And, like Ahab, their preoccupation is all about revenge, even though Republicans joined Democrats in demanding that Nixon resign.
Recall that shortly before Nixon was re-elected in 1972, news broke of a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington’s iconic Watergate Complex.
Thanks to a pair of intrepid reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, the small-time burglary became a big time scandal reaching all the way to President Nixon’s Oval Office.
The burglars, it seems, were in the pay of the GOP campaign and the president, we now know, worked tirelessly to hide his ties to the break-in, giving birth to the cliché, “the cover-up is always worse than the crime.”
Funny thing is, if you take away Watergate, Nixon was a pretty good chief executive.
On his own initiative he began a dialogue with Red China and started negotiations to end the Vietnam War. Nixon conceived and signed into existence the Environmental Protection Agency. He was the president when men first landed on the moon.
Sadly, Nixon will be remembered for Watergate, forced to resign his office in disgrace. Even though it was self-inflicted, the Watergate humiliation has haunted Republicans evermore.
In 1992, Bill Clinton was elected president, his reputation as a voluptuary preceding him to Washington. Republicans eagerly embarked on a hunt for their white whale, looking for the scandal that would force the young Democratic president from office and, more important, finally even the score.
And this time the GOP had Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the conservative entertainment complex to echo and amplify any and all accusations they made against Clinton, true or not.
Thus, what began as an investigation into an allegedly crooked real estate deal, many years and many more taxpayer millions later, led Republican Special Prosecutor Ken Starr to … a stained blue dress.
But in an amazing ju-jitsu move, instead of Clinton being driven from office, it was Republican House Speaker and chief Clinton antagonist Newt Gingrich who resigned, along with his heir apparent, Rep. Bob Livingston, after the pair’s extramarital affairs were exposed.
Clinton went on to complete his term and remains one of the most popular politicians in American history. His wife, Hillary, is our exemplary Secretary of State and possible 2016 presidential candidate.
Enter Barack Obama. From almost his first day, Senate and House Republicans began searching for any whiff of scandal in the president’s White House. They thought they had something with their bogus Fast and Furious investigation; “Obama’s Watergate,” cried Forbes, before F&F fizzled.
Now they’ve seized on the Sept. 11 tragedy in Benghazi as the “scandal” that will finally ruin a Democratic president.
Politicizing the terrorist attack — something Democrats never did after 9/11 — Republicans have lowered the boats, with Sen. John McCain in the prow playing Captain Ahab, baselessly demanding a “Watergate-style” investigation while shamefully smearing U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s reputation.
Ahab was out for payback in his maniacal search Moby Dick. McCain is no less unhinged, seemingly bent on revenge, bitter and frustrated that a little known and seemingly unaccomplished Illinois senator defeated him in 2008.
It’s sad, even pathetic, watching the 76-year-old McCain blindly flailing about in the twilight of his career after sacrificing so much for the country he loves.
The senator would do well to remember what happened to Ahab after he finally sunk his harpoon into Moby Dick.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.