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August 19th, 2018

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Authoritarianism for Me but Not for Thee

David Limbaugh

By David Limbaugh

Published March 23, 2018

Authoritarianism for Me but Not for Thee

It's funny how projection works. These hysterical Democrats calling for President Trump's impeachment because of his dastardly "authoritarian tendencies" are the ones with authoritarian tendencies.

I'll bet you didn't know that the president commits an impeachable offense if his political opponents harbor an irrational fear that he has authoritarian tendencies — whether or not he has acted outside the scope of his constitutional authority, flouted the rule of law or done anything else that could be remotely construed as a high crime or misdemeanor. I didn't, either.

But doesn't it bother you just a little bit that the very people who are calling for Trump's removal because they don't like him or his policies want to put their own authoritarians in power, where they can actually flout the rule of law?

My chief complaint is not their hypocrisy, though it abounds among these sanctimonious progressives. It is that they are eager to twist the law to suit their political agenda while masquerading as sacred guardians of the Constitution.

Someone should ask these mob-thinking witch-hunters how they can contemplate impeachment without a colorable claim that Trump has committed an impeachable offense. Other than their incapacity for self-reflection, why are they demanding an official proceeding to remove the president based on what he stands for and things he says?

Granted, impeachment is largely a political matter, but riotous partisans shouldn't be allowed to just make things up and ignore the plain language of the Constitution and the historical background informing its provisions. Sure, liberal activists who can find an emanation and penumbra behind every constitutional rock can distort any constitutional provision beyond recognition. But would anyone but a rabid authoritarian pretend that the Framers intended "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" to include any lawful conduct or tweet that could be exploited in bad faith to overturn the democratic will of the voters?

The less likely it appears that Trump did anything improper with Russia the more desperate these Democratic authoritarians become. There is an inverse relationship between the amount of actual evidence against Trump and the intensity of the Democrats' impeachment rhetoric. Old adages endure for a reason, and the Democrats are quite familiar with this one: "If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell."

Everywhere we look, Democrats are pounding the table and yelling like hell. On MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes," Sen. Bernie Sanders said Trump has "a strong authoritarian personality" and shows a "disrespect for democracy" in the U.S. His proof: Trump admires foreign dictators, and he disrespects democracy in terms of voter suppression, gerrymandering and his attacks on the media. Well, I hate to tell you, Bernie, but one of the telltale signs of leftists these days is their adoration for dictators such as the Castros. I also regret to inform you that Barack Obama declared war on Fox News and conservative talk radio without a syllable of protest from you or your comrades. And gerrymandering? Really? Nevertheless, it's amusing for socialists to complain about authoritarianism when their lives are dedicated to consolidating governmental power to exercise authoritarian control over their subject citizens. But at least Sanders is not demanding impeachment — yet.

Liberal MSNBC host Brian Williams slammed Republicans for lacking the courage to discuss impeaching Trump. Unsurprisingly, the authoritarian-prone Williams didn't cite any impeachable offenses.

Campus Reform reports that Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe is teaching a class that explores what impeachment and removal by other means might resemble in the Trump era. He has a new book coming out on the subject, and he was already calling for impeachment last May in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

In that essay, Tribe cited no impeachable misconduct on Trump's part. He just groused about the "emoluments clause" — give me a break — and that "ample reasons existed" to worry about Trump even before he fired FBI Director James Comey. Tribe argued that the nation couldn't afford to wait to begin impeachment proceedings. "To wait for the results of the multiple investigations underway is to risk tying our nation's fate to the whims of an authoritarian leader."

Soon after, Tribe said on MSNBC: "Letting him just sit out the time ... is too dangerous for the country. We have to start an impeachment investigation in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee now while the FBI continues to do its work."

Does that sound a bit authoritarian to you? Just begin the formal process to remove a sitting, duly elected president against whom there is no evidence of a high crime or misdemeanor. No big deal, right?

Not one member of the reckless cabal wildly calling for Trump's impeachment — which includes leftists and parts of the never-Trump right — can cite an actual abuse of authority by Trump, much less a high crime or misdemeanor. President Obama violated the Constitution and the rule of law for sport, and liberals didn't care.

For the left, this isn't about the Constitution, the rule of law or authoritarianism; it's about getting rid of Trump at any cost to the Constitution and the rule of law — and by any authoritarian means necessary.

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David Limbaugh is a columnist, author and attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

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