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Brock: White House scandals aren't exactly a new development

Harvey Brock

Scandals, cover-ups, half-truths and lies coming from the White House are nothing new to this child of the '60s.

Judging by the time spent on CYB (cover your backside), some of the qualifications to be president must be extreme trust, naivety to the point of being laughable or simple incompetence.

Let's see. There was President John F. Kennedy's rumored mafia ties, election buying and White House infidelity. There was the escalation of the Vietnam War and rumors of his own infidelity when Lyndon B. Johnson was president.

Next was the Watergate burglary and cover-up that cost Richard Nixon his presidency and sent cabinet members to prison. There were rumors of President Gerald Ford's brokered pardon of the aforementioned Nixon.

Jimmy Carter's friend Bert Lance, as director of the Office of Management and Budget, was accused of financial misdealings in his pre-Washington career as a Georgia banker. Carter stood by him for a while but eventually couldn't stand the political heat, asked for and received his resignation. Ironically, Lance was later cleared of the allegations.

President Ronald Reagan had the Iran Contra affair and cover-up resulted in criminal convictions for members of his staff. George H.W. Bush didn't stand by his pledge of, "Read my lips: no new taxes," and his role in the Iran Contra affair while director of the CIA.

Of course, we had President Bill Clinton's intimate relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, or as he described it, an "improper physical relationship," despite telling the American people earlier, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." His denial while giving a deposition in another case resulted in a vote to impeach him by the House of Representatives in 1998.

President George W. Bush's White House's intelligence report, contrary to that of the United Nation's own, that Iraq had large caches of weapons of mass destruction was used as justification for going to war. The weapons never materialized and our country was already at war by the time it was disproved.

Finally, we have President Barack Obama's claim that he knew nothing about the orchestrated scrutiny of Tea Party members by the Internal Revenue Service, and we should trust the National Security Agency about the safeguards in place that while they're monitoring American's cellphones and social media, the information won't be used improperly.

I must not be the only one with doubts because Obama's approval rating in a recent CNN poll has plummeted from 53 percent to 45 percent, with 61 percent of U.S. poll respondents criticizing his handling of domestic government spying in wake of the NSA surveillance scandal.

Thankfully, if nothing else, history has proven to me that paranoia, deception, naivety and criminal activity is not political party specific, and I shouldn't be too trusting or surprised for whatever reason when the leader of the free world and most powerful man in the world sometimes make really poor choices.

Brock is the publisher of The Dickinson Press. Email him at