Friday, January 13, 2023


At Talking Points Memo, David Kurtz writes:
Why The Double Standard?

The appointment of Robert Hur as special counsel to investigate the Biden classified documents matter is another example of the extreme imbalance between Democrats and Republicans in the politics of national security and law enforcement.

... Every FBI director in history has been a Republican. Republican presidents nominate Republican FBI directors, and Democratic presidents nominate Republican FBI directors.

Now Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed as special counsel a man whose resume screams conservative legal movement: clerk to former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, worked as an assistant to Chris Wray in the George W. Bush Justice Department, served as an official in the Trump Justice Department before being appointed by Trump as Maryland’s U.S. attorney. The main man running around yesterday vouching for Hur was former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom Hur served under as liaison to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

... It’s just fascinating that Democrats operate under such stringent constraints – imposed by themselves and by the political environment – while Republicans do not.
This is part of a larger problem Democrats have had for decades: they don't work very hard at cultivating a positive image of their own party or a negative image of the Republican Party.

Republicans put much more effort into defining themselves, and they're relentless in their efforts to define Democrats. As a result, much of America still sees Democrats as the party of America-hating, cop-bashing 1968 hippies more than half a century after that year's Chicago convention. Democrats sometimes give Republicans ammunition -- the slogan "Defund the Police" wasn't helpful -- but the sense that Republicans embrace (law and) order while Democrats embrace (lawlessness and) chaos persists even at a time when Republicans are praising lawbreakers and bashing the police and military. January 6 cop-beaters are Republican heroes. The GOP denounces the military as "woke." House Republicans intend to use a committee on "the weaponization of government" as an excuse to undermine the Justice Department. Yet it's still the case, as Kurtz notes, that only Republicans are seen as straight arrows worthy of high-profile law enforcement jobs.

Democrats are the party that doesn't want to smash all institutions; Republicans are the party that does. Democrats need to say this as often as possible. They need to build a new narrative that might be persuasive to at least some swing voters, and might become a story that rank-and-file Democrats can tell.

Democrats have done a small amount of the work of self-definition: People know the party believes in reproductive rights, in LGBTQ rights, and in the rights of non-white people. They know the party is against Donald Trump and "MAGA." But that's as far as it goes. The Republican portrayal of Democrats is much richer: Democrats, the GOP says, are not just lawless America-haters but tree-hugging effeminate elitist spendthrifts who hate Jesus and guns and big trucks and country music. Democrats need a story as fleshed out as that, and they need to tell it until centrist Americans stop believing the GOP's story.

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