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Responding to Mike Huckabee's Over the Top Defense of Trump

Mike HuckabeeYesterday, I received a forward of Mike Huckabee's latest newsletter. You can read the whole thing on MikeHuckabee.com. It was really over the top - comparing Democrats to whiny children, dismissing evidence of Trumps malfeasance and Russian interference in the election, implying that Democrats don't have an elementary school level understanding of civics and presidential succession, and even a somewhat veiled threat of violence if Trump were to be impeached.

This is a perfect example of how way too many Republican politicians are putting party loyalty ahead of the good of the country, and actually defending Trump and making excuses rather than trying to get to the bottom of what could be some very, very serious misconduct or even criminal activity. Even in one section about 'The Consequences of Impeachment', Huckabee framed it as Republican vs. Democrat, implying that impeachment would be a purely partisan issue, rather than U.S. Senators and Congress members acting for the good of their country and the people they represent. Has it really come to this? Could Trump literally go shoot somebody on 5th Avenue like he bragged, and still retain the support of these Republican politicians? Has partisanship really become that bad?

To give a sense of the tone of the newsletter, here's the opening commentary.

Today's Commentary: The Scary Imaginary Bear -- Inconvenient Facts -- The Consequences Of Impeachment

Most parents know the experience of having children who refuse to accept that the time for them being the center of attention is over and they need to go to bed so the adults can get down to doing serious things. The children start whining and crying that they can't settle down because there's a bear under their beds. Eventually, the adults get so worn down from all the wailing and tantrums that they give in, grab a flashlight, and make a show of looking under the bed to investigate, just to triple-dog-prove that there is no scary imaginary bear under there. They hope this will finally make the children calm down and shut up. But it seldom works for long, since giving in just encourages more tantrums.

Why was I reminded of that universal parental dilemma when I heard that the Deputy Attorney General had given in to the endless, ear-piercing crying of Democrats and their media playmates and appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into their claims that the Russian bear had interfered in the election to tip it to Trump - claims for which we've seen about as much evidence as there is for a real bear hiding under your kids' bunk beds? Of course, the need for a special counsel took on new urgency, thanks to the past week's worth of "disturbing" stories about the Trump White House that have appeared in the adversary media - and never mind that they've all been based on unnamed sources and either proven false or flatly denied by everyone who had firsthand knowledge of the facts.

Yes, Huckabee is comparing calls for investigation into potential criminal conduct of the President and his staff with whiny children afraid of imaginary monsters. What a class act.

Let me offer a couple points to put the talk of impeachment in perspective*. First, think back to George W. Bush. Liberals had no love for Bush, but there was no widespread support among Democrats for impeachment. Sure, Kucinich and Wexler and a handful of others may have brought it up, along with the more extreme members of the base, but there wasn't the type of widespread discussion among Congress members and Senators like is happening right now for Trump. And that's because this isn't mere political theater. If Trump really has done what various sources have said (and he himself has implied in tweets), this is a very serious situation. I will agree with Huckabee on one point - right now these are allegations, not proven facts. But they're very serious allegations, coming from respected sources, which is why they must be investigated.

Second, contrary to Huckabee's implications, most Democrats are well aware of who would become president if Trump were impeached or if he resigned. And frankly, as far as policy and legislation, Pence would be much worse for liberals. He doesn't have anywhere near the scandal, corruption, or other baggage tied to him. And, he's an experienced politician who's gotten things accomplished. If Trump were to resign today** and Pence assumed the presidency, Republicans would be able to focus on their legislative goals instead of Trump's scandals. And they would more than likely be able to push much of it through a lot faster than what they're doing now. And as much as liberals like me would hate the legislation that got passed, that's a trade many of us are willing to take if it meant getting Trump out of office. That's how bad Trump is for America. (Of course, not all liberals see it that way. Some are grateful that Trump's incompetence is keeping the Republicans from focusing on their legislative agenda, and want to see this drag on rather than give Pence a chance to push through that agenda. If you want to see an actual debate among liberals concerning this issue, and not Huckabee's strawman, take a look at the comments in this article from Why Evolution Is True, Comey memo: Is Trump finished?).

One of the things that disturbs me the most right now is this trend among right-wing politicians and pundits to demonize the press, which has gotten much, much worse in recent years. The press is not an 'adversary', as Huckabee puts it. They're not 'Fake News', or 'the enemy of the people', as Trump likes to put it. The founders of this nation recognized a free press as so vital to democracy that they enshrined it in the First Amendment. At this point, I don't think it's hyperbole to compare Trump to historical authoritarians. One of the propaganda tactics the Nazis used was the term 'L├╝genpresse', constantly accusing the press of lying. They eroded the public's faith in the press, so that they could get away with everything they did and dismiss any news stories critical of what they were doing. I don't mean to say that Trump is the next Hitler, but it's scary that he can borrow propaganda tactics from them and get away with it, and that so many other Republican politicians go along with it. (The ugly history of 'L├╝genpresse,' a Nazi slur shouted at a Trump rally)

And how can Huckabee, with a straight face and a clear conscience***, say "claims for which we've seen about as much evidence as there is for a real bear hiding under your kids' bunk beds"? Here's the official statement from the Department of Homeland Security:

And here are a couple stories on the consensus view of the intelligence agencies - the first link on the report of the combined findings of the CIA, FBI, and NSA, and the second link on intelligence chiefs' public statements:

To quote one portion, "Director of National Intelligence James Clapper affirmed an Oct. 7 joint statement from 17 intelligence agencies that the Russian government directed the election interference -- and went further. 'We stand more resolutely on that statement,' Clapper said during a Senate Armed Services hearing with the intelligence chiefs into the politically charged issue."

This isn't some wild eyed conspiracy theory by people in tin foil hats. It's the consensus of the entire U.S. intelligence community. Just stop and think about what that means - Russia, the country headed by Vladimir Putin, actively interfered in a U.S. election. Russia hacked into the computers of a major U.S. political party in an attempt to influence the presidential election. That is a major issue, and a major national security concern. And Huckabee is dismissing it because it's unflattering to his party? 'Irresponsible' isn't a strong enough word.

I think this entry has grown long enough, so I'm not going to address Huckabee's other points. I'm just exasperated that this is the current political climate in the U.S. Our entire intelligence community is in unanimous agreement about Russia interfering with the election. There are very serious allegations about our president committing misconduct or even criminal behavior. But politicians like Huckabee obfuscate, lie, or just flat out ignore these issues because of blind party loyalty. It's frustrating.

*To be clear, most Democratic politicians right now aren't calling for impeachment, but investigation into these claims. The talk now is that if the claims are true, then the actions are worth considering impeachment.

**Actually, as far as political fallout and what it would mean for the 2 major parties, the best case scenario for Republicans likely would be Trump voluntarily resigning quickly. It would remove his distractions, and get Pence in the driver's seat. And with as short as people's memories are, Trump would be a distant memory by the time midterms rolled around in two years. Worse for them is Trump staying in the White House, producing scandal after scandal, distracting from legislative goals, and likely hurting battleground Republicans in the midterms. Worst of all actually would be an impeachment - since it would be a drawn out process that would cause even more distraction and hurt Republicans even more in the midterms than just letting things go on as they are now. So in that sense, I can see the political strategy behind why Republican politicians would try to avoid impeachment. Though it's still disappointing that they're putting party ahead of country.

***I'm reminded of another Huckabee email forwarded I received and wrote about in the entry, A Response to Mike Huckabee's Misrepresentations of Planned Parenthood. So, I'm not particularly surprised by Huckabee being dishonest, though it's still disappointing, and frustrating.

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