Father of ABC Politics Chief Halperin: Bush 'Far Greater Threat' Than Nixon

July 16th, 2006 4:03 PM

President Bush is an even greater threat to our civil liberties than that bête noire of the left, Richard Nixon. That's Morton Halperin's conclusion in a Los Angeles Times op-ed of today, Bush: Worse Than Nixon.

Halperin was once a name in the news. In 1969, then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger named Halperin to the NSA. But soon thereafter Kissinger suspected it was the dovish Halperin who leaked to the NY Times the fact that the US was secretly bombing Cambodia. The FBI began tapping his phone, and Halperin was soon gone from NSA. Perhaps Halperin's biggest claim to fame is the fact that Pres. Nixon put him on his 'Enemies List.' A red badge of courage, no pun intended, off which a person can no doubt eat for a lifetime in liberal circles.

Halperin remains active politically, serving as a senior fellow at the 'Center for American Progress.' As detailed by the invaluable Discoverthenetworks, CAP is a George Soros-funded organization founded on the risible notion that American colleges and universities are dominated by . . . conservatives."

Writes Halperin:

"It's hard not to notice the clear similarities between then and now. Both the Nixon and Bush presidencies rely heavily on the use of national security as a pretext for the usurpation of unprecedented executive power. Now, just as in Nixon's day, a president mired in an increasingly unpopular war is taking extreme steps, including warrantless surveillance, that many people believe threaten American civil liberties and violate the Constitution. Both administrations shroud their actions in secrecy and attack the media for publishing what they learn about those activities."

But bad as was the Nixon administration in Halperin's eyes, he concludes the Bush administration . . . is even worse.

"Though Nixon's specific actions might have been more obviously illegal and more "corrupt" (in the sense that they were designed to advance his own career over his rivals), President Bush's claim of nearly limitless power — including the ability to engage in a range of activities that pose a fundamental threat to the constitutional order and to our civil liberties — overshadows all comparisons."

His over-heated conclusion? That Pres. Bush poses "a challenge to our constitutional order and civil liberties that, in the end, constitutes a far greater threat than the lawlessness of Richard Nixon."

In any case, Halperin is perhaps better-known today as father of Mark Halperin, Director of the Political Unit of ABC News. As detailed by Wikipedia here:

"In October of 2004, in the midst of the presidential election, Halperin sent a memo to ABC News staff, directing them not to "reflexively and artificially hold both sides 'equally' accountable." This was interpreted by many as an instruction to favor Kerry in ABC News coverage. He justified this stance by claiming that both Kerry and Bush used 'distortion' in their campaign, but that Kerry's distortion was not 'central to his efforts to win.'"

Seems that the apple hasn't fallen fall from the tree.

Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle.' Contact him at mark@gunhill.net