Who Are You Calling “Nixon”?

Mitt Romney unleashed the N-word on John McCain today, accusing him of using campaign tactics “reminiscent of the Nixon era.” “I don’t think I want to see our party go back to that kind of campaigning,” Romney said. He was referring to McCain’s misleading charge that Romney, like Congressional Democrats, had advocated a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq.
I agree with Romney’s complaint about McCain’s attack, but I’m not sure the Nixon comparison is apt. My recollection of Nixon’s career is that he was at least as often the target as the perpetrator of unfair attacks. For example, it’s hard to think of a charge made in the midst of a Presidential campaign more misleading than John Kennedy’s invocation of a fictitious “missile gap” with its attendant implication that Nixon was soft on Communism. I can understand why the Democrats like to demonize Nixon, but there isn’t much to be gained by Republicans joining in the effort. Given that Romney is appealing to Republican primary voters, it would make more sense to call McCain’s distortions “Clintonian.”
UPDATE: Our friend Seth Leibsohn reminds me of something I’d forgotten: Romney’s derogation of Nixon is especially inappropriate, given that his father served in Nixon’s cabinet for four years.
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