We’ve all heard the description about the stages of deception, attributed separately to Mark Twain and Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Similarly, I think there are three kinds of politicians: liars, damned liars and contemptible liars. And Donald Trump.
Yes, I know that’s four categories; I lied.
Somewhere between two and three, I’d put Supreme Court nominees who claim that our courts are not hopelessly entangled with politics. He’s hardly unique, but the latest example is Brett Kavanaugh, involved in the brawl called “advise and consent” (another fraud) going on in the Senate Judiciary Committee. He offers nonstop phony platitudes like: “I don’t decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.”
That would be similar to John Roberts’ description of his approach to deciding cases when he described himself as “an umpire” and managed to slip-slide through the Senate and be confirmed as chief justice.
So I was particularly intrigued by the weekend op-ed in The Washington Post by Jim Evans, who argued that umpires “have never been robots who simply call balls and strikes. Judges and analysts who describe an umpire’s job in those terms are oversimplifying.” It probably should be noted that Evans was a major league baseball umpire for 28 years. Unlike The New York Times, The Post even identified him.
Getting back on point, and not to get too tangled in legalese, it’s phony-baloney. Both Roberts and Kavanaugh are partisans, as is every member of the Supremes. They are nominated by presidents who are Democrats or Republicans and who expect them to be reliably conservative or liberal. The days of surprises, like Earl Warren or David Souter, are long gone. Brett Kavanaugh was chosen by the Trumpster because he will be expected to rule in ways pleasing to Donald Trump. All the justices are mostly predictable. Clearly President Trump chose Kavanaugh because of his track record on executive power. He’s given strong indications that POTUS should be walled off from investigations like the Bob Mueller one because he’s just so darned busy. Never mind that Kavanaugh played a major official role in checking into every transgression of President Bill Clinton, including his sexual ones. And never mind that Trump finds all the time he needs for inane and hateful tweets, but he’s too busy for trifles like criminal and civil investigations.
Speaking of Trump (how can one ignore him?), you’ll recall that when it comes to lying, Donald Trump is in a class by himself. But what’s even worse than his agony of deceit is when he slips momentarily into truth about his obvious desire to become the American Autocrat.
Once again, he displayed his belief that law-enforcement agencies like the Justice Department and the FBI should be nothing more than his militias, ready to impose his every dictate. His relentless badgering of Attorney General Jeff Sessions is Exhibit A. Sessions is a right-wing extremist himself, but not loyal enough. The most recent evidence was Trump’s condemnation of the federal corruption indictments returned against two of his most fervid congressional supporters. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff.” In other words, Sessions and his federal agents upset the Trump Republican apple cart by having the audacity to apply the law. In an interview with The Daily Caller, he bristled at protestors after they loudly disrupted the first day of the Kavanaugh hearing, inferring such demonstrations should be illegal: “I think it’s embarrassing for the country to allow protesters.”
“Allow protesters”? The president of the United States finds constitutional constraints of a democracy unacceptable. As opposed to Chief Justice Roberts’ “umpire” pretense, Trump wants to be emperor. And that is no lie.