Saturday, July 11, 2020

What in God's Name Are They Thinking?

Last night, the President commuted the 40 month jail sentence of his friend and co-conspirator Roger Stone. Stone has not been shy about wishing for this outcome; in fact, he quite bluntly reminded the President in public many times how valuable his silence has been. For it, he was amply rewarded by the plenary power of the Republic's first Mafia Don Chief Executive. 

Some who read this will fall in line with the President's rationale--witch hunt, procedural crimes, no underlying offense, politically motivated, yada...yada...yada...  I doubt there will be many reading this who think this way, as by now, most of them have decided I'm not worth reading anymore, anyway. We'll discuss them in a moment. 
Roger Stone, criminal
Roger Stone, felon

But there is simply no substance to this defense. This is an abuse of power, and it puts to rest ANY suggestion that an actual crime has to be committed in order for something to be impeachable. In fact, the power the President exercised here is HIS AND HIS ALONE, and it cannot be undone. 

Some may point at the ongoing kerfuffle over the General Flynn prosecution as evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. Flynn lied to the FBI in an official statement (and then lied to the Vice President) about the subject of his pre-inaugural conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the United States. And though it is very difficult to conclude that Flynn was clean in this case, if one skews their sense of justice, one can be convinced that Flynn's prosecution was unjust (I don't believe this. I think he was guilty of what he was charged with).

But Stone? Stone is so thoroughly and deeply guilty it is not even funny. And yet he will walk. He will walk because the man exercising this unquestioned authority is so thoroughly corrupt as to 
set a new standard of misconduct in this office. 

I woke today and scoured my Twitter feed and the newswires for any evidence that even one Republican of note had publicly commented on the miscarriage of justice Stone's commutation represents. Not one. Not a single, elected Republican.  (Editor's Note: Mitt Romney rose to the occasion while I wrote this). But its worse than that. The folks I used to huddle in the (metaphorical) foxhole with as we tried to get what I believed were principled conservatives and civilized human beings elected to the Presidency....people who turned their backs on integrity and honor in the pursuit of ephemeral political power, personal financial gain, or some combination thereof....are also uniformly silent. These are not reticent people, mind you. They are happy to speak out on what the view as Chinese perfidy, the hypocrisy of the NBA, or the Marxism of BLM (each of which by the way, they are correct about). But across the board, fear of Donald Trump and his incompressible base has rendered them limp, silent, feckless, and beside the point.

When I see them spouting off on social media about everything under the sun except the ONE BIG THING that they ignore, two things come to mind. One general, one personal.

First, I wonder if they realize how much damage they are doing to their own ability to be seen as competent and reliable voices of opposition when someone of the other party occupies the White House? They have so often surrendered the high ground to the man they've tied their fortunes to, that when the time comes for arguments to be made from it, they will not know where to go to find it. This is a serious point. Joe Biden and his team are going to have to be constrained from the right...but upon what principles will or can these people stand? Putting aside the emergency money voted as part of an economic rescue this year--this crowd silently assented as Trump knee-capped Paul Ryan and other voices calling for entitlement reform. When the inevitable call for increases in entitlement spending come, upon what arguments will they draw? Where will they find credibility? On free trade, they have willingly given the issue away. How can they reclaim it, in the light of 3.5 years of sliming it? Given the level of constant flat out corruption that they have enabled, how ever will they have the moral standing to point it out in others? 

The second thing I think about--and Catherine would be shocked if she knew I were writing this--is that I wonder what they think about me? I get a lot of mileage around the house with my "I don't really care what people think about me, I only care what YOU think of me" line, and Catherine appears to have bought into it--thinking that I am just stubborn and pigheaded (and occasionally exhibiting a little jealousy in my approach). But it isn't entirely true. I do wonder about this. When these people see what I write, what do they think? Has my raving for four plus years convinced them that I am an unserious and unsophisticated person, that there is important work to be done and someone has to do it, that I am a naive waif who simply doesn't understand how the game is played? Have they long ago muted me so as a result? Has my constant reminder to them that not everyone turned their back on conscience and principle, caused them to question even one iota of their descent, or has it more likely caused them to tune me out as their self-image was strained? 

As I've written here before, I've lost friendships over all of this. There are some who consider this "sad", and an overreaction. They ask "why can't we all just get along?" and "is it really worth losing friends over?" My answer remains the same--my standards for friendship are so much higher than my standards for political affinity. You cannot be my friend if you shill for this, you cannot be my friend if you enable it, you cannot be my friend if you are so inconsistent as to repudiate core beliefs in pursuit of personal gain, you cannot be my friend if you defend the corruption and dishonesty and incivility and chaos. By doing so, you by definition do not possess the basic character necessary for being my friend.

I get it. My friendship wasn't worth that much to begin with. I have to agree with you. I get that my pompous, self-aggrandizing, preening about principle and integrity is tiring. I get that my reminders about founding documents and bedrock beliefs are out of step with your fungible ideology and your personality-based loyalties. 

But...and I mean this with all sincerity...I hope it was worth it. I hope your time in the sun was all that you'd hoped it would be, and that when President Trump rides off into glory after his term is over, you are satisfied with what you have accomplished and the price you paid. I hope the hobbling of the GOP was worth it. I hope the reinforcement of the GOP as a white, racist party...was worth it. I hope your repudiation of 20th century American conservatism was worth it. 


Hammer said...

Oh Lord I just saw this! So glad you're back, well back blogging I mean. You're not 'back' as your high-minded, self-serving, arrogant diatribe makes clear.
Speaking of clear I very much regret your clarity of thought has not returned to you as yet, which is the absolute definition of 'sad'. Anyone who will not listen, not necessarily agree with but WILL NOT LISTEN and consider other points of view is sad individual indeed. We all suffer from tunnel vision from time to time but yours is the size of a pinhole. Perhaps a few years of leftist rule with more and more marginalized Americans with no jobs, no power of self determination and no freedom will do the trick. Or maybe you just like to complain.
Regardless it's good to have you back and I'll be reading your stuff, hoping against hope the old CW returns. We need guys like you (once were).
BTW here's a good rebuttal to your post.

Conservative Wahoo said...

Ah, Hammer.

Thank you for piping up and reinforcing the wisdom of my decisions.

B.Smitty said...

This Liberal Hokie is a fan. Keep calling it as you see it.

Anonymous said...

Bush 1 pardoned the following:
Elliott Abrams
Duane Clarridge
Clair George
Alan Fiers
Robert McFarlane
Caspar Weinberger

Bush 2 pardoned
Scooter Libby


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