Incredible hypocrisy as Democrats demand Trump be arrested once he leaves office
Elections are no longer just an advanced auction of stolen goods, as Mencken so gnomically put it. They're now advanced cases of court remand.
The Trump campaign's winning strapline may have been "build the wall," but it was the stadium-friendly chant of "lock her up," in reference to Hillary Clinton's skirting of the law, that really kindled supporters' excitement.
At the time, the half-joking incantation of incarceration at Trump rallies was seen as an existential threat to democracy, the Constitution, baseball, apple pie, and the red-white-and-blue bunting your mother drapes over the porch balustrade every Fourth of July.
The late Charles Krauthammer decried the threat of bringing Clinton under the remit of the law for her illegal email practices. "Such incendiary talk is an affront to elementary democratic decency and a breach of the boundaries of American political discourse." You know an august commentator like Krauthammer is truly offended when he uses the genteel noun "affront."
While keening over the death of institutional civility in the Washington Post, two university professors described the chants as "disturbing" yet "inevitable," because "[Republican] attacks on the legitimacy of Democratic candidates and presidents are hardly new." Fancy that, seeing as how liberals haven't met a legitimate Republican president since Warren Harding, and even he had some peccadilloes of his own.
"This is also not how democracies work. Elected officials do not jail their foes," Yoni Appelbaum preened in The Atlantic. Appelbaum, in sticking with his high ideals, now wants Trump to be impeached.
Democrats and their friendly mimeograph operators in the press have now fully reversed field on the question of legally threatening your political opponent. What was once a banana-republic campaign strategy is now the newest wrinkle in the Democrats' playbook.
"A role reversal is starting to play out, with some Democrats openly taunting President Donald Trump with threats he'll be the one spending time behind bars after he's out of office," reports Politico. At least two presidential contenders are openly considering prosecuting Trump after he's out of office. Senator Kamala Harris, whose trimmer ambitions and plasticated, put-on smile belie a martinet-like prosecutorial record, said the Department of Justice "would have no choice, and that they should" go after Trump once he no longer enjoys legal immunity. Pete Buttigieg, the upstart mayor of South Bend, Ind., explained in an interview, "To the extent that there's an obstruction case, then yes, DOJ's got to deal with it."
Even speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has so far demurred at the prospect of impeaching the president, said she wants to see Trump "in prison." Nance might want to check in with all the derelicts in her district smearing scat and dropping hypodermic needles in the streets before she considers throwing Trump in the clink.
All the talk of Trump's comeuppance, and the near guarantee of Democrat voters chanting "lock him up!" at Cory Booker's living-room conclaves, provides a nice contrast to the president's raucous 2016 campaign, which was regarded as not in good odor by journalists who frequently get the vapors over Trump tweets. Several words come to mind as Democrats drool over the idea of imprisoning Trump: hypocrisy, overwrought, vindictive, histrionic, petty, puerile, perfervid. None of those will make an appearance in the reporting on Democratic rallies, though; only kooks are highlighted at Republican events, while charmingly bigoted fellows like the Black Hebrew Nationalists are an unremarked upon presence wherever Democrats speak.
On a larger note, the idea that a presidential successor would prosecute his predecessor is ludicrous. Even when the previous administration broke laws, American presidents move on for the sake of the country. From the Obama administration granting immunity to CIA agents accused of torture to Ford pardoning Nixon to Andrew Johnson granting pardons and amnesty to the Confederacy to Senator Edward Ross saving Johnson from subsequent impeachment to even Trump refraining from prosecuting Clinton, there's a thread of forgiveness woven into the warp and weft of our nation.
American mythology emphasizes the primacy of the rule of law, but what really sets the U.S. apart from other countries is our continuity, our uninterrupted rule under one canon. It might offend sticklers for the written law that some skate and some don't, and, indeed, it should offend the sensibilities of every fair-minded American, but societies are fragile things. Like sweaters, they can easily unravel on a nail. Sometimes it's best to put the integrity of the whole above the meticulous enforcement of every consonant and vowel of legal code. As Irving Kristol wrote, "When you apply the prudential view to politics, you see that the job of government is not to shape society according to some design of perfection but to cope. The business of government is coping."
The Democrats' second-rate send-up of Trump's rebellious mantra is just that: a derivative campaign gimmick. When it starts being taken seriously, you'll know that the cable-news cognoscenti who fretted over the inimical effect of Trump's rhetoric on our institutions were only putting on act.
Then again, you might already think that.