Checks and Balances

Conservative and libertarian lawyers are joining together to speak out in defense of constitutional governance, traditional legal norms, and the rule of law.


Today's New York Times reports:

The annual convention of the Federalist Society, the conservative legal group, has long been a glittering and bustling affair. In the Trump era, though, the group has become more powerful than ever, supplying intellectual energy and judicial candidates to an assertive administration eager to reshape the legal landscape.

But as the group prepares to gather on Thursday for the start of this year's convention, more than a dozen prominent conservative lawyers have joined together to sound a note of caution. They are urging their fellow conservatives to speak up about what they say are the Trump administration's betrayals of bedrock legal norms. . . .

The group, called Checks and Balances, was organized by George T. Conway III, a conservative lawyer and the husband of President Trump's counselor, Kellyanne Conway. In recent opinion articles, Mr. Conway has criticized Mr. Trump's statements on birthright citizenship and argued that his appointment of Matthew G. Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general violated the Constitution. . . .

Among those joining this new group are John B. Bellinger, III, Phillip D. Brady, Carrie F. Cordero, Stuart M. Gerson, Peter D. Keisler, Marisa C. Maleck, Lori S. Meyer, Paul J. McNulty, Alan Charles Raul, Paul Rosenzweig, and Tom Ridge, as well as two Volokh contributors: me and Orin Kerr.

Our mission statement reads:

We are a group of attorneys who would traditionally be considered conservative or libertarian. We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights, and the necessity of civil discourse. We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power. We believe in "a government of laws, not of men."

We believe in the Constitution. We believe in free speech, a free press, separation of powers, and limited government. We have faith in the resiliency of the American experiment. We seek to provide a voice and a network for like-minded attorneys to discuss these ideas, and we hope that they will join with us to stand up for these principles.

Among our aims is to create room so more conservatives, libertarians, and fellow-travelers feel comfortable speaking out agaist legal abuses, attacks on our legal institutions and norms, and other threats to the rule of law.

Speaking for myself, this is not a reflexive anti-Trump initiative. I will continue to praise Administration actions that are praiseworthy, such as the announced nomination of Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and reports that the Administration will support meaningful sentencing reform. But I also think it is imperative that those of us on the Right make clear that assaults on our laws and norms will not be tolerated, whatever the source. As Orin put it in the NYT story above: "The rule of law has to come first. Politics comes second."

More information wil be forthcoming on Checks and Balances website and Twitter feed.

NEXT: A Fun Line About the Internet of Things: "The S in IoT stands for 'security'"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Speaking of assaults on norms, I look forward to you speaking out on this:

    NRA Sues New York for Punishing Financial Institutions Doing Business With Group

    The National Rifle Association on Friday sued the state of New York for fining and coercing financial institutions until they severed their connections to the gun-rights group.

    Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services engaged in a “blacklisting campaign” against banks and insurance companies who did business with the NRA, infringing upon the group’s constitutional right to “speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment,”.

    The NRA presented as evidence a letter from Maria Vullo, the DFS’s superintendent, warning banks about the “reputational risk” of doing business with gun-rights groups. The state also pressured the companies behind the scenes.

    “Directed by Governor Cuomo, this campaign involves selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats with a singular goal?to deprive the NRA and its constituents of their First Amendment right to speak freely about gun-related issues and defend the Second Amendment,” the complaint states.

    1. There are a couple posts on this at the VC, one of which was just last week I believe. Go through the archives.

        1. Both of these are by Eugene Volokh, not by Adler or Kerr.

          Unless you think that Volokh shares the sentiments of Adler or Kerr…

          1. I agree. If you don’t write about what outrages me, you approve of it.

            1. And if you DO report on what I find important . . . well, you just might be CNN and I might be a member of the very, very deranged left. :-0

              Yellow Journalism: CNN Spouts Off About ‘Pee Tapes’ 77 Times in Five Days


          2. Not exactly Adler’s beat, and definitely not OK’s. Doesn’t really say much if they’re not writing about it the way it would if Adler ignored a major environmental law story or Kerr ignored a 4th Amendment story.

  2. Nice try at yelling “squirrel” to distract form the original post with irreverent blather. Do you have anything relevant to the subject of this thread?

    1. Speaking of irrelevant (not irreverent) blather, I wonder if Checks and Balances will speak out against this violation of norms:

      The 9 Minutes that almost changed America: Congressional Baseball Shooting

      Many lawmakers are mad, or frustrated, or saddened, at how quickly the story disappeared from the headlines given that the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, targeted Republicans. The FBI concluded the shooting wasn’t politically motivated ? suicide by cop, they told members after an investigation.

      But Hodgkinson carried a list of names of lawmakers in his pocket: Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, Trent Franks, Scott DesJarlais, Jeff Duncan, and Morgan Griffith. The list included their office numbers and short physical descriptions. He’d recorded video of the field in April of of that year ? a sign, the prosecutor wrote in his official report, that Hodgkinson “had already selected Simpson field as a potential target as early as April 2017.”

      His social media posts show that he hated Trump, and supported Bernie Sanders, for whose 2016 campaign he even volunteered. He once routinely wrote letters to the local paper, criticizing Republicans.

      1. So in other words, the answer to Nelson Kerr’s question is that no, you do not have anything relevant to the subject.

      2. “Many lawmakers are mad, or frustrated, or saddened, at how quickly the story disappeared from the headlines given that the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, targeted Republicans. ”

        Simple karma.
        You make lots of mass shootings possible, then you want to complain that not enough attention was paid to the one you consider important?

        Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. Is Checks and Balances affiliated with Republicans for the Rule of Law? Honest question.

    NeverTrump’s Billionaire Leftist Benefactors…..enefactors

  4. Do you wear “pussy hats” at the meetings?

    1. Superman suits. Truth, justice and the American way.

  5. I find this very confusing, because there have been several posts on the Volokh Conspiracy indicating that both the Constitutional parameters of birthright citizenship and the legality of the Whitaker appointment are vexed legal issues on which reasonable minds can differ. Now holding the wrong view on those issues has become an assault on the rule of law?

    1. Orange Man Bad!

        1. Orange Man Hitler!

          1. Orange man not to be taken seriously!

    2. Hang on, there’s a VC post that says that there is a plausible argument that Trump can abolish birthright citizenship if he wishes? I don’t recall that. Link?

      1. Nope, there’s a post that mentions the problematic aspect of whether it applies to those illegally in the country.

      2. There are posts, even by Ilya Somin, which admit there is a plausible argument that the citizenship clause does not apply to illegal immigrants and tourists. But none specifically that the current practice can be changed by executive action.

    3. You know this is a group blog, right?

  6. This thread delivers.

    1. I’m going to be out of popcorn by 2:30.

      1. Now playing: RINOs and LINOs and the True Conservatives? Who Loathe Them.

  7. We believe in the Constitution. We believe in free speech, a free press, separation of powers, and limited government.

    Can Crash Davis join?

    Annie Savoy: What do you believe in, then?

    Crash Davis: Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

  8. I also think it is imperative that those of us on the Right make clear that assaults on our laws and norms will not be tolerated, whatever the source.

    Well, isn’t it past time to get started?

  9. “Bedrock legal norms”, in this case, just means “Things I like that I thought were locked down.”

    I’m a bit more concerned about norms like the presumption of innocence, or freedom of political speech. Trump isn’t threatening norms, he’s threatening policies. He was elected to threaten policies.

    1. Aren’t you the one who wants to lock Hillary up, having tried her over the Internet, and regulate Twitter, Facebook et al to make them platform who you want them to platform?

      It’s kind of breaking a norm to yell at a state for fires when people are dying from them as you tweet. And what about the First Lady firing a national security appointee? And is Trump’s relationship with his DoJ appointees normal?

      1. I’m the one who wants her tried in a court of law, after which it is my expectation that she will end up locked up. I object to the fact that she was spared prosecution despite the fact that just material that was public should have been enough to convict her of several crimes. Objecting to a white-wash is not the same thing as wanting a lynching.

        As for facebook and twitter, let them platform or deplatform whoever they want, and be liable for what they leave up. They have a statutory protection that is predicated on the idea that they aren’t exercising editorial control, and they ARE exercising editorial control.

        If they want to be able to deplatform Alex Jones, and leave Antifa pages advocating assault and conspiracy against civil rights in place, let them own that choice, and be liable for it.

        1. We seem to have a difference of opinion between the DOJ Inspector General’s Office and a fabulous online commentator. Life is hard.

          1. The Inspector General concluded that he could not prove improper motives drove a long series of decisions that favored Clinton in every case.

            He established that the investigators were continually exchanging messages favorable to Clinton, and hostile to Trump, he just couldn’t prove that this was why they always, when faced with a choice, made the one more advantageous to Clinton.

            After reading the report, I believe nothing short of a confession would have driven him to that conclusion.

            1. Be prepared to adjust your position when another investigation, perhaps begun in January, reveals the greater extent of anti-Clinton (and misogynistic, or general bigoted) animus among FBI employees.

              1. The IG report didn’t mention it, but internal communications at the FBI (From McCabe) referenced Hillary getting a “Headquarters special”.

                A “Headquarters special” is where control of the investigation is taken away from rank and file FBI employees, and assumed by a small circle of politically appointed personnel in the headquarters, so as to make sure all the decisions are made on political, not law enforcement, grounds.

                So it didn’t really matter that your average FBI agent, being law enforcement, has an abiding hatred for our nation’s premier crime family. They weren’t running the investigation, the political people were.

                1. “an abiding hatred for our nation’s premier crime family”

                  Leave the Waltons out of it. Yes, they keep getting caught employing illegal aliens and violating wage and hour laws. But, dammit, they keep rolling back prices!

        2. ‘I want to try her in a court of law, after which she will be found guilty.’


          1. ” after which

            1. That still reads like a cliched parody of due process in some bad TV show.

              1. If any one of the commentators here had classified data on his personal server, he’d be in jail. I’ve seen good men’s careers ruined for less. How hard is that to understand? You’re as guilty of partisan thinking as anyone you point the finger at, if not worse.

                1. Go back and read the debates about that on this blog. Not quite the super-duper clear narrative you’ve gotten from…somewhere.
                  Those markings were retroactive after the info got to her server. And Hillary wasn’t some midshipman, in the law both as applied and as read.

                  You’re the one arguing she’s guilty without the need of a trial, which seems to more extreme partisan position to me, especially on a thread started lamenting how liberals have killed presumption of innocence.

                  1. Don’t put words in my mouth, I didn’t say she didn’t deserve a trial. Even Ted Bundy deserved a trial, and it was fairly clear from the outset he was guilty. Oh, and it’s pretty clear she had classified emails on a private server, wishful thinking and partisan hedging won’t change that.

                    And the fact that you think Hillary deserves different treatment than a midshipmen shows how you think she deserves special treatment that you or I wouldn’t get. You’re like a fanboy.

                    1. ” the fact that you think Hillary deserves different treatment than a midshipmen shows how you think she deserves special treatment that you or I wouldn’t get.”

                      It’s just fact. A midshipman is bound not just by state and federal law, but by the UCMJ, as well (and the Naval Academy’s honor code, also, most likely). Whereas my enlistment ended, and I was properly discharged from duty, and thus am no longer bound by the UCMJ.

                      All you’ve done so far is convince me that you don’t know anything about how information classification works, or electronic storage.

                  2. Certain information is presumptively classified. For example, Obama’s E.O. states:
                    “(d) The unauthorized disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to the national security.”

                    Clinton’s staff was given instructions to remove markings and send over unsecured systems. You can read the emails with the instructions from State Department FOIA dumps. Search for Jake Sullivan.

                    Documents need not be marked to be classified. The national archives states:

                    “Unmarked Classified National Security Information. Records of national security officials should be reviewed and handled carefully, as the classification marking requirements were not always executed on informal records such as handwritten notes. In all cases, it is the sensitivity of the information that determines classification. An unmarked, handwritten page can just as easily contain classified national security information as a document containing classification markings. When in doubt, treat handwritten notes concerning intelligence, military, diplomatic, or emergency planning matters as classified national security information.”

                2. “If any one of the commentators here had classified data on his personal server, he’d be in jail.”

                  That’s not how it works.

                  1. I know more about the rules for handling and storing classified materials than you, I surmise, having handled plenty myself.

                    I said midshipman, because that’s the word Sarc. used. Just pick a random person off the street that had put classified emails that were supposed to be only accessible on the sipernet onto a private server unclassified server, then yes, they would be in heap big legal trouble. Hillary got, and I quote from the IG report, the “headquarters special.” You, JP, would be in prison. As would I, or a midshipmen, UCMJ or federal law.

                    You Hillary fanbois are really sad. Take a jaundiced eye’d look about you.

                    1. m_k, the Sec State’s declassification authority is not the same as yours or mine. And then there is the retroactive aspect (TommyD makes some assumptions about the docs that are unsupported).

                      You’re building a case and holding an Internet trial without all the information, or even all the expertise. Indeed, those tasked with having such expertise, members of both parties, when asked to comment all said Hillary was not prosecutable.

                    2. The Secretary of State is a Designated Classification Authority only for State Department produced information. The SoS has zero authority over classified produced in any other agency, even if said agency shares the information with State.

                      Second, there is no such thing as “retroactive classification”. What Clinton defenders are trying to claim is that the act of properly labeling documents that contain classified information is “retroactive classifying”.
                      The most basic fact is that classification applies to INFORMATION, not to documents. Documents are labelled as containing information at certain classification levels as a convenience for those handling the documents.
                      In some environments it is sometimes acceptable to fail to label classified information. Notes taken during a meeting, for example. Any classified information introduced into a mixed environment, or transferred between environments, must be labelled to insure proper protection.

                      Hillary’s behavior was criminal. She directed the removal of classification markings to circumvent handling restrictions. She deliberately stored classified in a place not approved for it. She failed to inform Security of the spill when she found classified in an unauthorized place. She destroyed evidence of the spill. She falsely denied that classified information had spilled.

                      Despite Comey’s fiction, ‘intent’ is not a requirement. Hillary should have gotten a moderate fine and possibly a short jail sentence.

                  2. That is exactly how it works, Pollock. Anyone granted a security clearance, including those in the military, signs an NDA. As part of the agreement, you agree to be bound by the classified information handling rules FOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. Retired or not, doesn’t matter.

                    If you were former military and had been granted a clearance, and yesterday classified information was found on your computer, you could be arrested, convicted, and sent to jail for your improper handling of classified information.

        3. It’s inconceivable that Hillary would have been convicted if she’d been charged. She’d have been tried in DC with jury pool drawn 99% from Dems.

          That’s a general problem for all trials of politicians and other folk with political valence. The trial is almost certainly going to be held in a place which has a huge preponderance of pro-D anti-R jurors. This is so even in “Red” States, as the trial will usually take place in the capital or in a big city, which will be islands of blue in a sea of red.

          Most jurors are reasonably honest, of course, but you only need a couple of partisans to prevent the conviction of a D politico, even when their guilt is obvious. Unless, like Blago, they’ve got you on tape. Unlike poor old Blago, Hils was permitted to destroy most of the evidence.

    2. Are you worried about freedom of the press?

  10. Yes, you believe in baseball and apple pie. Got it.

    And this group is different from the American Constitution Society how, exactly?

    1. They don’t consider it an insult to be called “conservative”.

  11. “and argued that his appointment of Matthew G. Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general violated the Constitution. . . .”

    There’ve been hundreds of non-Senate confirmed persons appointed as interim positions in Senate-confirmed position, yet JUST NOW it was determined that this not only violates the Constitution but also the rule of law.

    “We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power.”

    Somehow I doubt that. Seems to me that the particular person in power at this moment has everything to do with this group’s positions.

    1. There’ve been hundreds of non-Senate confirmed persons appointed as interim positions in Senate-confirmed position

      That’s news to me. I’m not doubting (well, maybe a little), but do you have a source?

      1. Check out the OLC opinion: documents/5113257/Acting-AG-Opinion.pdf.

        1. Correctly formatted URL: http://assets.documentcloud.or…..pinion.pdf

          1. That is a pretty convincing brief. I’ll look to find for the other side’s rejoinder.

      2. Its pretty interesting, Jefferson made the first appointment of a non-confirmed inferior officer as temporary principal officer in the waning days of his administration.

        The issue came up in 1861, and Buchanan (possibly the worst president ever) said his administration found 179 instances between 1829, which indicates 2 things 1) the practice is common and 2) the Trump administration hasn’t had the most turnover of principal officers of any administration in history.

  12. ‘Libertarian’ platform 2018: Since we’re not very bright we’ve swallowed the Prog canard that far left extremism is now suddenly some ragtag underdog #RESISTANCE in the Trump Era despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    So Conservatives/Libertarians are too powerful by now that they’ve briefly taken control of a few of the higher posts in the Federal government while leftists dominate every other major institution in society. We should go back to the good old days of ‘divided government’ where conservatives/libertarians have to share these few higher level posts with SJW extremists while leftists get to still continue to dominate the downstairs bureaucracy and every other major institution in society!

    1. …How much of the country is far left extremists to you?

      1. They seem to count most people in the liberal-libertarian mainstream as extremists and enemies.

        They also seem to wonder why the country progresses against their wishes.

        1. It’s remarkable how, seemingly overnight, 70?90% of Americans became Trotskyites. And yet, it’s clearly happened.

          1. Only to those who drool. Like you just did.

            1. Perhaps you’d best check your snark detector. It seems to be malfunctioning.

              1. He caught yours, Goober.

  13. “the power of truth.” Seriously? Were you guys getting kinda choked up when you wrote that?

    1. Perhaps the website could have a theme song sung by Huey Lewis.

      First time you feel it might make you sad
      Next time you feel it might make you mad
      But you’ll be glad, counsel, when you’ve found
      That’s the power that makes the world go round

    2. LOL! These guys were deeply moved by CNN’s “This is a banana” advertisement.

  14. More violation of Presidential norms:

    Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times

    A key operative in a Democratic scheme to send agitators to cause unrest at Donald Trump’s rallies has visited the White House 342 times since 2009, White House records show.

    Robert Creamer, who acted as a middle man between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and “protesters” who tried ? and succeeded ? to provoke violence at Trump rallies met with President Obama 47 times, according to White House records. Creamer’s last visit was in June 2016.

    1. According to Wikipedia, one of the “primary purposes” of the Brownshirts was “disrupting the meetings of opposing parties.”

    2. Can you link to any sources which are not bat-shit crazy?
      Say hi to Alex Jones and Ron Paul.

      1. Are you claiming that the material in the story is false? It is taken from Obama White House visitor logs.

        More info:

        Video Sting Exposes Democrats’ Effort to Incite Violence at Trump Rallies

        O’Keefe’s extensive video investigation reveals that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are involved in bird-dogging and other provocative tactics through a web of consultants led by Robert Creamer, a veteran Chicago activist and convicted felon…

        Creamer affirms on one video that Clinton is aware of “all” of his work, and that Democracy Partners has a daily telephone call with the Clinton campaign to coordinate efforts.

        In another video, Foval admits that his organization is responsible for an incident in Asheville, North Carolina in September, where an elderly woman was allegedly assaulted outside a Trump rally.

        In that incident, the 69-year-old woman, wearing an oxygen tank, heckled a visually impaired 73-year-old Trump supporter, then pursued him. She claimed he then punched her in the jaw, though she had no visible injury; his attorney claims she touched him on the shoulder first, and then fell to the ground as he turned around. Foval explains that the woman had been “trained” as a part of his operation.

  15. The thread tells us a lot about the state of conservatism in the US.

    Apparently, criticism of Trump is now verboten on the right.

    1. Trump negative coverage is +90%. All the major networks criticize trump regularly including the dreaded ‘Faux’. For ‘Libertarians’ including this place Trump bashing is literally the main thing they do now. There is a big segment of the Republican party that is against Trump. Criticism of Trump is a lot of things but verboten is probably not one of them.

      1. He’s crazy as a loon. How can anyone fail to see that?

        1. I’m addressing the idea that criticism of Trump is verboten on the right. Try to stay on topic.

          1. I don’t see Fox criticizing Trump. I see them cheerleading for him.

            And the major networks – Fox aside – are not “on the right.”

            Read the thread, Amos.

            1. You’re right, not a peep from Fox just crickets


              1. How many comments can Amos fuck up on one page?

          2. I’m addressing the idea that criticism of Trump is verboten on the right. Try to stay on topic.


      2. Trump negative coverage is +90%

        With self-dealing, mean-spiritedness, insecurity, immaturity, boorishness, bigotry, vaingloriousness, and vulgarity, you will have this. The American mainstream does not respect those attributes.

        1. Trump negative coverage is +90%.

          Seems about right. About 90% of Trump’s behavior is negative.

            1. but accurately

      3. “Trump negative coverage is +90%”

        Trump’s actual achievements are 0%, so he’s getting net positive press.

  16. The Federalist Society seems to have gone of the rails since Trump.
    Nice to know they aren’t all mindless robots of the alt-right

  17. I have sympathy for and offer encouragement to conservatives trying to operate honorably in the Trump era. I also fear for their future, because I wonder whether the Republican Party can reclaim its sensible positions overcome the degree to which it is being branded with intolerance and backwardness by the Trump administration among young Americans.

    Neither side possesses a monopoly on wisdom, patriotism, courage, policy, or decency. I hope better Republicans can help their party get its mojo back and redirect conservatism back toward reason, progress, tolerance, science, limited government, foreign humility, modernity, education, and competent government. (For those younger readers ready to quarrel with the use of “back” in this context, I state that mainstream Republicans favored each of those points in the 1970s.)

    1. “mainstream Republicans favored each of those points in the 1970s.”

      So Trump was the evil genius behind Ronald Reagan’s rise?

      1. No, Trump is the festering, debilitating consequence of Republican Party migration toward appeasement, if not embrace, of a bigotry-, superstition-, ignorance-, and backwardness-laced electoral coalition.

        The Republicans of the 1970s would have deplored Trump and his followers.

        1. I do agree with you on this (among much other stuff, too) Artie. ’70s Repubs = moderate ’18 Dems in many ways, I think, if only in the way they could maintain a decent discourse with those who disagreed with them. Now we just shout at each other with hands over our ears.

          1. Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon etc= moderate 2018 Democrats lol. I’d like whatever you guys are smoking.

            1. Nixon oversaw the creation of EPA. He invented “engagement” with the Chinese commies. He campaigned on a “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam. Eventually, he even ended American participation in the war in Vietnam.

    2. Take society back to the day where vast majority of ‘ultraleft’ wing republicans and democrats would both laugh at the idea of 76 genders, microaggressions, and safe spaces? Where do I sign up?

      1. It was also the day when domestic abuse, racism, gay-bashing, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and the like were open, routine, and casual. I sense that is the part for which most backward right-wingers pine.

        1. Especially Amos, Rev, pines for it. His drool is unmistakable!

        2. Bigotry and abuse is still here what’s your point? You only like it now because your side is getting institutionalized enough to be as abusive as you want while hypocritically pretending you’re not. Also every demographic has endured abuse. Christians alone have gone through persecutions perhaps far beyond the scale LGBT groups have endured throughout the centuries. Yet you don’t have Holyweird churning out a movie/show/PSA a week about how rough they have it.

          1. I really yearn for the day when real Americans decide they’ve had enough and take up arms against the left. It’ll be fun to watch them destroy these people.

            1. It’s called “going the full LaVoy.” Be my guest.

            2. I really yearn for the day when real Americans decide they’ve had enough and take up arms against the left. It’ll be fun to watch them destroy these people.

              We already knew you’re a right-wing authoritarian, hate individual liberty, and a disgrace to patriotism

          2. Bigotry and abuse are still with us. Most of the residents of my community underestimated the degree of vestigial bigotry and backwardness until recent events compelled them to recognize the conditions in other parts of America.

            The difference is that a half-century ago the intolerance and abuse were open, casual, and common. The bigots wanted everyone to know their positions and to know that those positions were to be enforced. Black children were told to ‘find another way home’ by residents who didn’t want blacks walking past their homes and businesses — and the children did. Men dragged their wives and children by the arm or hair into the house, from which the sounds of beatings traveled the streets. Gays were beaten in alleys and humiliated in businesses — by the police. Jews were called kikes — in shops, homes, and schools.

            Today, however, our vestigial bigots are on the defensive. They do not wish to be known as bigots, at least not publicly. They hide behind words such as ‘traditional values’ and ‘colorblind.’ They reserve their genuine opinions for perceived safe spaces such as private homes, militia meetings, and Republican committee events.

            That is a big and important difference, one of the great achievements of the American liberal-libertarian mainstream during my lifetime.

          3. Amos goes even crazier.
            Confirms a mindless partisan bigot on the alt-right.

    3. Media and Dems in 2000 to GOP: you picked a unstable neo-Nazi to run for President.

      Media and Dems in 2004 to GOP: you picked a unstable neo-Nazi to run for President.

      Media and Dems in 2008 to GOP: you picked a unstable neo-Nazi to run for President.

      Media and Dems in 2012 to GOP: you picked a unstable neo-Nazi to run for President.

      GOP in 2018 to media and Dems: hold my beer.

      1. Not a bad encapsulation (switching 2018 for 2016), though I think your definition of ‘Media and Dems’ foregrounds more extreme voices over the actual leading Dem and Media institutions.

        As is the usual case in shopping for the most extreme light in which to paint your opposition. It’s a problem I have as well.

      2. Um, Kazinski, I read a lot of media and know a lot of Dems. No one ever referred to Bush, McCain or Romney as an unstable or a neo-Nazi, let alone both. Trump is manifestly unstable, but even him I haven’t heard anyone call a neo-Nazi. He’s an authoritarian, and he’s happy to say nice things about neo-Nazis. Or would you say that “neo-Nazi” is an unfair characterization of the fine people who had a torchlight parade chanting, “Jews will not replace us!”

        1. That “Chimpy McBushitler” meme must have been in my imagination.

          1. I suspect that may not have been entirely sincere.

        2. Huffington Post: New Scientific Study Reveals Bush is a Chimp


          This is just the start. I have plenty of these links.

        3. The meme on McCain was his temper made him unstable.

          Romney of course was part of a dangerous cult that wears strange underwear.

          And as was pointed out, Bush was regularly compared to Hitler.

          And yes I did mean 2016, rather than 2016.

          But i guess the point was what a great job the Democrats did inoculating the electorate so they were immune to a lot of the criticisms against Trump.

          1. From ‘Media and Dems’ to ‘The meme was.’ By that standard, every Presidential campaign ever is to blame for Trump. Kerry and Gore were without narrative?

            Blaming the Dems for how Trump gets to be a little fascist is so lazy. The GOP has agency, they should deal with their guy and stop spending their time complaining about how Dems made them think fouling their party and the country would be totally cool.

          2. Gee, Kazinski, Democrats criticized some other GOP nominees, so nominating and supporting a corrupt, lying fool is perfectly OK.

            You know, there were some intemperate criticisms of Bush, McCain, and Romney, though the religion-based doubts about Romney came more from the right than the left. There was a lot of intemperate criticism of Gore, Kerry, and Obama from Republicans, too. In the case of Obama it was way worse than anything said about any of the GOP candidates.

            So get off your high horse.

            This is the standard right-wing position:

            1. Trump is wonderful.

            2. If Trump is terrible it’s the fault of the Democrats he got elected, so don’t blame us.

      3. For “unstable neo-Nazi”, substitute, “far right tea party extremist “.

  18. In other words:
    anti-Trump open border Chamber of Commerce elites who claim to be Republicans vs the little guy.

    You can’t beat the entrenched system, therefore ‘Middle America’- the little guy trying to make a life for himself and his/her family is still screwed

  19. Speaking of checks and balances, Ann Coulter has a stunning column about the Democrat’s current and historical practice of stealing elections. It turns out that lessons can be drawn for how Republicans in Congress can respond to this.

    1. There is zero evidence of anything going on. Counts are proceeding at the same pace they usually do, and counts are fluctuating in both directions.

      Quit undermining our republic.

    2. You can tell a lot by who right-wingers get their “information” from.

      Ann Coulter, James O’Keefe, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. Liar and con artists every one, just like their President.

  20. Speaking of violating Presidential norms:

    Obama: Mass shootings are ‘something we should politicize’

    President Obama on Thursday made an impassioned case that gun violence is “something we should politicize” following a mass shooting at a community college in Oregon.

    Obama chided opponents of gun control legislation, including those who argue the country needs more guns to prevent mass shootings. And he urged proponents of stricter gun laws to vote for political candidates who share their views.

    “Each time this happens, I’m going to bring this up,” Obama said. “Each time this happens, I am going to say we can actually do something about it.”

    In a veiled jab at the NRA, Obama asked American gun owners to consider “whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it is speaking for you.”

    1. Why shouldn’t important issues be “politicized?” Or is it only the NRA that is allowed to do it?

      The rest of us have to limit ourselves to thoughts and prayers. Is that what you think?

  21. This has to be the worst VC comments section ever. I would expect better in a middle school cafeteria.

    All the best with Checks and Balances, professors. We badly need lots of both these days.

    1. You haven’t checked in lately.

Please to post comments