My Standard Is Always the Same: Reverse the Roles, and How Would I Feel?

There’s honestly no better way to evaluate a political controversy than to ask yourself how you would feel if the roles were reversed.  Think power should be wielded more forcefully? How would you feel if your opponents were doing it in service of something you vehemently opposed? Think your opponents claims of corruption are unwarranted? How would you feel if you saw your opponents doing something nearly identical but in different circumstances? Flipping the script like that tends to clarify a lot of things while avoiding a whole lot of special pleading.

So that’s how I’ve been handling this whole Trump/Russia thing. If, for example, Hillary Clinton had been shown to be indirectly benefiting from Iranian interference in our electoral processes while also negotiating a lucrative deal with them for her foundation, how would I have felt? And how would her opponents have felt?

The answer to both questions is the same: white-hot outrage. My Republican friends know this about me, and this know this about themselves. What’s so sad is that how few of them are willing to apply this same standard in reverse. And in particular, how few of the Christians are will to do so. Because replace “Trump” with “Clinton” and “Russia” with “Iran” but keep all the other major details in the Mueller report the same and she would’ve been impeached so quickly your head wouldn’t even have time to spin.

So as I always say in moments like these: remember this. Remember that their principled-sounding arguments aren’t principled but situational. Remember that the standards they demand Democrats must adhere to when in power are standards that they cheerfully ignore when they hold the reigns. Remember this the next time Democrats are in power. Remember this and IGNORE THEIR ARGUMENTS while pursuing the greater good. Maybe one day they’ll be willing to work with us again in a network of trans-partisan norms and standards, but they are not willing to do so now. They broke the game, and it cannot be repaired until both sides want to repair it together. REMEMBER THIS and ACT APPROPRIATELY.

Source: Mueller report: winners and losers – Vox

“Pelosi’s freshmen fracture amid GOP pressure.” Or not at all, if you actually can read

Politico runs with the inevitable DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY theme. Only…

Freshmen Democrats in swing districts say they have no plan to stop voting with the GOP when they feel the need. They’ve even been given the blessing to do so by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), despite resistance from Pelosi.
— Read on www.politico.com/amp/story/2019/02/14/house-democrats-freshmen-voting-gop-1169554

Yeah, sure. Clyburn and Hoyer are for it but Pelosi isn’t. She’s being outmaneuvered by her deputies and by Republicam leadership at the same time. Makes sense.

In other news, you wanna buy a bridge? I’ve got a really good deal for you if you actually!

For gods sake–this is exactly, precisely the story Pelosi would want told about these members in swing districts. They’re bucking leadership! They’re independent! They’re double-crossing Pelosi! And the worst part of it is, I’d be willing to bet that at least one of the reporters on this story knows that’s what’s going on.

Stop it. Stop. It.

Two quick thoughts on Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbooks photos

1) Obviously an apology isn’t nearly enough. Northam needs to go, and he needs to go this weekend. I was in eighth grade in VA back in 1984, and I knew that blackface was f’d and the KKK was evil. He was in medical school. He was an adult. He could’ve addressed this at any time, but he waited until he got caught. And that tells you everything you need to know about who he is. That matters.

2) This yearbook has been available for anyone to see for decades. His Republican opponents could’ve used it at any point but didn’t. More to the point, rather than use the obvious line of attack this presented, they instead chose to attack him for turning his back on VA’s confederate past. Put more plainly, rather than attack him for being a racist, they instead attacked him for not being sympathetic enough to racists and nominated an avowed neoconfederate to run against him . That also matters. Remember that as they pretend to be outraged.

Gov. Ralph Northam ‘deeply sorry’ after photo emerges from his 1984 yearbook showing blackface, KKK hood
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/virginia-politics/va-gov-northams-medical-school-yearbook-page-shows-men-in-blackface-kkk-robe/2019/02/01/517a43ee-265f-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html

The Freedom Caucus now supports asset forfeiture and presidential emergency declarations. Remember this next time

It’s all fraudulent, the invocations of freedom and limited government and “don’t tread on me” hatred of government. They mean none of it. They never have

Had a Democrat done any of this, they would’ve pretended to object on principle, but that was always a lie. What’s changed is that’s now been made obvious.

And yet,,,here’s one of the leaders of the House Freedom Caucus enthusiastically endorsing the second of emergency powers to seize private property inorder to advance their public policy agenda. By definition, whatever principles he has, they don’t prohibit this.

twitter.com/repmarkmeadows/status/1083733171106209792

Don’t forget this next time. Take none of their “principled” complaints seriously. They mean none of it. None. Of. It.

And they say we’re the ones with the identity politics problem: “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

They are who we thought they were. They’re what we thought they were:

“I voted for him, and he’s the one who’s doing this,” Minton told Mazzei. “I thought he was going to do good things. He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

Source: A Trump voter hurt by the shutdown’s incredibly revealing quote – Vox

Once upon a time you all lived through, they were the party of “family values” and “christian values” and “faith and freedom.” I’ve spent the better part of two decades trying to convince people that it was all a fraud, and for the longest time most of my non-political friends thought I was a bit daft in my insistence that it was all just a front for centuries-old white identity politics of the Southern variety. “There are no Southern racists in Montana and Nebraska,” they would say.

Y’all believe me now, right?!? We’re weren’t imagining those dog whistles. They meant what we said they meant, and now they’re saying all the quiet parts out loud.

An Emergency Declaration would be an extraordinarily stupid precedent to set.

politi.co/2FdM1DT

Sure, this solves their short-term problem. Trump makes the declaration, attempts to comandeer the resources, and gets tied up in court while regular appropriations get passed. Ok.

But long term? Y’all aren’t paying attention if you don’t think the new generation of Democrats won’t use the same set of powers in the future for their own ends. It’s inevitable.

There’s a really simple rule to live by: never support the use of a set of powers by your pqrty that you arent willing to later recognize as legitimate when your opponents inevitably use them too.

Don’t built a surveillance state you don’t want your opponents running. Don’t start a war you don’t want your opponents managing. Don’t support the use of emergency powers you don’t want your opponents to use. Not now. Not ever. It will always end up a mistake. Always.

Disjunction Junction

Disjunctive presidents wake up after the midterms to discover they desperately need the establishment for their survival, only to discover that they’ve spent so much time pissing the establishment off with their style of rhetoric and governance that the establishment no longer wants or needs to protect them.

About that: washingtonmonthly.com/2018/12/13/trump-suddenly-realizes-his-survival-depends-on-the-establishment/