July 10, 2024

The Wheels Are Coming Off

We all need a more balanced look at the series of crises facing our great nation.

Wow! Even for this crazy presidential campaign season, the past two weeks have been bizarre — a combination of President Joe Biden’s chilling display of senility in his debate with former President Donald Trump, the subsequent media meltdown, Biden’s frantic effort to keep his candidacy alive, and several foundational rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court with short- and long-term implications.

The surprising part is not Biden’s deterioration. It has been obvious for some time that he cannot possibly serve for another four-year term as president. What’s astonishing is how immediately so many of his former supporters have been willing to kick him to the curb.

It was an abrupt U-turn at highway speed. Seemingly overnight, the Biden stalwarts went from casual dismissal of concern about their candidate’s mental health to shocked recognition, then sadness, and then anger at his reluctance to step aside. Since then, the Biden camp has been working furiously to steady the ship, but the damage is done.

Political strategists like narratives — simple, well-packaged storylines that “help” voters see things their way. We now know that “sharp-as-a-tack Scranton Joe” was just another narrative actively pushed by the Democrat Party and happily cemented by the Leftmedia. It blew up in just 90 minutes and is gone forever.

The overnight implosion of that fiction prompts the question: What other carefully constructed election narratives are still floating around? I can think of several:

1.) Political narrative: In the 2024 election, our very democracy is at stake. Trump promises to be a dictator and is poised to destroy our nation.

Democrats routinely parrot the same line as Senator Bernie Sanders — that Trump is the most dangerous presidential candidate in U.S. history. Nonsense. That’s the campaign message of a party with no track record to run on — rampant illegal immigration, cost of living up by 20%, turmoil abroad, and increasing crime at home.

There’s little mystery about Trump — we saw him as president for four years. And any voter seriously concerned about losing democracy need look no further than the Biden administration’s election-year lawfare blitz against the president’s political rival — unprecedented and categorically anti-democratic election interference.

2.) Political narrative: January 6 was the worst day in American history — an insurrection that nearly succeeded. The day Biden claims “we almost lost it all.”

This narrative is integrally linked to the Trump-is-a-danger-to-democracy narrative. After all, they tell us, Trump incited that insurrection!

Of course, J6 was not an insurrection, not even close; it was an ugly, violent riot in the same vein as too many other violent riots in recent years (this year included). Nevertheless, Democrat leaders have gone to great lengths to convince the public that J6 was an insurrection, and they are doing so in ways that trample the rights of many Americans.

The Biden DOJ continues its coast-to-coast dragnet, arresting and prosecuting anyone (over 1,400 to date) who entered the Capitol building that fateful afternoon, regardless of how benign or brief their trespass. Hundreds were charged with “obstructing a government proceeding,” a felony violation lifted from a statute passed by Congress years ago after the Enron scandal, intended to prevent the falsification of accounting records to cover up criminal actions.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that the Enron statute is clearly not applicable to the misbehavior of J6 protesters. Its misuse by the DOJ — and the resulting convictions and severe jail terms — has unjustly destroyed the lives of hundreds of American citizens.

3.) Political narrative: Our current Supreme Court is led by a renegade right-wing majority, MAGA extremists appointed by Trump and doing his bidding, hard at work taking away our rights one by one. They must be stopped.

More nonsense. But that narrative has legs. Biden declared the Court’s ruling last week on presidential immunity to be a fundamental departure from established limits in presidential power (it’s not). As is so often the case, media hysteria knows no bounds. Ryan Cooper, managing editor of American Prospect, wrote that the Court’s recent decisions reduce our Constitution to a “meaningless scrap of paper.” Please.

The Court ruled that presidents have blanket immunity from prosecution for actions central to their official duties, presumed immunity (subject to legal challenge) when exercising presidential privilege, and no immunity for personal actions. It was a balanced and entirely sensible ruling, consistent with a long-term practice that protects our presidents from the debilitating effect of performing their duty under constant threat of future politically motivated prosecution (i.e., lawfare).

Yes, the High Court’s ruling benefits Trump by further complicating the outstanding indictments against him, but it will inject some reason into what has been a runaway lawfare train. The real beneficiary of the justices’ very sensible ruling is President Biden himself, who would otherwise be vulnerable to prosecution (payback by vengeful Republicans) for his own consequential misjudgments as president.

Voters, ignore the buzz. If you don’t like Trump, if his demeanor bothers you, don’t vote for him. But he’s not evil, he won’t steal our democracy, and he’s already shown that he can handle the job of president. Whether or not he incited the mob action on 1/6/21, it was certainly not an insurrection. Our Supreme Court justices continue to stand above the political fray and hand down rulings that help to keep an even keel for years to come. Theirs is a demanding lifetime job, and they do it well — an enormous public service.

And our U.S. Constitution, 237 years old, is just fine.

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