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On freedom of speech, Obama-Nixon comparisons are apt

Other than reflecting a partisan assailant's lack of creativity, Nixon metaphors and -gate suffixes are so overused in politics that they now most often mean almost nothing. Yes, to call someone "Nixonian" or to invoke Watergate in naming a scandal is typically less a serious substantive critique of an opponent than a reflection of the critic's laziness and stupidity.

"Most often" and "typically," though, are the operative words these days. While I'm obviously hesitant to invoke the 37th president terms for the aforementioned reasons -- and while I agree with my Salon colleague Alex Pareene and my pal Steve Almond that the IRS and Benghazi brouhahas most certainly do not warrant Nixon references -- I do believe Nixon's legacy is nonetheless applicable to the revelations about the Obama administration's posture toward press freedom.

Those particular revelations, of course, aren't happening in a vacuum. Instead, they relate to an administration whose known obsessions suggest this is part of a larger, dare I say Nixonian, pathology - one defined by a hostility toward the most basic democratic ideals.

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