Republicans care about Trump’s civil liberties and nobody else’s

I have a confession to make: sometimes I’m used for—gasp! – held a Republican.

This has happened off and on for 20 or 30 years. My former co-host of a Los Angeles radio show in the mid-1990s swears I’m “OG GOP.”

I’ve worked for both liberal and conservative media. I voted for Bill Clinton and later for George W. Bush – twice. And admittedly, my positions on a dozen issues are tilted to the right.

But I’m not a Republican. I’m not a democrat either. I just enjoy treating both parties like an 8-year-old with a broomstick and treating a sweet tooth to a piñata.

Growing up in central California’s conservative San Joaquin Valley—surrounded by conservative Mexicans—there was something about the Republican Party that appealed to me. The GOP used to have strong beliefs in certain principles and championed certain values. When I first got involved in politics as a teenager in the 1980s, the GOP was the party of optimism, economic opportunity, strong defense, law and order, free markets, small government, individual rights, love of… Fatherland and a warm welcome for immigrants. All of this was music to my young ears.

Today it’s all gone. Everything that appealed to me about the Republican Party has been corroded by the acidity of Donald Trump and his merry band of extremists. Republicans are turning into pretzels to say they are still the party to the principle of limited government and the rule of law while staunchly supporting Trump during his recent embarrassing escapade.

“The politicization of our law enforcement agencies is deeply troubling,” conservative broadcaster Megyn Kelly said on her SiriusXM radio show and podcast this week after two dozen FBI agents raided Trump’s private residence in Mar-a-Lago.

While we still know very little about why and how the search was conducted, initial reports suggest the agents were looking for classified documents Trump allegedly took home as souvenirs from the White House without permission. Corresponding The Washington Postsome of these documents were “classified documents related to nuclear weapons”.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made a very rare public statement on Thursday taking the heat out of FBI agents viciously vilified by Trump, right-wing commentators and even elected GOP politicians. Garland said he would not “stand by in silence” while the agents’ integrity was questioned, and made clear he personally authorized the Mar-a-Lago raid after using “less intrusive” methods to secure the documents had failed. He also said he would endeavor to make public the search warrant that led to the raid to dispel any suggestion of impropriety.

“The ex-president, who – along with many other Republicans – has fought vigorously against civil liberties and due process throughout his public life, has suddenly discovered the value of constitutional rights.”

At the risk of trying to put that fire out with gas, allow me to pass this reminder on to my Republican friends — and I have more than my share — who seem to be struggling with blatant hypocrisy, flawed memories, and situational ethics.

Before a stampede of Republicans rush off to join the American Civil Liberties Union — an organization described in 1981 as a “criminal lobby” by prominent Republican Ed Meese, then a senior adviser to President Ronald Reagan — I want to remind them who they once were.

They “support the blue” and support law enforcement. You think cops have a really tough job and shouldn’t be questioned.

You think the innocent needn’t worry. They believe that anyone suspected of a crime is guilty of that crime.

They don’t believe in the right to privacy, either inside or outside the womb.

They think that people should take responsibility for their actions and admit bad decisions. You hate it when people play the victim.

They do not place much emphasis on civil liberties or civil rights, as shown by the willingness of conservative Supreme Court justices to undermine both.

They support unannounced police raids, even when innocent Americans die.

Above all, they respect law and order. They have no use for those who condone illegal activity or offer “amnesty” to lawbreakers.

They believe in accountability and do not tolerate excuses.

After all, you think no one is above the law — including former presidents who should be investigated to the max for alleged wrongdoing.

Does that ring a bell, folks? What is that? Want to enforce the Fifth Amendment?

Well, no, thanks to the best efforts of conservative judges, there is actually still a right against self-incrimination in this country. So be there.

Former President Trump exercised that constitutional privilege this week when he invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 400 times to avoid answering questions during testimony in Manhattan in Manhattan.

Officials are investigating Trump, his family and his company for, among other things, allegedly overvaluing various real estate holdings to obtain loans on cheap terms and then undervaluing the same assets to obtain tax breaks. Trump said in a statement that he had chosen to remain silent “among the rights and privileges accorded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.”

And that’s okay! Glad to hear that. The ex-president, who – along with many other Republicans – has spent his public life strongly opposed to civil liberties and due process, has suddenly discovered the value of constitutional rights.

But there is one truth that still eludes Trump and some of his supporters. Despite tirades from politicians who want to “crack down on crime,” there is no binary choice between defending “civil liberties” and upholding the “rule of law.”

Both are essential elements of our criminal justice system. Under this system, all Americans—including past presidents—must abide by the rule of law. Meanwhile, those accused of a crime are innocent until proven guilty and are therefore entitled to protection of their civil liberties.

Let’s hope both parties remember this when this spectacle is over. Republicans care about Trump’s civil liberties and nobody else’s


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