Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Threats from the historian

Q: Which senior politician is threatening a major newspaper with tax problems if they continue to expose Labour's spin on Pledge Card spending.

A: Michael Cullen. Bernard Darnton explains:
Yesterday, the NZ Herald published a story comparing “The Spin” with “What Actually Happened”. Cullen has suggested that the paper “consider the consistency of its position” (ie start to toe the party line) and implies that if they don’t they might find themselves “liable to a very large tax bill.”
Remember how Franklin Roosevelt used to set the IRS on his political opponents? I'm sure Cullen does; he's a professional historian and a Roosevelt-admirer. Remember Richard Nixon's 'Enemies List'? Seems Cullen's starting one too. Nixon's Attorney General John Dean explained the purpose of the 'Enemies List' in a memo:
"This memorandum addresses the matter of how we can maximize the fact of our incumbency in dealing with persons known to be active in their opposition to our Administration, Stated a bit more bluntly —how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies."
If Cullen is learning from history, he might reflect that within three years of boasting about using the available federal machinery to screw his political enemies, Attorney General John Dean was to become Inmate John Dean -- and a good job too.

There are some limits to power.
LINKS: Mikey “Avelli” Cullen Gets Nasty - Bernard Darnton
Nixon's Enemies List - Wikipedia

RELATED: Darnton V Clark, Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour, History-Modern

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