Okay, here is one thing that Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin both have in common. Both of them are heads of state in countries in which their leading political opponent has been arrested for cause—that cause being the fact that they are a leading political opponent.
So that I don’t leave you wondering what I think of the gobsmackingly bad arrest and indictment of the Donald, I will roll my cards right here at the front end. In fact, I probably just did. Not only is this banana republic stuff, it is not even competent banana republic stuff. Trump himself would tell you that if you are going to be a banana republic, you ought to be the best banana republic, putting all the other banana republics in the shade. All the other banana republics ought to seem worthless in comparison. But no, DA Bragg had a better idea. Why not a lame sauce banana republic?
This is beyond risible. This is what happens when any one of the 3 Stooges finally graduates from law school, and a well-connected relative gets them a cushy job as a prosecutor. This is the kind of thing that leaves competent enemies of the former president wrenching at their heads. This is what that renowned legal scholar Edgar P. Twombley IV would call “a howler.” I mean, golly.
We can all take comfort in the fact that we are in a battle with clown world. That’s a plus. It ought to concern us somewhat that the clowns appear to be winning.
So the DA man ratcheted a misdemeanor charge up into 34 felony counts, where the alleged misdemeanor was past the statute of limitations anyhow, and he managed to do this without specifying the crime that the misdemeanor was supposedly covering up. When you charge somebody with a felony, let alone 33 other felonies, it is the usual custom to tell somebody what the felony was. At some point I would think that the defense attorneys would want to know. They might actually inquire. They might ask a judge to help them inquire.
“For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.”
Acts 25:27 (KJV)
“A grand jury would ‘indict a ham sandwich,’ if that’s what you wanted.”Sol Wachtler
Now I Call You All to Witness . . .
I do not rail against these sorts of monkeyshines for any partisan reasons, but rather as a loyal son of the republic. I do not object because I believe that most of our politicians are self-sacrificial public servants—because I do not think that. A lot of them could go to jail, and no injustice done. So that’s not the reason, and couldn’t be the reason.
And I had exactly the same sentiments during the 2016 campaign, when a lot of the Trump crowds were quite fond of chanting, “Lock her up!” And to prove what I say here, take a look below at what I wrote immediately after Trump’s surprise win.
There is another problem, a practical thorny one. Outside the realm of overblown campaign rhetoric, Hillary really is a corrupt and mendacious politician who richly deserves to spend some time in jail. On the one hand, you don’t want a system where some people are above the law, “too big to jail,” and on the other you don’t want a system where the loser of an election goes to jail. In my view, in our situation, the latter outcome would be far worse, far more dangerous. So I think that one of the things Donald Trump needs to do is to let it be known that he will not interfere with any ongoing investigation of Hillary, but that if she is indicted and convicted of anything, he will pardon her. The price of the pardon would be that she would have to retire from public life—no memoirs, no Clinton Foundation, no nothing.Me, writing days after Trump won in 2016
Unless the crime is a glaringly obvious crime, which even the corrupt politician’s mother grants was way over the line, and simply not to be done among civilized peoples, the prosecution of a losing candidate simply guarantees that the elections will thereafter descend to levels of unimaginable filth and violence. Jailing the leading political opponent turns every election into a caged death match, and this does not help to keep the tactics clean. Think about it for just a minute.
And when I say the crime alleged would have to be “glaringly obvious,” remember that it would have to be way more egregious than Hunter’s laptop, and I think you can take my point. When a losing candidate has only one way to preserve his life, or his freedom, and that way is to remain in power, then by golly he is going to do whatever it takes to remain in power. And we live in a time when “whatever it takes” represents quite a range of options.
Now it appears to be screamingly obvious to me that this indictment of Trump is of the naturopathic variety. If this indictment were chicken noodle soup. it would have been made by boiling a pot of water, and then having a chicken walk through that water on plastic stilts. At the other end of the spectrum, the case that could be assembled against Hillary, alleging high levels of malfeasance, unfeasance, and badfeasance, is a case that would be, um, solid. It could be especially solid if you got the kind of conservative prosecutor who was willing to leave the Arkancides out of it. But in a situation like ours, solid or not solid doesn’t really matter.
We must also keep in mind the fact that arrests made during a political season in which passions are inflamed is another way of just asking for more ongoing tumult. Because political feelings run high, it is self-evident to many on the right that the Biden family is a criminal cartel. Now to be fair, this feeling is buttressed by the fact that they are a criminal cartel. But because political feelings run high, it is also self-evident to many on the left that Donald Trump is a crook and a threat to democracy. The fact that passions run high on both sides does not make the feeling automatically correct, but it does help to ensure that every single election is going to be followed by Retaliation Time. Every single time.
Peaceful transitions of power are one of the great blessings that we have enjoyed in this country, and apart from the notable exception of the election of Lincoln, we have enjoyed that blessing for centuries. If you want to guarantee that such peaceful transitions go the way of the passenger pigeon, then go right ahead. Start using electoral victories as a mandate for using the legal system to go after your chief political opponent. What a terrible idea. I feel this way about the prosecution of Trump, and I would have felt the same way if Hillary had lost and been subsequently prosecuted. And I also feel the same way about any possible prosecution of Biden in the aftermath of the next presidential election.
But On the Other Hand . . .
Having said all of this, it must be remembered that it is neither wise nor safe to allow those with power to abuse that power without consequences. That can’t be good either. Corruptocrats are people too, and they respond to incentives and disincentives just like everybody else. When you penalize something, you get less of it, and when you subsidize something, you get more of it.
“Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NKJV)
So how are we to balance all of this?
My ideal approach to this problem—and it is a thorny problem—is that criminal prosecutions should be reserved for the thugs, henchmen, and underlings, speaking here of the top suite over at the FBI, and that you should use the tool of impeachment for the top dog. To be convicted of “high crimes and misdemeanors” should be sufficient. If that tool were used with discretion, and if we could persuade everybody to restrain themselves, that would be a good way to go. But naked and savage partisanship in the course of an impeachment process won’t keep these things out of the courts, but would rather serve as an incentive to pile on with the courts as well.
So alas. The problem here is that in the modern era, we have more or less wrecked the instrument we once had with impeachment. Impeachment of a president is a process that been misused every time we have done it, or even started to do it. I am not including Andrew Johnson here, but only because he is not in our generation. I do include Nixon, Clinton, the two Trump fiascos, and whatever dog’s breakfast is going to be served up next.
Our problem is that an ignoble people do not usually have a lot of noble options. We threw those away some decades ago. So let us get back to our actual situation on the ground.
The Strategy in All of This
There are two possibilities regarding the political strategy here with Trump. This is obviously an instance of high corruption in the courts, because the legal system has been turned into a cat’s paw for a particular partisan agenda. This is partisan, no doubt. But what kind of partisan strategy is it? It is plainly a partisan strategy, but what partisan strategy is being deployed?
That partisan agenda could be one of two things. Both of them are corrupt, but one is really dumb and stupid, and the other is perhaps a little too tricksy by half.
The dumb and stupid one is what would be the case if the Left here is actually trying to hobble Donald Trump, trying to hurt (or destroy) his chances at the Republican nomination. But in a Republican primary, this whole debacle is going to do nothing except strengthen Trump’s lead in that race. A couple more indictments would probably sew the thing up for him. Take any other Republican candidate, or potential candidate, and wish them luck when it comes to them getting any air time whatsoever (Nikki who?). And, since somebody smart on the progressive left probably knows this, that would indicate the second possibility.
Perhaps they know that this helps Trump short term. That’s what makes this such a tricksy plan. Perhaps they know that they are strengthening Trump in his primary run for the nomination, and they are doing this in the conviction that he would be the easiest candidate to beat in the general election. This would mean they want Trump to win the nomination, and then lose the general. But if Trump is the person who drives them absolutely bonkers, and he does, it seems a bit thick to put him in a position where he could possibly surprise them a second time. If this is their plan, it makes a little bit more sense than the first one, but I still believe they are sailing a little bit close to the wind.
The Dilemma of the Fastidious Conservative Voter
This whole thing is a crowning abuse of power in a long train of abuses, and that’s saying something. It started with the FBI in 2016, and it has been steadily downhill from there. And the fact that it is such a violation of all of our customs, norms, protocols, and laws puts the fastidious defender of all our institutional norms in quite a pickle. According to this approach, Trump is the central threat to civilized politics and so he must be defeated. But what Trump has actually done is provoke the denizens of the deep state into running their game in the daytime. The reason they believe Trump is so vile is that he makes them behave in vile ways.
I define a certain kind of “never Trump” voter as the fastidious voter here, and if the Left fails in their attempt to deny Trump the nomination, or it they succeed in their attempt to help him get the nomination, then in that circumstance the fastidious conservative voter has quite the dilemma before him. He must stay true to his “convictions” and refuse to vote for a candidate whom he deems a corrupting influence on our institutions but then, if he does so, he has become an essential part of that corruption himself. They must join up with the vile in order to prevent the vile man from normalizing the vile.
In order to prevent the Trump-vile-style from winning, they must become vile and corrupt themselves. And that means they must now openly join forces with the slow motion deep state coup that began in 2016, and has violated more norms and corrupted more institutions than Donald Trump ever dreamt of doing.
Quite the dilemma. In order to prevent gunky man from getting into the White House again, the pure ones have to go live in gunkytown. If you think that Trump is someone who believes the end justifies the means, and you understand what a civic catastrophe this would represent, then he needs to be kept out of the White House by any means necessary—meaning that in your book the end justifies the means. I think we should all look at the fastidious voter, and wish him luck.
And the fastidious voter will also have the dubious honor of having to tell his grandchildren that when America was going through its equivalent of Mao’s cultural revolution, he didn’t lift a finger to resist it.
And In the Meantime, Don’t Take the Bait
And just a few words to those conservatives who have not lost their minds or their wits. All this turmoil is not accidental. Do not be fooled.
The bad guys are doing this to us across many fronts, and Auron Macintyre summed it up the tactic nicely. “They kick the dog with reckless abandon so the minute it tries to defend itself they can justify shooting it.” That is the play that is being run, and we ought to conduct ourselves accordingly. We must live as though we know what they intend to do. Don’t take the bait, in other words. What am I saying? I am saying that we shouldn’t take the bait.
We are being baited in the corruption of our electoral system, in the corruption of our justice system, in the corruption of the Bud Lite marketing team, in the corruption of all our public discourse, in the corruption of medical science, in the corruption of technology, and I could easily triple the length of this paragraph if I wanted to. A troubled girl who was talked by all the smart people into believing she was a boy shot up a Christian school, murdering six people. That was the moment when the White House declares that the trans community is “under siege.” That is kind of thing I mean by “baited.”
But I have been saying “don’t take the bait” for long enough that a number of you have asked, in various ways, “Okay, but if we shouldn’t take the bait, what do we take?” It is not enough for me to be telling you all what not to do, what should you do?
Of course, you should stay engaged with all the things. Vote like someone with a Christian mind. Testify at meetings of your county commissioners like someone with a spine. Call your state legislature about important bills that are pending. All of that. We shouldn’t back away from any of that. But that is not where the real action is. The real action is within the church.
The main thing that Christians need to do now is get engaged with the government of the church they belong to. They should petition the elders to have the pastor address the sins of our generation from the pulpit. A moment ago I said that we are at the beginning of a cultural revolution, our equivalent of what Mao launched in 1966. Our cultural clashes became a culture war, and then after that they are now becoming a cultural revolution.
Ask your elders to have your pastor preach on the sins of cowardice that have afflicted the leadership of the evangelical movement for a generation or more. There should be some recognition in it that the whole lockdown/masking issue as applied to the church was simply a tyrannical beta test, used to gauge the softness of the church. Turns out it was pretty soft. Ask your elders to have the church recognize that we are in a time of cultural revolution, and to state from the pulpit that your congregation stands against it, and that when the time of testing comes, your church will not comply.
And if you say to yourself, “this kind of thing will be really difficult to get them to say,” you at least now know where the actual problem is.