Many in the media are already castigating conservatives and Republicans for overreaching and overacting to what some are dubbing "IRS-Gate." That's to be expected, particularly when one considers that it is not The Washington Post, but The Wall Street Journal that now seems to be breaking some of the biggest stories among print media about not only the IRS's extra scrutiny of conservatives but a host of other issues related to the Obama administration.
For those who lived through Watergate but who were likely young and unable to keep up with every piece of that puzzle, here are some random similarities that don't necessarily make the two similar in facts as of now, but have an unusual similar pattern. And for those who later followed the House impeachment of Bill Clinton and subsequent acquittal by the Senate, there are some definite reminders about how to, or not, approach these sorts of things.
Many will argue that the Watergate scandal started with the Nixon administration (and President Nixon himself) having an almost childlike obsession with one enemy -- Teddy Kennedy. Some may recall that the Nixon organization was convinced that Kennedy would enter the 1972 presidential race and America's love of Camelot would pose Nixon's worst nightmare -- another defeat to a Kennedy.
Back then, obviously there was no Internet and no emails. But even in the early 1970s, personal information was gathered in questionable ways under the guise of national security. Code names, false names and all other types of "spy versus spy" activity took place for purposes of "opposition research." And, as has been noted by many others, the IRS was used as a political weapon.
Most of us watching the evening news in those years could hardly keep separate what activity was taking place by government officials as opposed to the sketchy group that made up Nixon's official and unofficial campaign operation.
There was an enemies list that came to light during the Nixon years. And the idea of playing hardball politics -- some might call it Chicago-style politics these days -- was the norm with the Nixon crowd. Oh, and by the way, Nixon had an attorney general who was stubborn, loyal to the president and tough, but he did resign early into Nixon's second term.