As we approach the 154th anniversary of his epic defeat at Gettysburg consider: Robert E. Lee was not actually a very good general. My latest at The Federalist.
Today at The Federalist, I wrote about the religious liberty case handed down by the Supreme Court yesterday.
Congress has the sole power of impeachment: you can’t force the President out of office by lawsuit. My latest at The Federalist.
Is Trump a unique aberration in American history, or part of a troubling trend in the nature of executive power? I wrote about it today at The Federalist.
Today, I ate a weird sandwich on a dare, and now I’m going to write about it. See? It’s not all politics around here.
I expressed an interest in this horrifying sandwich, tweeted out by @jessepstein a/k/a Sandwich Lady:
The combination sounded gross, but weirder things have been done in food. I volunteered to try it and assembled the ingredients.
No one else in my household wished to join me in the adventure, so I reduced the recipe. The peanut butter, mayonnaise, and diced pickles combined for a mixture that had the appearance and consistency of cat vomit. (I don’t know what “boiled salad dressing” is, so mayo was the default option.)
I still may have made too much. The mixture was inconsistently runny and the lettuce did little to contain it. It was a gloppy mess.
The taste was not as instantly offensive as I’d guessed it would be. It helped, I suppose, that they’re all ingredients I like, if not necessarily in combination. The filling was slippery and rich, with the peanut butter being by far the dominant flavor. There were also hints of sourness and tanginess from the pickles and mayo that crept in occasionally.
I had a hard time telling if I liked it or not. The peanut-mayo wasn’t instantly repulsive, but after a few bites, it became too unctuous. Once I found myself preferring the bites that had more lettuce than anything, I knew I was done. This was bad.
The verdict: don’t do this. If you’re living through the Great Depression, as the recipe’s author was, I suppose the PB&P will do in a pinch, but in 21st-century America, stick to ham and cheese. ✮✩✩✩✩
Today at The Federalist, I wrote about the North Carolina redistricting case, Cooper v. Harris, and the Supreme Court’s flip-flopping on race-based gerrymandering.
Donald Trump has made a habit of whining on Twitter about how unfairly he gets treated. It’s an unattractive character trait, especially from someone who just won the Presidency. But one recent tweet should be cause for reflection about a larger trend in political rhetoric.
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
We’ve been comparing political investigations to witch hunts for decades, if not centuries. The most famous example of this is the Army-McCarthy hearings, in which Senator McCarthy searched in vain for communists within the federal government, including in the U.S. Army. Now, faced with an investigation into his own alleged Russian connections, Trump invokes the same tired analogy, which has by now become a cliche.
The problem commentators have pointed out is that other “witch hunts” have been conducted with less evidence of wrongdoing. But that misses the larger point: none of these are actual witch hunts. I don’t mean that just in the literal sense since that’s obviously true–no one has alleged the practice of witchcraft in the Trump campaign. That’s fine, it is the nature of analogy to compare things that are not perfectly alike.
No, the bigger issue is that all of these comparisons miss the point. The problem with witch hunts is that witches don’t exist.
No matter the motivation of the Salem Witch Trials, the outcome was bound to be unjust because the people were accused of committing a crime that does not exist. Witchcraft is fake. Contrast that with the McCarthy hearings, and you see the problem.
Some of the people McCarthy accused were innocent, but communist spies did exist. They existed in America. They existed in the American government, as more capable investigators like Richard Nixon proved. McCarthy’s investigation was overzealous and often lacking in evidence, but the crime he alleged was one that was actually being committed.
Trump’s Russia ties will likely prove illusory, but it is not unreasonable to believe that some of the people around him have improper relationships with the Putin regime. But even if the dirtiest characters in the administration are absolved of wrongdoing, calling this a witch hunt remains a poor analogy. Unlike in Salem in 1692, Michael Flynn and others are accused of a crime that is capable of being committed. A witch hunt, it isn’t
Also today at The Federalist: why Democrats are still mad that Trump fired the man they all hate.