March 23, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
As they attack the prosecutor, just say what the Republicans mean, not what they say
Make them deny it.
Once again, we’re chasing down and debunking every single Republican talking point instead of saying what the Republicans mean. We can’t quit our fetish for the trees. Meanwhile, we’re missing the whole forest.
As you know, Donald Trump might be indicted this week on charges related to a hush-money scheme investigated by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The criminal former president said over the weekend he expected to be “arrested” Tuesday. He wasn’t. (A grand jury hearing evidence from that inquiry was expected to convene Wednesday but was delayed until today. A vote to indict appears to be imminent.)
Trump’s allies in the Congress are not waiting around. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called DA Alvin Bragg’s investigation “political vengeance.” Three House committee chairs said it was “an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.” Florida Congressman Byron Donalds said it would mean a system of “two-tier prosecution” that targets Republicans but not Democrats.
The temptation is understandable. The Hill’s Albert Hunt said these are the same people for whom oversight means “cheap stunts by partisan grandstanders slavishly determined to get Biden and protect Trump.” The Bulwark’s Dennis Aftergut succumbed, too. “In effect, Republicans are suggesting that Alvin Bragg wouldn’t prosecute Joe Biden if Biden had bribed a porn star with whom he’d had an affair to keep her quiet just days before his election. Need we say more?”
No, we don’t.
We didn’t even need to say that.
Let’s concentrate less on the talking points themselves, which are inexhaustible, and more on what the Republicans mean by them.
That way, we are not limited to what they say, but are free to define their position. And what they mean with these talking points is this: that it’s a crime when a Republican is held accountable for his crimes.
Think about it.
The “rule of law” is about equality – equal treatment under law. But as the Editorial Board’s Rod Graham said, virtually everything about the illiberals in the Congress and elsewhere is bent on protecting, preserving, maintaining and advancing “traditional hierarchies.”
These orders of white power, as I call them, run parallel with but are superior to the law such that the law protects but does not bind those who most benefit from these traditional hierarchies, and binds but does not protect those who do not. The consequence for the most part is white Christian men doing what they want when they want to whomever they want to do it to. And it’s all nice and legal.
But occasionally, these white Christian men abuse their entitlements to the point of blatant criminality so that everyone else who’s bound but not protected by the law demands that they be held accountable, same as everyone else who’s bound but not protected by the law.
In the case of Donald Trump, who is the embodiment of the orders of white power, the fear is that holding him accountable would threaten the established order by flattening society such that white Christian men are treated same as everyone else – an intolerable crime.
A crime? Yes, because what most people don’t know, because the illiberals labor a great deal to hide it, is that God’s law runs parallel with but is superior to the laws of men so that white Christian men have a trump card, as it were. They are the chosen ones anointed by God to rule in God’s name. Efforts to hold them accountable according to the laws of men are efforts to debase God. As anyone who comes from these folk (me) can tell you, that’s a crime worthy of death.
When they say Bragg’s investigation is “an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority,” they don’t mean what most people seem to think they mean – that he’s flexing for the sake of flexing. They mean prosecutorial authority is meant for outpeople, not inpeople like Donald Trump. For outpeople, the law is punishment. For outpeople, the law is freedom. Bragg’s investigation is a perversion of God’s law.
Knowing this, you can see why accusations by the illiberals in the Congress and elsewhere are in fact confessions. Our system of justice is “two-tier prosecution,” as Florida’s Byron Donalds. It was designed that way. It was not designed to hold inpeople accountable, though. If that happens, as Kevin McCarthy said, it’s “political vengeance.”
Let’s stop chasing down and debunking every single Republican talking point. Let’s instead say what they mean. And make them deny it.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.