Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nixonian government is back in Washington.

Well, yes, the obvious sign tells us all that...

President Trump has fired James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, the White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Tuesday. ...

Senior White House and Justice Department officials had been working on building a case against Mr. Comey since at least last week, according to administration officials. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been charged with coming up with reasons to fire him, the officials said. ...

Since the news came out, a lot of Democrats have called the firing a blatant interference in the investigation into Trump's ties to Russia. Which it is, obviously. (Trump claims the investigation doesn't even exist in the open letter of termination he sent to Comey.) But the first Democratic voice, and the one which will likely win the day, was that of long-time Democratic Party leader Dianne Feinstein:

"President Trump called me at 5:30 p.m. and indicated he would be removing Director Comey, saying the FBI needed a change,” Feinstein said. “The next FBI director must be strong and independent and will receive a fair hearing in the Judiciary Committee."

And Hillary Clinton? A very loud, strong, "no comment."

So the Democrats, after a little puffing and posturing, will cave, and the Republicans will successfully block the investigation, and Trump will accomplish what Nixon couldn't. It's this sort of thing that had me propose a "Gonzales Amendment" back when Dubya was president. We need it now more than ever.

But that isn't the only news out today that makes me refer to the current government as Nixonian.

On Monday the president nominated 10 people for federal judgeships. Thanks to an unusually large number of vacancies on the bench, there could be many more to come.

"This is just a down payment," said John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation. He noted there are more than 100 open seats on the federal district courts and appeals courts.

. . .

All of the nominees appear to be cut from similar judicial cloth.

"They are all highly regarded in conservative legal circles and by practitioners in the states where they reside," Malcolm said.

 The thing is? Barack Obama nominated liberals, moderates, and even conservatives to the federal bench, often taking requests from hard-right Republican Senators.

Trump, like George W. Bush, is appointing and will appoint nothing but hard-line, far-right-wing conservatives to the bench, because conservatives don't believe in things like "playing fair" or "balance of power" or "including all viewpoints in the discussion"- concepts which Democrats have idolized to the point of nullity.

For the past thirty years- since the Democratic Leadership Caucus and Bill Clinton took control of the party- the Dems, unwilling to unite as the liberal party, have been playing softball. Republicans, centered on conservatism, have played hardball. Like Nixon, they will stoop to anything to get their way- and as Democrats have yet to learn, dirtiest fighter always wins.

The government we have now, sliding into fascism and dictatorship, is what happens when one political party is more interested in scoring political points, playing defense, and seeking compromise for its own sake than in actually standing up to overt evil. If this republic is to be saved, the Democrats need to grow a spine and take a stand for the people, rather than cowering in fear for their offices.

I don't have high hopes.

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