In the early 1970s, the press obsessed about President Nixon's alleged "isolation," especially as the Watergate scandal, which in an objective lookback has to be seen as relative child's play compared to what we're seeing now, unfolded. Proof that Nixon's "isolation" had been a constant media theme in previous months is found in an NBC Nightly News report on May 10, 1973, when a White House staff reorganization was characterized by reporter Richard Valeriani as "Nixon moving to end President('s) isolation."
On Fox News's "The Five" on Friday, Democrat Bob Beckel relayed what he said was an anonymous comment by a person in a position to know about how cut off from external advice President Barack Obama is. It seems arguably creepier than any degree of isolation Nixon may have ever had, for reasons which I will explain below. Let's see what Beckel had to say following co-host Andrea Tantaros's comment that Obama has a "Stepford staff just sort of nodding at whatever he says," and Greg Gutfeld's assertion that Obama "doesn't have anybody in his circle" with the nerve or access to intervene (bolds are mine):
... ANDREA TANTAROS, CO-HOST: I think if he had advisors around him that weren't Stepford staff just sort of nodding at whatever he says, they would pull him aside and they would say, it's not a good look for you. This is serious, OK?
... (GREG) GUTFELD: You know what he needs? In every movie, the main character has a best friend that comes over and tells him all the things he needs hear to get the girl back. He has less friends than E. coli.
He doesn't have anybody in his circle that says, "Dude, time for an intervention, you're scaring the crap out of the country, you've got to stop playing pool." He doesn't have that.
It's time for an intervention. But the groupies in the media, they won't help him.
... BECKEL: I talked to a guy who is intimately involved in their campaign, both of them. And I said to him, can you guys give me anything to work with? Anything? It would be nice.
And he said about Greg's point about the close people around him, he said you have to know what it's like to get through Valerie Jarrett and Michele Obama, and I think that's a tough deal for anybody on a staff to do. This guy is not on the staff, but he made it pretty clear to me, the Stepford comment is maybe something to that, because he lives in a zone that nobody else goes to.
... (KIMBERLY) GUILFOYLE: I don't think he wants to hear it either. I don't know that he's very open (to criticism — Ed.) --
BECKEL: Oh, you're right about that.
If this characterization was coming from a Republican or conservative insider, it would be widely covered. But in this instance, anything beyond stone silence from the rest of the establishment press will be a surprise.
The complaints about Nixon's "isolation" revolved around how no one could supposedly get past "Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean," whose power was memorialized as they were on their way down in a 1970s song.
As reprehensible as some of these men's actions were, they were at least people who came in with solid backgrounds and credentials. Imagine how much further the press would have turned up the heat on Nixon in the 1970s if his gatekeeping inner circle had consisted only of wife Pat and just one of those four gentlemen. With Obama, it's arguably worse than that theoretical situation would have been, because Valerie Jarrett has nothing resembling the resume with real-world military, business or legal experience any of those four men had.
But here we are. Unlike what occurred during the Nixon administration, don't count on anyone in the establishment press to make anything beyond the occasional quiet and quickly buried observation the nation's president being in "a zone that nobody else goes to."
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.