You must not compare Barack Obama to Richard Nixon! The depth and breadth of progressive hatred of Richard Nixon (1913-1994) surprises me. Shouldn't we be beyond this in 2009? But wait. Many of today's middle-aged progressives, such as Bill and Hillary Clinton, grew up hating Nixon. He was the personification of evil, in their minds. You can't just stop hating someone; you must take the hatred to your grave. Does anyone remember the scene in Where the Buffalo Roam in which Bill Murray (playing Hunter S. Thompson) yells "Nixon!"? This is his dog's cue (as a result of training, presumably) to attack an effigy of Nixon. And then there is Ronald Dworkin's classic smear:
Nixon is no longer president, and his crimes were so grave that no one is likely to worry very much any more about the details of his own legal philosophy. Nevertheless in what follows I shall use the name 'Nixon' to refer, not to Nixon, but to any politician holding the set of attitudes about the Supreme Court that he made explicit in his political campaigns. There was, fortunately, only one real Nixon, but there are, in the special sense in which I use the name, many Nixons. (Ronald Dworkin, "Constitutional Cases," chap. 5 in Taking Rights Seriously [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978], 131-49, at 132 [essay first published in 1972])
Among progressives, childishness never sleeps.