On his Fox News show yesterday, Howard Kurtz sat down with Bob Woodward and raised a question that caught me a little off guard. “Some of the president’s detractors compare every scandal to Watergate, with which you are famously associated,” Kurtz said. “And so Benghazi is worse than Watergate. IRS was worse than Watergate. Bill Kristol said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate in its impact on the country. What do you make of those comparisons?”
Woodward, who’s had some unfortunate missteps this year, didn’t fully answer, but the question itself gave me pause. Bill Kristol actually said the other day that Obamacare is worse than Watergate?
As it turns out, yes, he really said that.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich this week compared the Affordable Care Act to the Watergate Scandal, but Kristol believes the healthcare law is far worse. “Obamacare, honestly, will do more damage to the country than Watergate ever could’ve done,” he said.“Watergate was stupid, petty, partisan politics and [President Richard] Nixon did misuse the Oval Office and then did lie to the country about it, probably. But, here, we have a legislative takeover of a huge percentage of the economy and an area that’s so important to everyone’s lives.”
Remember, as far as the Beltway is concerned, Bill Kristol is an establishment figure in good standing. He also thinks Nixon “probably” lied about the criminal conspiracy the disgraced president ran out of the Oval Office.
But it’s the comparison to the Affordable Care Act that’s uniquely incomprehensible. “Obamacare” critics are on safe ground complaining about a dysfunctional website, but to suggest that the law itself – a Republican-friendly reform system, which focuses on private insurers, cost-saving measures, and deficit reduction – is worse than the constitutional crisis posed by the Nixon White House becoming a criminal enterprise is plainly silly , even for contemporary Republicans.
That said, I suppose it’s time to updating a post from last year. Republicans are on record arguing:
* The IRS story carries “echoes of Watergate.”
* National security leaks are “worse than Watergate.”
* A job offer for former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.) might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* “Fast and Furious” might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* Solyndra “makes Watergate look like child’s play.”
* The White House’s relationship with Media Matters might be “Obama’s Watergate.”
* NSA surveillance is one of “Obamas Watergates.”
* The James Rosen controverys is “becoming Watergate.”
In May, Peggy Noonan was so overwhelmed by her contempt for the president, she wrote in her column, “We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate,” and then neglected to mention which perceived “scandal” she was even referring to.
If you’re thinking this overheated nonsense is hard to take seriously, you’re not the only one.