|Nixon in Cairo, June 1974 — Obama in Afghanistan, December 2010|
Two months after his triumphant trip to Cairo, Egypt President Nixon would resign in disgrace, while back home the Watergate noose tightened inexorably around his doomed presidency. Obviously, President Obama's problems today dwarf what Nixon faced at the time, but they are similar in one respect: Both Presidents' problems were of their own making.
President Obama has consistently reneged on his campaign promise to take a firm stand on ending tax cuts for the rich, now that the rubbber has hit the road. And he is on the verge of caving on every other issue too, from START, a treasonous and unprecedented treaty obstruction by Republicans, to DADT to extending unemployment benefits, which are being held hostage to the Bush tax cuts. As Paul Krugman said: "It’s hard to escape the impression that Republicans have taken Mr. Obama’s measure — that they’re calling his bluff in the belief that he can be counted on to fold. And it’s also hard to escape the impression that they’re right."
Nixon's triumphant motorcade through the streets of Cairo was but a brief respite from the fires of Watergate consuming his presidency. Two months after this President's trip to Afghanistan, once the new Republican Congress takes over, wither his presidency? It would be less surprising were President Obama to announce he's not running for a second term and then proceed to spend his dwindling days in office rubber stamping reactionary Republican initiatives while playing War Chief, than if he suddenly decided to channel his inner Democrat. At this critical juncture in our history, the last thing we need is a Lear or a Hamlet roaming the White House corridors. What the country needs, and deserves, is a generous helping of the spirit of FDR and Truman in our president.