This is an article that I wrote for the Huffington Post -- over 13 years ago. It was written on March 15, 2007, and I came across it while looking for a different column. Skimming through, I was taken by how much of it not only holds true for today, but holds true so precisely, at times down to the word. And not just the title, paralleling Trump's regular tweet of his "LAW AND ORDER!" rant.
But then, that's been a mantra of the Republican Party for years. As has so much of this. Which is why my oft-repeated comment, "This isn't about Trump, we know who he is, this is about the elected members of the Republican Party who enable him and are complicit," isn't just a catch-phrase. This is about the Republican Party. It's who they are, and who they've been for many decades. The foundation was there. Trump merely opened the door to let it out, and took it to a much higher, and fascist level. But the GOP enabled him and are complicit because it's who they are.
So, here it is, from ?March 15, 2007. Not a word changed.
Okay, so we know that the Republican Party officially hates “activist judges.”
And we know that they hate trial lawyers with a passion almost as great.
And also we know they utterly hate defense attorneys to the point of apoplexy. (Although the growing number of Congressional Republicans on trial are beginning to see their virtue.)
And seeing comments from top Republican analysts and party leaders dismissing the Lewis Libby verdict, and because it was just a “Washington jury” anyway, they apparently hate jurors, too.
And given that Republicans have underfunded police departments across the country, they seem to hate policemen.
And of course now with news reports of the White House involving itself in the political firings of U.S. Attorneys – with an inquiry even coming whether the entire lot of them could be fired – the highest levels of the Republican Party appear to hate the Justice Department.
And with the Administration regularly ignoring new federal laws with the President issuing over 600 “signing statements,” and nary a complaint from the Party, Republicans evidently hate the legal system of statutes, as well.
After all of this, it’s become clear what the issue is:
Leadership of the Republican Party hates the law. Period. And they’ve convinced much of the membership of the party to feel so, too.
This isn’t a recent phenomenon. Republicans have long-proclaimed their detestation of most of these legal standards for years, decades in some cases. It’s just that the Bush Administration has made it an art form. After all, this is the President who was famously quoted as calling the Constitution of the United States “just a piece of paper.”
When the Republican Party didn’t hang him out to dry for that, you knew the country was in for a bumpy ride.
We have an Attorney General – the highest law official in the land – who previously wrote a memo to the President and Defense Secretary explaining how the U.S. could ignore the Geneva Convention and justify torture.
We have FBI leadership dismissing abuse of the Patriot Act as really just a mere paperwork oversight.
Then again, this is the Administration who, when given its first opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice, gave the name of a person who was generally agreed to be among the most unqualified nominees in history, Harriet Miers – the woman, by the way, who sent the memo about firing all the U.S. Attorney’s. (This would all suggest that maybe the White House also hates the Supreme Court, although since it owes its Presidency to that august body, there’s probably a certain grudging appreciation.)
And the Republican Congress, indeed Republicans throughout the country, accept all this. All of it – the hatred of “activist judges,” trial lawyers, defense attorneys, runaway juries, taxes to fund police departments, federal statutes, U.S. Attorneys and the Justice Department, civil rights, human rights and, presumably, the Constitution.
At what point did the Republican Party get away with convincing the American public that it was the “party of law and order”??! This is a trick worthy of Houdini. It’s flimflammery that would make P.T. Barnum proud. It’s a fabrication that makes Pinocchio look like a snub-nosed pug.
The only thing that Republicans seem to seriously like about “Law and Order” is that Fred Thompson plays a D.A. on it.
Now, I know that every single Republican doesn’t feel this way. There certainly are Republicans outraged by the abuses and anti-law attitudes of the vast majority of their party. (These Republicans are generally known as “disenfranchised.” Or “conservative Democrats.”)
And I also know that most other Republicans who have made it this far reading are likely up in arms, spitting nails, insistent that they love law and order even more than common decency itself. Of course, this is the same mantra they’ve been spitting for decades. But the reality is, if you hate “activist judges,” trial lawyers, defense attorneys, runaway juries, taxes to fund police departments, the Justice Department, human rights and think it’s okay to consider the Constitution “just a piece of paper,” then you can spew all you want, but you hate the law.
Because the whole point of the law is that it is blind. (You know, that whole “Justice is blind” thingee? It’s not just a slogan, bucko.) The law pastes everyone equally, and if you don’t like how it applies to you, tough tooties, you still can’t drive 60 MPH in a school zone. If you don’t like a law, you hit the pavement and work to change it –
– and hope and pray that once you’ve changed the law, there’s not a President in office who will ignore it with a “signing statement.”
The Republican Party is no more the “party of law and order” than a kegger is a party of good manners and fine tea.
The next time a Republican struts around, puffing out his chest to make sure you see the plastic flag decal pinned there, and proclaims he’s in the party of law and order, ask whether you can join and if you should bring your toga.