What The President Knows

Podium Awaits President at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado

A good friend of mine insists that President Richard Nixon was the finest President of the 20th century, and one of the finest of all time. This friend of mine is an intelligent man, and he makes a fairly strong case for Nixon. His assessment is based largely on his belief that Nixon’s diplomatic achievements saved the planet from nuclear annihilation. Between singing the Georgia Tech fight song as a disliked Vice President and pushing open the door between Communist China and the free world, Nixon kept everyone at the table long enough to keep everyone off the trigger.

I like to needle my friend with snappy retorts like:

He did an awesome job with Southeast Asia. “Mess with us, and we’ll secretly bomb the country next to you on the map.” And the home front was such a delight. The ’70s: That was fun. Thanks to “Tricky Dick,” America actually elected Jimmy Carter President. By 1979, the whole country was a suburb of Detroit.

His response to me normally entails the kind of language that he reserves for Georgia-Florida games in which the Bulldogs come up short.  (You’d think he’d be used to that by now.)

To be fair, I actually think that had Nixon been Secretary of State and Henry Kissinger been our U.N. Ambassador, the ’70s might have been a lot less costly for everyone. But Nixon’s greatest gift isn’t diplomatic; it’s the legacy he left behind. Nixon challenged the very core of the Constitution, and the Constitution held. Also, there’s loads of really cheap stuff on eBay thanks to “Ping-Pong diplomacy.”

Nixon is hardly lonely on the list of Presidents who lied. Lying wasn’t Nixon’s downfall; hubris was. Nixon forgot that the White House isn’t a palace, and Presidents are not kings. But he was neither the first nor the last to make that error. Witness the progress of the current Lord of the Oval Office.

President Barack Obama has yet to order a “third-rate burglary.” But his belief in his infallibility has turned him into a third-rate President. A couple of weeks ago, terrorists bombed the Boston Marathon. Even the corporate media is now acknowledging the fact that the Russians virtually flipped their furry hats to get someone in the Obama Administration to pay attention to the Tsarnaev boys. Either their warnings were ignored by low-level flacks, or their warnings were ignored by top-level flacks. As a result, the bombers accomplished their goal — not to mention a pretty lush, welfare-funded lifestyle — as a direct result of either Obama’s gross incompetence or deliberate malfeasance. As that fact sank in, the Democrats prayed the perpetrator was a “white American,” and then they made the aftermath a hypothetical conversation about the fact that it could have been. Obama’s failings disappeared in the haze of partisan liberal hate.

That same haze obscures Benghazi, Libya, about which Obama and his minions simply refuse to be forthcoming and may well have threatened witnesses and whistle-blowers; Operation Fast and Furious, for which the Attorney General simply laughed off criminal and civil contempt of Congress; the myriad violations of the Constitution contained in Obamacare (sorry, pro-lifers, the abortion is coming out of your pocket); and bold-faced attempts to assassinate the 2nd Amendment as a result of tragedies that anti-gun laws couldn’t and didn’t prevent.

Grading Presidents is obviously subjective. Out of a belief that steering the ship of state through extremely hazardous waters constitutes Chief Executive excellence, my friend considers Nixon’s accomplishments worthy of greatness. Out of irrational fear of things they don’t understand, naked lust for power or just plain laziness, today’s Democrats think Obama’s arrogant abuses of executive authority are acceptable, because those abuses make life easier for them.

We’ve had some great Presidents in the history of this great Nation. Even the greatest among them was flawed in some way. But they achieved greatness by remembering their true duty was to honor the people and the Constitution that make this Nation great. And just as Nixon’s personal demons clouded his political judgment, Obama’s ego has clearly clouded his.

–Ben Crystal

Personal Liberty

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.

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  • txbadonetoo

    I think most rational people understand that Obama’s ego AND his sense of Social Justic overwhelmingly guide his actions. Add those to traits to his blatant favoritism toward Muslims vs. Crhistians (when was the last time Obama lectured Morsi on his treatment of Christians within Egypt?) And when was the last time Obama chastised his own DHS or CIA for having training literature which targeted Christians and war Vets – but was scrubbed of any reference to Muslim extremist Jihads..

  • Dragon 1

    Obama does nothing for this country or the people, he just runs around trying to get everyone to love him like a celeb. His wife is the same way. Everytime I see anything about them it is supposed to be so special. Well, it’s BS !! I can’t stand either one of them. Obama LORD and MASTER over America !! WRONG….

    • Doc Sarvis

      Our country is in far better shape than it was when he took office. Of course there is much more to do but that is a mere illustration of how bad things were in 2008.

      • Mark

        And what do you base that statement on Doc? The unemployment rate? The number of people on welfare? Or corporate profits?

        • Doc Sarvis

          Let’s see; our combat troops are gone from Iraq and we are starting to get them out of Afghanistan, the American auto industry is doing better, the unemployment rate is down from 2008, Osama bin Laden is gone, people are not denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions, repealed “Don’t ask Don’t tell, boosted fuel efficiency standards (for cars & trucks by 2025?), tightened sanctions on Iran, and passed the Fair Sentencing Act to name just a small handful.
          Are things perfect? Of course not, but we have progressed despite of an unwilling congress. I think Conservatives expect a Democrat to be perfect and that is fine but when Conservatives accept so much less from Conservative legislators it is a gaping hole in your credibility.

          • Average_Joe56

            “Let’s see; our combat troops are gone from Iraq ”

            Really? Are there still US troops in Iraq? Yes. Are they still heavily armed? Yes. Do they still engage in armed conflicts in Iraq? Yes …so, by what measure are our combat troops “gone from Iraq”?

            “Osama bin Laden is gone,”

            Are you sure? Did you see the body? What evidence do you have to support this claim?

            “people are not denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions, repealed “Don’t ask Don’t tell, boosted fuel efficiency standards (for cars & trucks by 2025?), tightened sanctions on Iran, and passed the Fair Sentencing Act to name just a small handful.”

            So, writing 100’s of thousands of new “rules and regulations”, that everyone in the nation must now retool their lives around…is somehow a good thing? Just what we all need…the government to force us to act like human beings because they (and folks like you) don’t believe that we a capable of doing so ourselves and you think that’s just fine. Foolish person, you be.

            “Conservatives expect a Democrat to be perfect and that is fine but when Conservatives accept so much less from Conservative legislators it is a gaping hole in your credibility.”

            Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
            Robert A. Heinlein

            I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

            Robert A. Heinlein

          • Doc Sarvis

            “…100’s of thousands of new “rules and regulations”, that everyone in the nation must now retool their lives around…”

            I see VERY little if any negative change in life from what you refer to in this blanket statement you make above.

          • Average_Joe56

            “I see VERY little if any negative change in life from what you refer to in this blanket statement you make above.”

            I’m pretty sure, that the general consensus around here Doc….is that you “see very little”… period.
            Just since January, Obama has signed into law over 6600 new laws…obviously (for most of us), those laws effect someone……
            Just because you don’t personally “see something”, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen…..

            O ye of little reasoning power …

            Apparently there was small capacity disk and a governor installed on your brain…limiting the amount of information that it is capable of storing and the speed at which it can be absorbed… without a total meltdown. Seek removal… as meltdown has already occurred and brain no longer functions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/CapitalistAtBirth Greg Murphy

            [comment has been edited] By the way, how is the Obamacare fiasco working out? The rat that helped author the mess says it is a train wreck waiting to happen, and has quit, because he knows he can’t be re-elected.

          • Right Brain Thinker

            Still here?

          • Average_Joe56

            Yes, unfortunately…you still are…

          • Doc Sarvis

            The Affordable Care Act is working out pretty well. Thanks.

          • Vigilant

            Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha…Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha…Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!

          • Grey Winters

            if you are a statist pig and a progressive commie Obama is doing great. Some feel the need of a nanny form of government because of their insecurities and mindless state of existence. As industry dwindles and plants close across the nation liberal idiots find security in a benevolent dictator like Ocommie, who they believe will coddle them like the helpless infants they have become. We live in a country that has from great to a bunch of dependent retards.

          • stanli


          • http://www.facebook.com/CapitalistAtBirth Greg Murphy

            How many lives will the new fuel economy regulations cost? Do you think that the technologies are just sitting on the shelf and the Automobile companies are just waiting for the Government to tell them it is okay to use them now? Are these technologies real, and are they affordable by the average working class American? Have you read the estimates of what the costs are that these fuel economy regulations will cost in dollars and lives? I didn’t think so. How are the investors in G.M. that held bonds and stock in the company doing? Have you talked to any of them? I didn’t think so. I will never buy a G.M. or Fiat (Chrysler) product as long as I live, and I suggest all of you follow my example.

          • Right Brain Thinker

            Didn’t you say on another site that you were leaving PLD? Was that a lie?

          • Doc Sarvis

            Average_Joe56, Grey Winters, Greg Murphy
            Thanks for the personal attacks. I am not surprised you could not defend your side of the argument.

          • Average_Joe56

            [comment has been edited]

            My side of the issue is well defined, your side of the issue obfuscated and danced a bad jig. I asked you specific questions and asked for your proof of your claims. You completely ignored my questions and proceeded to give me more of your unsubstantiated opinion… the exact opposite of what was requested. You can either substantiate your claims with verifiable sources or admit that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about and that you are simply parroting “what you’ve heard”…[comment has been edited]

          • Doc Sarvis

            Gosh you folks do rush to judgment. I actually thanked you for the insults – no tears here, your attempts at denigrating me are actually funny.
            You claimed to have asked a specific question though I see no question marks in the above post. I will assume you are talking about your comment “Obama has signed into law over 6600 new laws…obviously (for most of us), those laws effect someone……”. Well laws usually do and since you provided NO specifics AND there is little difference in how the majority of Americans go about their daily business, one can only assume the laws you refer to are focused on that appropriate segments of the population. They may be laws that keep poisons our of your water, or make financial crimes more difficult, or improve the chance that someone who needs a certain medicine can get that medicine.

          • Average_Joe56

            “You claimed to have asked a specific question though I see no question marks in the above post”

            Blind too?

            “Really? Are there still US troops in Iraq? Yes. Are they still heavily armed? Yes. Do they still engage in armed conflicts in Iraq? Yes …so, by what measure are our combat troops “gone from Iraq?”

            Are you sure? Did you see the body? What evidence do you have to support this claim?”

            And you saw NO question marks at all? Set up an eye exam…you have a serious deficiency with your eyesight. I hope that you don’t drive until you have this issue fixed.

            “no tears here, your attempts at denigrating me are actually funny.”

            Unfortunately, Bob does not share our sense of humor and has become the speech police….a relatively new (and unfortunate) development on the site.

          • http://www.facebook.com/CapitalistAtBirth Greg Murphy

            Fascist rhetoric, one and all.

          • Eva


          • Karolyn

            Do you ever stop and wonder if things would be going along the same way no matter who was President? Do you really think it would be better under McCain or Romney?

          • perry holmes

            Say doc we are not out of Iraq we have many contractors there which we pay millions to keep there. so tell us more of Obamas works.Just look at Afghanistan where we pay the war lords millions to like us when he should just kill the. you are funny.

          • Doc Sarvis

            I DID NOT say we are out of Iraq now did I. I said our combat troops are out of Iraq.

      • Defend 2nd Amendment

        More unemployed, more homeless, more on welfare, lowest job growth, more reckless government spending, more taxes, more government regulation. The list goes on from this tyrant traitor. Time to stop the Kool Aide bro.

      • perry holmes

        If you think the country is in better shape you do not know how bad it is going to get in the rest of this year i hope you are rich because Obama is going to get your money by hook or crook.

    • perry holmes


  • Mike in MI

    Their ignorance … their loss – unless they consider change to the reality that they’re “not right”?

  • Oliver K. Manuel

    Regretfully, Ben, a long string of Presidents have lied to the American public out of fear and loathing that humans might destroy life on planet Earth if they had access to the source of energy that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Our leaders destroyed the integrity of our scientific research community to save themselves from possible destruction. http://omanuel.wordpress.com/

    With deep regrets,

    Oliver K. Manuel

    Former NASA Principal

    Investigator for Apollo

    • Right Brain Thinker

      Go away, Oliver

    • Wizzardly

      Let’s see: is that the NASA that has been re-tasked to boost Muslim self-esteem? What a joke.

  • Doc Sarvis

    A President’s “greatness” is a combination of many things including; policies that match the situation, an inherited economy that approximately matches those policies, a congress that is willing to vote on legislation that match the situation. I think President Obama is a “good” President because he has the first in that list but, beyond his control, had not had the benefit of the latter two circumstances.
    Some Presidents lie – outright, ALL Presidents hedge. President Obama joins with the hedgers.

    • Vigilant

      Sarvis, I’m afraid you’d flunk Political Science 101 with the ludicrous statement that a president’s greatness is even partly a function of the conformance of his policies with the economy he inherits. Or to assume that a complicit Congress contributes to his greatness.
      To correct your egregiously ignorant assertion, the greatness of a president, among other things, is gauged NOT by inheriting an economy that “matches his policies” but one that is in trouble and which is cured by application of the correct remedies.
      In this respect, the Obama administration has administered poison and not restorative medicine. Like FDR, he took a bad situation and made it worse. While FDR tried something new, Obama merely continued (and accelerated) the bad fiscal policies of the Bush administration. It is the “first” on your list in which Obama has failed miserably.

      • Doc Sarvis

        I did fine in Poli. Sci. It is you who is having difficulty with reality.

        • Vigilant

          Great answer. You might try addressing the facts of my assertion next time.

          • Doc Sarvis

            Provide facts as opposed to opinions if you want me to address them.

          • Average_Joe56

            “Provide facts as opposed to opinions if you want me to address them.”
            Pot calling the kettle black? Who woulda thunk?

          • Vigilant

            Provide some evidence that you know the difference between fact and opinion before you address anything.

          • Eva

            Doc Sarvis does not address facts, because he has none! All he is doing is spewing Obamas Lies!! Poor thing, you need to try thinking for yourself, before you lose the ability to Doc!! Or is it already too late??

          • Average_Joe56

            “You might try addressing the facts of my assertion next time.”
            Picture that happening….. lol

    • Eva


      • Doc Sarvis

        Destroy us? Wow, are you easily defeated. Most Americans have a pretty good backbone, not sure what happened to you. Life in these United States is great. I love this country and always have.

  • Thinker

    Ad hominum attack .. . . no intelligent counter-argument.

    • Right Brain Thinker

      Yep, I’m glad you’re smart enough to see that, Thinker—what I said was so terribly subtle that only the smartest thinkers would catch it.

      There is no sense trying to use an intelligent counter attack against Ben’s biased propaganda, so it’s more fun to make fun of it (and Ben). Thanks for noticing.

  • boyscout

    I am simply gabberflasted that so many here could believe that any (other than an isolated bad apple or two) of our elected officials would stoop to prefabrication. They rose to their vaulted positions thorough the honorable profession of politics (poly,grk: many & ticks: blood sucking parasites,) but unfortunately most were chosen from the human race, hence the few exceptions that prove the rule. My opinion, of course, is completely assumption based on the last 5 or 6 versions of history.

  • just_reality

    This is exactly the kind of objective evaluation we need to be doing of our presidents and all our elected officials if we expect to have a functional government and country. It is likely that all parties could come up with a list of what is good for the country, including a safety net for the poor, employment, no wars, clean air and water, a way of rewarding people who work harder or come up with important ideas.

    And we should be keeping tract of past mistakes, like deficit spending (almost every president from Reagan on), putting social security money into the general fund (Johnson), allowing Glass-Steagall to expire and setting up the 2008 financial collapse (Clinton), invading Iraq (Bush), so that we don’t keep repeating them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CapitalistAtBirth Greg Murphy

    Ben your friend is deranged. Yes, Nixon had a brilliant foreign policy when it came to China, but one should question his mishandling of the Middle East. His Fascist economic policies are one of the great causes of the economic decline. Carter wan inept and had know idea what to do, but the economic decline was caused by wage and price controls instituted by Nixon and the out of control money printing, to help pay for the attempted destruction of a third world country (North Vietnam), by the Federal Reserve. Nixon, Obama, Carter, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, F.D.R., Hoover, Wilson, Teddy R., and Lincoln are the worst Presidents in the History of the U.S. Quite frankly it is difficult for me to come up with great Presidents outside of Washington, Jefferson, Coolidge, Kennedy, and Reagan.

  • Dale Jensen

    Beam me up Scotty their is no intelligent life down here.

  • perry holmes

    is just Obama just a crook like nixon he wants to be the leader of the new world order?he said in his discussion with news men that he was a young islamic man which stands to reason with his destroying of the USA!

  • 1PierreMontagne1

    Ben Crystal – very good comparisons to Nixon et al. I would like to be able to agree with them. If it were not that there is something else going on. This is a president who’s lies are far bigger than any historical lying common to so many politicians. This is a president lying to effect radical change on the nation. A president contemptuously and condescendingly lying to people he sees as “Suckers for Lies and liars “. The lying is a “go for broke” strategy that is now of such enormous proportions that fear has created the Political Correctness that is more comfortable with the suppression of rather than revelation of truth in the aims and philosophical goals of this president.
    So much so that at the recent press dinner he could posture himself as the successful psychopath, and contemptuously state the obvious and political correctness mandates that is be called “self deprecating humor”. It was Obama’s way of saying while at the same time laughing with his audience – “I own you!”

    We may take the view that Obama is making a mistake made by other presidents, even Nixon ion the area of Hubris; but we can only do so because we haven’t a clue what four more years of Obama’s change is gong to do to;
    Our Economy, Our Constitution, Our election process, or his Executive orders – those orders that no other President every sought to create and that Obama has said he would never use – do we add “never use” to all the other lies?