Pardon Me For Emphatically Laughing At You

It started on Thursday morning; or at least that’s when I detected it. The right wing op-ed machine coalesced behind Donald Trump with the same sorry argument.

In the wake of Jack Smith’s Miami indictment of Trump even his most ardent sycophants have realized that he is eventually toast. This is all but an admission of guilt and defeat. It may or may not happen in Miami – more about that in the future – but there are many other potential venues and that end result is inescapable. Trump will be found criminally guilty and very possibly before the 2024 election. Smith alone has at least two other probable venues (DC and New Jersey) in which to indict Trump.

The plea is that Trump should be pardoned ala Richard Nixon. There is a lot to unpack here. Let me start with a history lesson benefitting from hindsight. When Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, I was among those who bought his reasoning that the country needed to move beyond Watergate and heal. I WAS INCORRECT!

Allowing Nixon to skate set a precedent that a president or ex-president was above the law. Punishment for a crime is, at least theoretically, among other things a disincentive. Following that logic, non-punishment is very possibly an incentive to commit similar crimes in the future.

Allowing Nixon to skate contributed to the lawlessness in office we saw from Ronald Reagan (who I feel would have been impeached had the country not still had a bitter aftertaste in its mouth from Watergate), George H. W. Bush (at least by complicity in Reagan’s dealings), and George W. Bush. Trump simply took it further and unlike the others, but like Nixon, acted in self-interest not pursuit of some ideological viewpoint.

The pardon pleas come complete with justifications based on flawed analysis of Ford’s pardon of Nixon and a round of whataboutism. Whataboutism is simply a shiny object distraction. Almost all of the current round of it is based on long ago debunked tales that only continue to live in right wing mythology. You would think these right wing thought leaders would be ashamed to advance them.

If the reporting is to be believed the Republican National Committee itself is in the game. Asa Hutchinson (yes, he is running for the 2024 GOP nomination) went to the RNC and asked that their loyalty pledge be altered to indicate that any candidate would pledge to support the eventual nominee with an “escape clause” in the event that the eventual nominee had a felony conviction. The RNC refused. Evidentially that was too high of an ethnical bar for today’s Republican Party.

Further reporting is that Trump is pressuring his rivals to pledge that should they be the next president that they would pardon him. Regardless of the accuracy of those reports several have already made that pledge or hedged in that direction. In my mind the pledge of a pardon is alone a reason to not vote for that candidate.

The conduct in question is recent. Trump celebrated his 77th birthday this past week. These acts were not some youthful mistakes. Whatever happened to the core conservative principle (all these Republicans claim to be conservatives) of personal responsibility?

We are either a nation of laws (imperfect as their enforcement may be) or not. Right wing spin machine your arguments are ludicrous!

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