Quote of the Day:
What’s truly unsettling is that it has been widely taken as read among both the media and the general public that Mrs. Clinton will likely avoid serious legal consequences for her behavior because the Justice Department is ultimately answerable to President Obama – and Democrats will not use the instruments of government to destroy one of their own. Whether that eventually proves true, the sentiment itself reveals a troubling trend in American politics.
—Troy Senik of the Orange County Register
There have always been officials who would go light on the transgressions by their allies, Senik acknowledges, but what is new is that the media and voters now shrug it off. We are seeing nothing less than the decline of the rule of law. Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton contributed to this tendency to apply the law discriminatingly, but it accelerated during the Obama years.
The Obama Justice Department, for example, didn't bother to prosecute former IRS official Lois Lerner, who targeted conservative groups when she was head of the agency's nonprofit unit. The Iran deal is a very important treaty–but it isn't being presented to Congress as a treaty because the administration knows a treaty could not pass. So it's not a treaty.
The abandonment of the rule of law in favor of letting powerful people rule unchecked happened incrementally, but Senik believes we are now at a crossroad:
There are only two options available here: Either the country returns to a form of government bound by the strictures of the Constitution and its subordinate laws or we give up the ghost and accept the fact that our politics are now entirely about power rather than principle – that we live in a nation where the president, whether his name is Obama or Trump, is limited only by the boundaries of imagination.
There are a lot of ways to describe that form of government. “Constitutional republic” isn’t one of them.
There is another thing that has worried me for some time about current trends: the cult of personality in politics. This is something we saw more in Third World countries than our sophisticated democracy with a written Constitution–until now.
Mona Charen highlights this new American tendency in a column headlined "Caesarism Comes to the Republican Party." It started with swooning over Barack Obama and now millions of voters feel an almost mystical tie to Donald Trump. I am certainly sympathetic with voters who see in Trump an antidote to six years of decline. But the emotionalism is disturbing.