Bill Barr Is Just Like, Really Sick Of You People Being So Mean To Poor Donald Trump, OK?
Once upon a time, many years ago, Mitch McConnell told the National Journal that "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." John Boehner, for his part, said, regarding Obama's agenda, "We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can."
For the next eight years, we all had to endure a revival of tricorn hats, the plaintive cries of "BUT HE'S A SOSHALIST MUSLIN!" and the repeated insistence from many, including the current occupant of the White House, that President Obama was secretly not even a citizen of the United States.
This, because it came from Republicans, was totally fine and normal and good and righteous. It was assumed, naturally, that they would get to throw all these tantrums and that when it came time for a Republican to be in office, the Democrats would not. That they would be their usual gracious selves and let the president do whatever he wanted because "Golly, he is the president" You know, like most of them did with authorizing Dubya's invasion of Iraq.
But this time around, that doesn't seem to be happening, and Attorney General Bill Bar is not happy about it. In an address to a whole bunch of right-wing lawyers in the Federalist Society on Friday, Barr railed against those #resisting Trump and refusing to accept that the American people elected him knowing that he was not going to follow the rules. No, really.
AG Bill Barr: "Immediately after President Trump won election, opponents inaugurated what they call 'The Resistance… https://t.co/4orJZkC0f9— The Hill (@The Hill) 1573881874.0
Via The New York Times:
"While the president has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook and punctilio, he was up front about what he wanted to do and the people decided they wanted him to serve as president," Mr. Barr said in a speech at a conference hosted by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group influential in Republican politics.
Mr. Trump's opponents "essentially see themselves as engaged in a war to cripple by any means necessary a duly elected government," Mr. Barr added.
So yeah, he's basically arguing that the people who elected president wanted him to not have to obey the law, and that punishing him for not obeying the law is thus a subversion of their will. I'm not sure things work that way, ever. Hell, even former Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Buddy Cianci didn't try to pull that shit when he was sent to jail for racketeering — and, I assure you, absolutely no one voted for him thinking he wasn't gonna be doing anything illegal.
Barr continued, claiming that it was super mean of people on the left to go around calling themselves The Resistance, like Trump is not a legitimate president or something:
"In waging a scorched-earth, no-holds-barred war against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in shredding norms and undermining the rule of law," Mr. Barr said.
He noted that opponents labeled themselves "the resistance" immediately after Mr. Trump was elected and accused them of "using every tool and maneuver to sabotage the functioning of the executive branch and his administration.
"Resistance is the language used to describe insurgency against rule imposed by an occupying military power," Mr. Barr said. He added that it connotes that the government is not legitimate. "This is a very dangerous and indeed incendiary notion."
How tempting is it right now to go the "Webster's Dictionary defines the word resistance as..." route? But it's too easy.
He is right, however, in saying that this "resistance" is shredding norms and I, for one, think that's a good thing. I also absolutely doubt that there would be as much #resistance if Trump were more polite and behaved in a manner people consider "presidential." Mainstream Democrats do not generally do this. They usually sit back and go "Well, I didn't vote for him but he is the president, so what are you going to do? He really, really wants to invade that country!" when a Republican is in office. Republicans are the ones who get to say things like "We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can," scream about birth certificates, and have ridiculous conniption fits about tan suits and mustard when a Democrat is in office. This is a bad norm and it should be shredded.
If Republicans don't want things to be this way, they are more than welcome to show us all how it's done and let the next Democratic president do whatever she wants without any "resistance" of their own.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse