, He’s Harding. I knew immediately what he was talking about: Teapot Dome. Normally, I would not have clicked through. But I really like John Dean, and I couldn’t believe that he was really comparing Obama’s scandals with Harding’s.
Not surprisingly, Dean did not disappoint me. He was making a totally reasonable argument. As usual. Most of the article is an attack on those who are comparing Obama’s troubles with Watergate. In particular, Dean is concerned about statements that have been made by Bob Woodward. Given that Woodward was such an important player in the Watergate scandal, and that he wrote a book about it with Carl Bernstein, one would think that he would have some perspective on it.
Dean was too nice to question Woodward’s motivations. But I’m not. Woodward seems to crave attention. Last year shortly after the Benghazi attack, he claimed that there was no scandal. But more recently, he has been trying to associate the talking point revisions between the State Department and the CIA to Nixon’s hacked tape transcripts. There is no similarity, especially when you consider that Obama was not involved at all. But Wordward really seems to have some kind of hard on for Obama—for now.
Dean’s comparison of Obama with Harding was just the most current chapter in Dean’s efforts to rehabilitate Harding’s reputation. He rightly notes that when Harding found out about Teapot Dome, he was outraged. He asked about it, and was lied to. Then he went on a “get in touch with the people” tour and died. Until fairly recently, he was blamed for the many scandals during his presidency. (They were more common back then.) Dean’s point is that regardless of the scandals going on now, there is no indication that they involve Obama.
What is perhaps ironic is that Dean is the writer of Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush. So Dean not only knows Watergate, he isn’t afraid to use it as a comparison. And remember: Dean is a conservative. Of course, at this point, that makes him about as conservative as Obama. Regardless, there really is nothing to these scandals regarding presidential malfeasance. Time will show that to be the case.