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In need of a new historical touchstone

<p>&lt;p&gt;With the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon&amp;#039;s Watergate scandal coming last week, it&amp;#039;s worth pausing to appreciate the extent to
The Watergate in Washington, D.C.
The Watergate in Washington, D.C.

With the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal coming last week, it's worth pausing to appreciate the extent to which Republicans are still looking for the controversy's progeny.

For example, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told Fox News the other day that alleged national security leaks from the Obama White House are "worse than Watergate."

That's obviously quite silly, but the larger point, which we discussed several months ago, is that the GOP's preoccupation with finding Obama's "Watergate" is getting a little embarrassing.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), May 2010:

An e-mail from Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) campaign suggested Wednesday that the controversy over Rep. Joe Sestak's (D-Pa.) alleged administration job offer could be President Barack Obama's Watergate scandal. [Issa sent] an e-mail with the subject line "The Sestak Affair - Obama's Watergate?"

The Weekly Standard, September 2011:

Will the 'Fast and Furious' Scandal Be Obama's Watergate?

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), November 2011:

Bachmann made a striking accusation against the Obama administration, presenting a severe conspiracy surrounding the government's involvement in the failed Solyndra solar power company. "It just stinks on every level. This makes Watergate look like child's play," Bachmann declared.

The American Spectator, February 2012:

Is Media Matters Obama's Watergate?

So far, these assorted controversies haven't amounted to much. In fact, some aren't even coherent controversies at all.

But even putting that aside, can the right at least come up with a new touchstone to serve as a point of historical comparison?