woody zimmermann 120A local radio talk-jock I listen to likes to say, “If liberals didn’t have double standards, they would have no standards at all.” This has been true for some time – as I shall sketch out in a brief history below – but has seldom been as obvious as it is in this election year.

During the 1940s and ‘50s, many media figures sympathized with the Soviet Union and its political system. Indeed, some were outright “fellow travelers.” Communism became a cause célèbre during the 1930s, when young, idealistic American liberals joined the fight against Franconian fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Their alignment with Stalin and the Soviet Union was reinforced during Part II of World War II, when the USSR sacrificed much to help defeat Hitler and the Nazis. In Part I of the war (1939-’41), Stalin was actually allied with the Third Reich, thereby giving Hitler a free hand to conquer Poland. American Liberals were very quiet during this period.

After the war, our political posture toward the Soviet Union shifted, as Stalin showed just as much ruthless ambition as Hitler. President Truman recognized this immediately, as did numerous other political figures – including many Republicans. One of these was Richard Nixon [1] of California, who was a key member of the House Un-American Activities Committee. In that highly visible role he helped expose the communist affiliations – sometimes at a treasonous level – of certain officials in our government. One such was State Department employee Alger Hiss [2] who was accused in 1948 of being a Soviet spy. Nixon’s work drew the eternal hatred of the American liberal left – an animus that lasted far beyond the 1950s and ultimately cost Mr. Nixon his presidency.

The opportunity for liberals – particularly those in the media – to crush their anti-commie arch-enemy finally came after a 1972 burglary of the Democratic National Committee’s Watergate offices was discovered and traced to the White House. A special prosecutor found that the president had lied about his knowledge of the break-in. Mr. Nixon tried to hide this, but – as so often happens – the cover-up really blew things up. Americans’ ears were ringing with politicians’ and journalists’ accusations that “He lied to the American people!” (If I had a sawbuck for every time I heard that phrase in those days, I would be well-off today.)

Mr. Nixon might have scotched the controversy either by making a clean breast of things, or else by destroying the tapes that contained the damning evidence of his complicity. But his personal pride and sense of history would allow neither course. Finally, with key members of his own party deserting him, Mr. Nixon gave up and quit.

The conventional wisdom is that Mr. Nixon would have been impeached by the House of Representatives, convicted by the Senate, and removed from office. I join a company of historians who aren’t so sure about that, but certainly the war-drums were thrumming and the media were in full cry. It was going to be the news extravaganza of the century. Wishing to spare the country the disruption – not to mention his personal humiliation – that all this would bring, Mr. Nixon stepped down. Liberals were disappointed to lose the chance to publicly crucify their historic foe, but their hatred was finally sated.

The contrast of these events with the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton could hardly have been greater. Both Mr. Nixon and Mr. Clinton were accused of actual crimes: Mr. Nixon of involvement in a conspiracy to conceal a burglary; and Mr. Clinton with jury-tampering and perjury in connection with a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. All of these charges were very serious matters which would have sent any ordinary citizen to jail, if convicted.

Democrats made much of the fact that Mr. Clinton was charged with offenses that had occurred before he became president, while Mr. Nixon’s alleged crimes were committed while he was president. It’s an interesting distinction, but it has no real bearing on impeachment. The Constitution cites only “high crimes and misdemeanors” as legitimate grounds for impeachment, but says nothing about the timing of these offenses or what they might be. Those determinations are left to the judgment of the representatives who impeach – i.e., vote to indict – and the senators who vote either to convict or acquit.

Media activity played a major part in the proceedings against both presidents. In Mr. Nixon’s case, the theme of his having lied to the American people was relentlessly pounded by the media, as though no president in history had ever done such a thing. Likewise, the conspiracy – i.e., the cover-up – was cast by media as possibly the greatest crime in the country’s history. I’m not here to argue that these were trivial matters. Certainly they were serious. But Mr. Nixon did have national security concerns [3] that motivated the burglary and the cover-up that followed. A frank public discussion of those issues might have answered the public’s questions and given the media no place to go. Mr. Nixon’s pride, however, would not let him take that course.

Mr. Clinton, on the other hand, benefitted greatly from the media’s claim that his impeachment was “all about sex,” since it was conjoined, in the public’s mind, with salacious disclosures of the president’s dalliances with a young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. Special Prosecutor Ken Starr delved into those allegations, as well as the Clintons’ involvement with the Whitewater real estate scandal, but these matters did not bear on the central issues of the impeachment proceedings – i.e., serious offenses involving perjury and jury-tampering. The media showed its bias by continually hammering the theme that Mr. Clinton was being persecuted for sexual misbehavior which, while somewhat distasteful, was hardly an impeachable offense.

In the end, however, Mr. Clinton’s hole-card was unanimous support from his own party, which Mr. Nixon unfortunately did not have. Not one Democrat senator voted for either of the two impeachment charges brought by the House. On the jury-tampering charge, the vote went 50-50, with five Republicans crossing over to acquit. And on the perjury charge ten Republicans joined the 45 Democrats to make the tally 55-45 for acquittal. [4] Mr. Nixon knew he could never count on unanimous support from his own party, let alone crossover votes from Democrats.

Only a few historians have connected the dots of the media’s outrageous double standards in these two cases. But today the cat is totally out of the bag, double standard-wise. All-in for the Mrs. Clinton, the mainstream media have bashed Mr. Trump as “temperamentally unfit” for the presidency, while slavishly touting his opponent as the “most qualified candidate in our history” (as Mr. Obama put it). She is, by media telling, the absolute epitome of presidential timber. It has been an amazing spectacle.

By now, however, even Hottentots in Africa know that Mrs. Clinton is possibly the most corrupt candidate since Aaron Burr to contend for the American presidency. There is no hiding it. Only the compliance of a DoJ totally under her own party’s control allowed her to skate past security violations, committed while she was Secretary of State, that would have cost any other citizen his job and possibly his freedom. Besides that, the charitable foundation she and her husband established has operated as a money-laundering vehicle for millions in “donations” from foreign governments and individuals who had dealings with her at State. Those contributions – which remain uninvestigated by the FBI – have made the Clintons rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Estimates place their net worth at over $100 million. (Not bad for a couple who were “flat broke” – Mrs. Clinton’s words – when they left the White House in 2001.)

Big Media have done their best to hide Mrs. Clinton’s dirty laundry in the broom closet, but the stink of it is befouling the campaign. It has become impossible for the media to spray enough verbal air-freshener to mask it from the public – mainly because Big Media no longer control the news as they did during the Nixon and Bill Clinton era`s. The internet is awash with stories about Mrs. Clinton’s e-mail mishandling and the gazillions raked in by the Clinton Foundation during her tenure at State. Fox News and other cable channels continue to hammer these stories, despite repeated political attempts to silence them. It’s out of control. There is no hope of putting the wild horses back in the corral.

On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton’s media acolytes have constantly tried to pitch Mr. Trump’s “unsuitability” for office, but the story lacks traction. It is – to the average (non-Democrat) voter – fundamentally unbelievable. How in the world – ask cab-drivers, barbers, storekeepers, accountants and all manner of working Americans – can a man so successful in business possibly have the hair-trigger temper, dishonesty, irrationality, and foolishness that the “Clintonistas” claim he has? Business-people all over the country know, instinctively, that it simply cannot be. No one would work with (or for) such a man. He could never have made the deals that brought him international fame with such a volatile, unhinged persona. The story is not credible.

As the campaign grinds on to its inexorable finish, the liberal media have become increasingly desperate to find something (anything!) that can stop Mr. Trump from becoming America’s first non-politician president since Dwight Eisenhower. Recently they have even revived the outdated “birther” issue. For several years Mr. Trump had insisted on seeing Mr. Obama’s actual birth certificate to verify his citizenship. The controversy finally ended when Democrats produced a copy of the document that they claimed recorded Mr. Obama’s birth in Hawaii. Although some remained suspicious that the document was somehow faked, the release ended Mr. Trump’s inquiry. Current media have tried to revive the controversy in order to discredit him with black voters who might be considering him instead of Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton’s greatest challenge has been the “third term” issue – i.e., the public’s perception that she represents a third term for Mr. Obama’s policies. Although she poses as an agent of “change,” she also reassures minorities that her presidency will continue the Obama presidency, which she is honor-bound to depict as wildly successful. In other words – as any fourth-grader could tell you – she is trying to have it both ways. It’s a tap-dance that even Bo Jangles would admire. But it is Mission Impossible, unless she can convince enough voters that everything in the Obama-garden really is lovely.

Selling that counter-intuitive idea is liberal media’s great task this year. Numerous economic reports ostensibly show how many more jobs are being “created” and how much incomes have grown under Obama’s reign. On the national security front, Mr. Obama and his liege-men have all but turned themselves blue trying to convince Americans that they are safer than ever before, and that the increasingly frequent terror attacks occurring inside our borders are just “nuisance crimes” committed by “lone wolves” unconnected to radical Islamic forces advancing across the globe. But now, in the midst of revelations that recent bombings in New York and New Jersey, plus a stabbing incident in Minnesota, were perpetrated by ISIS-aligned Muslim immigrants, comes news that some 900 immigrants scheduled for deportation were actually granted citizenship by incompetent (or corrupt) federal officials. On top of all this, Mr. Obama has ordered admittance of 110,000 new Syrian refugees over the next year. Mr. Obama’s safety-tale is a Tijuana Gold pipe-dream that is going up in smoke.

Mrs. Clinton’s problem is that much of the public can clearly see that all is not well with the economy, national security, law-enforcement, and immigration. Her pose as the calm, sensible, experienced pro who will “stay the course” that Mr. Obama has charted does not reassure voters. Some are still unsure about Mr. Trump, but more and more are realizing that Mr. Obama’s way is not working and that we must have new solutions.

Big Media’s heroic efforts to brand Mr. Trump as an ignorant buffoon who just fell off the turnip truck have flopped spectacularly. Their hackneyed double standard – Democrats good, Republicans bad – is way past its discard-date. And Mr. Trump’s inspiring message of freedom, work, economic growth, and national strength is ringing out across the land. With growing clarity and confidence he speaks directly to millions of dispirited Americans who wonder if the Ship of State can ever be righted and set on a true course. Mr. Trump believes he can do it, with the help and support of patriots all over this great country. God bless him for making the attempt.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

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[1] After earning two battle stars in the Pacific as a US Navy Commander during WWII, Richard Nixon won election to Congress, where he served from 1947 to ’53. He then served two terms as Dwight Eisenhower’s vice president. After a controversial 1960 presidential election-loss to John Kennedy, and a much-mocked 1962 California gubernatorial election-loss to Pat Brown, his political career was considered kaput. But he came back to win the presidency as the “law and order” candidate in the tumultuous campaign of 1968, during which Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy were assassinated and independent George Wallace, running on a segregation platform, won 46 electoral votes from five states in the deep south.

[2] Alger Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy by Whittaker Chambers, a former member of the Communist Party USA, who produced evidence to support his claim. Although the statue of limitations had expired on the espionage charge, Hiss was convicted in 1950 on two charges of perjury related to the case. He subsequently served three and one-half years in prison. Although evidence released after the Soviet Union’s breakup indicated that Hiss was quite likely a Soviet spy, he maintained his innocence until his death in 1996 at age 92.

[3] President Nixon indicated that concerns over national security compromises caused by Daniel Ellsworth’s 1971 release of the so-called Pentagon Papers to The New York Times had prompted him to approve the Watergate break-in. Members of his staff believed that information related to Ellsworth’s psychiatric treatment might be discovered at the DNC headquarters and used to discredit him.

[4] Republican senators who voted to acquit Mr. Clinton on the perjury charge were: Chafee (RI), Collins (ME), Gorton (WA), Jeffords (VT), Shelby (AL), Snowe (ME), Specter (PA), Stevens (AK), Thompson (TN), and Warner (VA). Of that group, Senators Chafee, Collins, Jeffords, Snowe and Specter also voted for acquittal on the jury-tampering charge, while Senators Gorton, Shelby, Stevens, Thompson, and Warner voted to convict. Every Democrat senator voted for acquittal on both charges. After Mr. Clinton left office, an Arkansas judge disbarred him for five years and fined him $90,000 for his conduct in these matters.