George Will's Historical Analogies

More

I am all for the sanctity of contract, but I thought this analogy from George Will, on Obama and the rule of law ("Tincture of Lawlessness"), was a bit much:

This is not gross, unambiguous lawlessness of the Nixonian sort -- burglaries, abuse of the IRS and FBI, etc. -- but it is uncomfortably close to an abuse of power that perhaps gave Nixon ideas: When in 1962 the steel industry raised prices, President John F. Kennedy had a tantrum and his administration leaked rumors that the IRS would conduct audits of steel executives, and sent FBI agents on predawn visits to the homes of journalists who covered the steel industry, ostensibly to further a legitimate investigation.

Whoa. Has Obama actually done anything like that? Has Obama done anything qualitatively worse than, say, Henry Paulson or George Bush?

More generally, I wonder how consistently partisans like George Will are attached to the rule of law. When the whole AIG bedlam started, it was slightly odd to see, for instance, Glenn Greenwald fantasize about shattering those compensation contracts like ceramic mugs. Greendwald wrote books about the Bush adminisistration's insufficient fealty for the rule of law!

But I think the principle cuts in both directions. George Will's passion for the rule of law is admirable, but I don't really recall that passion finding its way into too many columns about Bush or Paulson.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In