Huston: Republicans Can’t Throw a Punch

August 14, 2014

by Tom Charles Huston

I cannot resist a certain admiration for the sheer audacity of the criminal enterprise that is the Obama administration. Its tentacles extend to so many branches, bureaus and cubbyholes of the Leviathan as to defy diagramming, and its unity of action without unity of command offers a new model for imperial government. Its spokesmen are wonderfully shameless, its enforcers are ruthless and efficient and its disinformation operation is of KGB quality.

I knew many of the men around President Richard Nixon who were caught up in the Watergate scandal; I wasn’t surprised that most of them moved as quickly as possible to cover their own rear ends. With the exception of John Mitchell and Gordon Liddy, they were for the most part Babbitts who believed in nothing, had no loyalty to president or party, and in battle would be the first to clamber out of the trenches with their hands up.

With the exception of the old Nixon hands (Ray Price, Pat Buchanan, Rose Mary Woods) and a few others, everyone on deck elbowed their way into a lifeboat as soon as they perceived that the Nixon presidency could be sunk. The Republicans on Capitol Hill either turned tail or offered so little support as to leave the president without any effective political line of defense.

Something in the Republican bloodstream renders them incapable of waging fierce partisan combat other than when their own jobs are at stake. There is among them none of the loyalty of the clan, the obligatory closing of ranks associated with the Scots-Irish temperament that marked the fiercest of America’s political combatants from Jackson to Truman. Republicans are likely to skedaddle off the field at the first sound of cannon.

The Al Capones of the world come and go, and you can acknowledge their individual skill at making a living without prescribing their work habits as a model for emulation. So it is with the Obama gang. The country can survive Congressional Democrats covering up for the various dons who administer the mob enterprise. What it cannot survive, however, is the institutionalization of the idea that government power is just another political weapon to be employed in battle against your partisan enemies.

Democrats who live next door would never think to lift your wallet, push your wheelchair into traffic or cut your daughter’s throat, but increasingly they have come to believe that what Lois Lerner and her buddies at the IRS sought to do was perfectly reasonable. If the opportunity arises to order an IRS audit of a Republican senator, of course you take it. If some Texas Tea Party group can be shut down by the IRS, of course you shut it down. If a rich guy writes an anti-Obama op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, why wouldn’t you have the IRS audit him and, for good measure, turn the EPA loose on his business?

There is no political tradition in this country for unity of party and state, but that seems to be where we are headed. Nixonian fantasies are now Obama’s standard practice. One would think the threat obvious. Apparently it isn’t.

Tom Charles Huston, A.B., J.D., an adjunct scholar of the foundation, is retired from the private practice of law in Indianapolis. He served as an officer in the United States Army assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency and as associate counsel to the president of the United States.



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