I guess we all should have expected this, but there seems to be a rising call from the Very Serious and Sensible Minds of the Discourse to pardon Trump. This clamor for mercy is not surprising, I suppose, given that one of the Golden Rules of American Politics is no matter what a Republican does, somehow the Democrats need to bend over backward to take the hit for it.
First, we have Jason Willick from the Washington Post, or as I like to call him, Young David Brooks. You know, Very Sensible and Serious, a Reasonable Conservative. Jason, it seems, is at least consistent in his views that law and order applies to certain people, but not others. This is from a podcast where the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was discussed.
I mean, frankly, we had riots across our cities, you said 50 million of damage in Kenosha. It was billions of dollars nationwide, and it was condoned, and a lot of people saw it. And when you condone violence like that, bad things happen. The best answer, if you say you don’t want vigilantism, is to have law and order and to have a working police and justice system. So, that’s a lesson, and I hope the lesson isn’t just “Well, we need more gun control,” or something. I mean, the lesson is, of course, if you have a state of nature, which is frankly what was allowed in many of America cities, violence is going to follow.
I guess I would have to see the evidence of left politicians condoning violence during the summer of 2020, but as you can see, his general outlook on “law and order” and “working justice system” apparently is heavily focused on people who are not white conservatives. On one hand, he’s a typical conservative hypocrite, but at the same time, he’s consistent in that he is a conservative hypocrite across the board.
Meanwhile, over at the Chicago Tribune, David McGrath, who is generally a pretty thoughtful person, believes that Biden should pardon Trump for the “sake of our nation.” He states that for him, writing that was difficult, as he believes that Trump should probably face justice but it is not worth the unrest, division, and violence. Besides, he writes, everyone now thinks that Clumsy President Gerald Ford did the right thing by pardoning Failed Criminal Mastermind Richard Nixon.
First off, not everyone thinks that Ford’s pardon of Nixon was the right move, and in fact, there are solid arguments being made that such a pardon is what got us here. I agree, and I would include letting Iran-Contra and potential war crimes in Iraq slide as part of it as well. Each instance of Republican bad behavior since Watergate has been worse for the country, and God help us if this trend were to continue after a Trump pardon.
This argument is a bit more complex. I am no legal beagle, but it seems rather sound, although I am not sure setting conditions that he doesn’t run for office if he is pardoned would work as a scheme to keep Trump out of office. People like Trump are not really into keeping their word. Any student of the Reconstruction Period can tell you this didn’t necessarily work:
President Abraham Lincoln’s offer of amnesty to Southern rebels required that they take an oath of loyalty to the Union. Some recipients were also required to agree to clear with the US military any correspondence they proposed to send to a resident of the South.
As in, that didn’t stop a de facto Confederate authoritarian rule from forming in the American South after the Civil War, i.e. the Dixiecrats.
So, some of these folks at least have their heart in the right place. But not all. Perhaps the worst of the bunch is Rich Lowry’s terrible op-ed. Not linking to it but I’ll let Brian Beutler sum it up for you:
Nearly every paragraph of Rich Lowry’s execrable op-ed contains a deception, delusion, or lie, but this part here is where he confesses to marrow-deep GOP corruption: if Trump faces real accountability for actual crimes, the GOP will gin up false pretexts to imprison Democrats. pic.twitter.com/7Vu4Sz27lc
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) August 22, 2022
Trump and his movement that has hijacked the Republican Party CANNOT be allowed to dictate the terms of social peace and preservation of the rule of law. They cannot hang the absolute impunity of Trump over our heads in exchange for no violence. In no way, shape, nor form would that indicate a healthy democracy. Nor would it guarantee that anyone on Trump’s side would learn a lesson, or be grateful for the clemency. Iran Contra happened about 10 years after Watergate, and was worse. Obviously, no one in the Republican Party learned a damn thing from Nixon’s pardon.
No way Trump, or his Republican allies, will take a pardon as a second lease on life to use as a chance to be better. They will snicker and keep trying to dismantle our democracy. Remember when Professional Sucker Susan Collins said that Trump learned a lesson after the first impeachment?
No offense to anyone who thinks that pardoning Trump will make his cretins less apt for violence, make Trump realize the errors of his ways, or even keep him out of politics…but you obviously did not learn any lessons either.
The last word goes Judas Priest, with a song that is basically Trump’s outlook on life: