Into the depths of Trump Derangement Syndrome
The perspectives and opinions on the latest presidential hub-bub to engulf official Washington are still rolling in. Many of them are unmoored from reality, in that they make assumptions the facts simply do not support. But others are like this one, from Reason Magazine's Nick Gillespie. If you are not familiar with Gillespie, he is a liberatarian, and in no way is a friend or ally of Donald Trump. But what he says about the current media mania surrounding the President is worth sharing (some strong language ahead):
In the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey, whose recent testimony on Hillary Clinton's emails was so flawed and incompetent that his underlings immediately issued a clarification to the Senate Judiciary Committee, virtually every non-Republican #NeverTrumper (plus Sen. John McCain, who has some good reasons to hate Trump) has called for The Donald's head on a platter. And this was all before the tantalizing possibility of a "Comey memo" detailing various attempts by Trump to shut down an investigation of possible ties between former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and Russian operatives.
But let's get real: At this point in the game, all the explainers about how impeachment works (the 1990s called, they want their sex scandals back!) and adapting the 25th Amendment's ability to remove the president from decision-making during colonoscopies to the current crisis are evidence-free exercises in ideological masturbation. If we are going to survive not just the Trump years but eventually get around to kick-starting the 21st century, we're going to have become smarter media consumers and demand more from both our politicians and the press. "The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo," explains the Paper of Record, "but one of Mr. Comey's associates read parts of it to a Times reporter." As Reason's Scott Shackford has noted, that's what Joe Biden would call a "big fucking deal" if it turns out to exist and to be accurate. It's also a pretty big if at this point.
But even before Comey's possible "paper trail" documenting President Trump's demands (which may or may not actually rise to the level of impeachable offense) came to light, his enemies were out in force. For god's sake, they wanted him impeached even before he was the Republican nominee.
The animus against Trump, be it on the right, or the left, has been palpable for well over a year. And it is true that many of those who were convinced he could not, under any possible circumstance, beat Hillary Clinton, are still reeling from the election night results.
It has lead them to grasp at whatever straws happen to be available, including James Comey, who many on the left wanted to see drawn and quartered for destroying Hillary's grand march on Washington:
Comey is the guy, we should recall, who tried to strong-arm Apple into undermining its phone encryption even though it was able to crack the San Bernadino's phone just fine, who gave Hillary Clinton aides immunity and allowed them to destroy their laptops, and recently attacked the First Amendment because it gave Wikileaks space to publish authentic-if-purloined documents. The best thing you can say about Comey is that he's no Louis Freeh or J. Edgar Hoover, which is the textbook case of damning with faint approbation.
Needless to say, none of this absolves Donald Trump of any wrongdoing. But impeachment talk this soon and this thick is coming not from a place of seriousness but pure partisanship and ideology masquerading as disinterested belief in the public good.
Fortunately, the calls for impeachment are confined to the extremes (so far). And for very good reason: no one has any hard evidence, nevermind facts, to implicate Trump of anything.
But in the hothouse climate on the left, and in newsrooms across DC (but we repeat ourselves), facts and evidence do not matter. They want Trump gone. Not because he has done anything illegal. But because he offends their sensibilities.
The lengths they will go to in order to put their world right could lead us to some very dangerous constitutional ground.