Knoxville News Sentinel - Michael Collins
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander accused the White House today of resorting to Richard Nixon-like tactics in dealing with political opponents and advised the administration not to compile an "enemies list" like the former president.
"These are unusually difficult times, with plenty of forces encouraging us to disagree," the Maryville Republican said in a speech on the Senate floor. "Let's not start calling people out and compiling an enemies list."
Alexander, who worked as an aide during the Nixon administration, cited recent efforts by the White House to "call out" those who disagree with President Barack Obama or his policies, including Fox News and the Chamber of Commerce.
Alexander said even he and Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, have come under fire on the White House blog for questioning whether the administration has too many so-called "czars," political advisers who don't require congressional approval.
"This behavior is typical of street brawls and political campaign consultants," Alexander said. "It is a mistake for the president of the United States and the White House staff.''
If the president and his top aides treat people with different views as enemies instead of listening to what they have to say, "they're likely to end up with a narrow view and a feeling that the whole world is out to get them," Alexander said.
"And as those of us who served in the Nixon administration know, that can get you into a lot of trouble," he said.