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Story Archives: Bush league at its best
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|Bush league at its best|
Robert Gibbs may not realize it, but he and Ronald Ziegler have something in common.
If Gibbs and Ziegler don't ring a bell, let's take a quick trip down memory lane to refresh our memories.
The 38-year-old Gibbs is President Obama's press secretary. He's been with Obama since 2004 when he joined Obama's Senate staff as communications director. Gibbs moved on to become communications director for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and on Jan. 20 of this year, he assumed his role as the new president's press secretary.
Though he at times appears a bit smart-alecky, Gibbs is a pro. We should remind ourselves, though, that Gibbs, by and large, deals with an administration-friendly White House press corps. Fox News is the exception.
Older readers of this offering will remember Ziegler for standing in the firing line as President Richard Nixon's press secretary from 1969-1974. Ziegler was—even after Nixon resigned—one of the late president's closest confidantes.
Ziegler was working at Disneyland when Nixon tapped him to join his gubernatorial campaign in California in 1962. Apparently, Nixon and Ziegler developed a good relationship, which is obvious since Nixon named Ziegler his press secretary when he took office as president in January 1969. Ziegler was 29 years of age then.
Nixon never had a good relationship with the press. Even before Watergate. The press didn't trust Nixon (for obvious reasons), and he didn't like them either.
Watergate made matters worse.
What appeared to be a "third rate burglary," as Ziegler once described Watergate at a White House press briefing, evolved into a scandal that nearly created a constitutional crisis in the country. In time, it led to the resignation of a president.
Throughout it all, it was Ziegler who met with the White House press corps day in and day out, peddling the company line, or Nixon's version of the truth. It was Ziegler, too, who called out The Washington Post for trying to create something out of nothing. The something was the Watergate scandal itself.
Remember, it was The Washington Post that first broke the Watergate story. The Post hounded it until the story became a national obsession. The rest is history.
That may be why Nixon eventually banned reporters and photographers from The Post from stepping foot in the White House. That may be why Ziegler went after The Post, too.
We would like to think Ziegler was simply following orders.
We would like to think as well that Gibbs was simply following orders not long ago when he verbally accosted Fox for reporting unfavorable news about the Obama administration. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel took it a step further. He warned other news gatherers not to follow Fox in disclosing any information the administration may deem unflattering. It was a threat.
It was a threat similar to the threat the Obama administration leveled toward the health insurance provider Humana, which declared its opposition to the so-called health care reform measures under consideration in the Congress. It was threat, too, like the threat the U.S. Chamber of Commerce received for opposing health care reform as it currently is being fashioned.
While it is within reason to castigate Nixon for everything from his "enemies list" to Watergate, we haven't witnessed an administration as paranoid and as vindictive as Obama's since, well, Nixon's.
It tells us a great deal, though.
Think about it.
Thoughts of Dick Nixon and Watergate come to mind in reflecting upon Obama and his administration.
Bush league comes to mind, too.