LETTER: Politicians named 'Nixon' seem to always deceive the public

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | 2:59 p.m. CDT

Why can’t politicians named “Nixon” be forthcoming? Unfortunately, the United States presidency was degraded in 1974 by investigations into Richard Nixon’s illegal campaign activities. Had “Tricky Dick” merely provided requested audio tapes and cooperated with investigators, we would remember him today as a master of foreign policy and an admirable steward of the environment. Instead, his name has become synonymous with political cover-ups and corruption.

Now, Governor Jay Nixon refuses to come clean about when his office learned about dangerous E. coli levels in the Lake of the Ozarks. Jay blocked the Springfield News Leader from viewing surveillance tapes taken outside his office to see who he met with from DNR and when he met them. Fortunately, these tapes became unnecessary when former DNR communications director Susanne Medley reported to Senate investigators that she informed the governor’s office of the E. coli problem in May. Of course, Jay did not notify the public of the hazardous E. coli conditions until the end of June.

Even worse, Jay unconvincingly blames poor communication for keeping him from informing the public of the threatening E. coli tests. Yet, his disingenuous responses to reporters suggest he is still withholding information. Evidently poor communication is his method of choice to suppress the truth.

I suppose the only step left is for Jay to insist that he is “not a crook.”

Hence, Jay has not only betrayed Missourians’ trust but also failed to learn an important lesson in history. As a result, he is definitely living up to the name “Nixon.”

Daniel Willingham is a law student at MU and a Columbia resident.

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