You can tell there’s been a sudden chilly change in the weekend political weather when Tom Brokaw suggested Eric Holder might have to go. An eon ago -- well actually, on MSNBC's afternoon show "The Cycle" on Thursday -- Brokaw saw nothing serious on the horizon.
MSNBC co-host Toure asked, “With the AP and IRS scandals, we hear the word ‘Watergate’ thrown around a lot. Are these actually Watergate-esque?” Laughter ensued. "No, they're not,” Brokaw replied. “Watergate was a constitutional crisis of the highest order.”
He gave Team Nixon the usual liberal once-over: "A lot of the president’s men went to jail. The president himself lied, he destroyed tapes, it’s pretty clear to me, the 18-and-a-half minute gap – he tried to invoke the CIA and the FBI in covering up a crime that was conducted on his behalf."
Brokaw is playing clever game in these remarks -- comparing the beginning of an Obama scandal to the very end of a very bad Nixon scandal. He also pronounces as if the prosecution of Nixon wasn't at least in part a partisan campaign driven by Kennedy liberals (and young leftists like Hillary Clinton). In their liberal filter of history, it was Nixon vs. Nonpartisan Law.
The question should not begin with Watergate. They should begin with alleged Bush mega-scandals like Valerie "Book and Movie Deal" Plame having her name leaked. (Or see Brokaw blowing up Abu Ghraib like it was Watergate.)
Then Brokaw took after Peggy Noonan and the Reagan administration: "Peggy Noonan wrote recently that the IRS scandal was the worst scandal since Watergate. It occurred to me I was covering Iran-Contra during the Reagan administration when she was working for that president, in which we were funding a war illegally. We were trying to make a deal with the Iranians at the time. That was a pretty big damn scandal, quite honestly.”
Then he jumped ahead to Bush the Sequel. Notice how Brokaw completely blocks out the law-breaking ethics of Team Clinton? "Abu Ghraib was a big scandal and how it – no one was really held accountable for it. So, this happens in every administration, and it’s happening again.”
Brokaw's change in attitude today suggests just how most political scandals look like a political game, based not on any objective criteria, but on waves of gossip and partisan plotting. Brokaw doesn't sound like a journalist. He sounds like a partisan hack smoking a cigar in some Democrat's war room.
Hat tip to Eric Scheiner at CNSNews.com, who has the video.