Stay Away From Fifth Avenue

Have you read the Supreme Court’s Ruling about Trump’s Appeal for Immunity? I have. (Plot Spoiler- he got immunity!” ).

It reminds me of mucking stalls, except the horse pucky in this case was denser and sprinkled with esoteric legal references. 

The Roberts Court came to three conclusions: Presidents are immune from criminal prosecution for official duties; they’re sort of immune from sort-of-official duties; and they’re definitely unimmune from unofficial duties.

Well, actually there were four conclusions. They told lower courts to decide which of Trump’s current criminal cases were official, which were sort of official, and which were unofficial. Which will take months, thereby giving Trump the delay he wants. 

The reason they gave for immunizing a President’s official acts was to insure that all Presidents be “vigorous” and “energetic”. 

Whew! God forbid any President be unvigorous or unenergetic. 

I’m sure that will solve Biden’s problem, right?

Oh… and perhaps to reassure us, the statement “The President is not above the law” was repeated several times throughout – in direct conflict with their ruling.

Justice Sotomayor was not reassured. She wrote, if the President “orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune”.

The concept of a President being above the law is exactly why George Washington turned down the Presidency when he was first asked. He didn’t want to be a king. He didn’t want the US to have a king.

Our government was designed to be permanently out of balance; thus three branches, not two or four. The only leveler has been the requirement that everyone, every single person – rich or poor, powerful or weak – must obey the law. That requirement has kept democracy safe for all of us since the founding. Now one of the three branches, the Supreme Court, has given another branch, the President, permission to break the law. 

Now a President can combine that power with the power to pardon those who break the law on his behalf and… goodbye democracy, hello dictatorship.

The Roberts Court has done more to damage our democracy than any other entity since the beginning of the Republic. Their Citizens United decision took election choice away from the masses and gave it to the wealthy. The Dobbs-Jackson decision took birth choice away from women and gave it to male dominated religions. Now, the Immunity Decision has eliminated equality for all under the law. 

I don’t know if McConnell intended this outcome as he recruited and promoted conservative judges through his 17 years as Senate Leader. I don’t know if Trump made any mafia type deals as he added three conservative Justices to the three already there during his first Presidency.

What I do know is Sotomayor is right.  

And Trump’s brag that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” doesn’t sound like horse pucky any more.

(If you like this, pass it on. If you don't, pass it on anyway. Why should you suffer alone?)

Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve

What Biden could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done, if he had been thinking, was, at the beginning of the debate, told the audience he had “a cold”, “a sore throat”, “I lost my voice” – whatever – and “please bear with me.”

Or…if he had been thinking, he could’ve, should’ve, would’ve simply called in sick. “Hey, I’m on antibiotics and God knows what else, and have pretty much lost my voice. How about rescheduling for next week?” If you and I can do that, so can a President

… Well, that may not have flown.

But what he shouldn’t have done, couldn’t have done, wouldn’t have done if he had any sense was go on LIVE TV in a state so weakened he was bound to make Trump’s 30 lies in just 90 minutes, (not to mention 6th grade sneers and insults) look good.

Granted, Biden snapped back the next day. Granted it was just one TV performance. But boy, was it devastating for Biden fans. Which is a real problem.

Not for Biden fans, for all of us.

Ever since the Kennedy-Nixon Debates, the country has used TV performances to judge our politicians. Interestingly, radio listeners that night thought Nixon won, while TV viewers thought Kennedy won. (Nixon didn’t think he needed makeup because he was so good looking on radio).

It makes you wonder where the country would be if TV performances hadn’t shaped so many elections.

You know one of the least watched TV channels? Congress’ channel, C-Span. You know why? Because it’s boring. TV is a medium of entertainment. 90 per cent of politics, particularly as performed by Presidents, is non-entertainment. It’s boring.

A few examples:

* Endlessly negotiating with other politicians – and being civil – with people you wouldn’t nod to in the street;

*Becoming expert in subjects ranging from nuclear weapons to health care, inflation to immigration, Oligarchs to Evangelicals, Wall Street to Main Street…;

*Learning about all kinds of weaponry, from trench warfare to cyber-warfare;

*Knowing the military, economic, and political capabilities of China, Russia, Taiwan, Israel…well…everywhere;

*Mastering subjects like foreign affairs, foreign cultures, foreign religions…

*Herding cats (otherwise known as dealing with Congress);

*Saying “mother may I?” to secret service agents 24/7, whether it’s taking a walk or going to Europe;

*Never. Ever. Being off-duty (even when you’re sick);

*Having wisdom and experience;

*Through it all maintaining integrity, dignity, and compassion.

TV debates have been fun to watch, well…except for Biden fans this week. But debates only reveal the TV performance side of the candidates. They show very little of how a candidate would actually function as president.

Maybe we should look less at their TV performances and more at their job performances. An elections is, after all, a job application and there’s far more to the job of President than TV performance.

The last thing we want to think about on November 6th is what we would’ve, could’ve, should’ve done with our vote.

(If you like this, pass it on. If you don't, pass it on anyway. Why should you suffer alone?)