One striking difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans generally are willing to play by the rules and Democrats are not.
The most obvious current proof of this is the thinly-disguised aim of the Democrats, who have just taken over the U.S. House of Representatives, to remove Donald Trump by any means available — most prominently impeachment.
The colorful remarks by Freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., that she is looking forward to "impeach the motherf***r," give away the game. The Constitution reserves impeachment for "treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors."
Serious observers understand that President Trump is not guilty of any of those offenses.
The last few years of the Obama administration also saw an abandonment of the rules, as Democrats sought to run the government through administrative agencies and the executive branch. A choice to igore Congress’s role as sole legitimate law maker.
Though they were repeatedly slapped down by the U.S. Supreme Court, occasionally by unanimous rulings, this hardly fazed them.
Hillary Clinton’s ignoring of national security laws by setting up a private server to handle her state department business, and the Obama administration’s FBI and CIA, in cooperation with the Clinton campaign, manufacturing of "foreign intelligence" and attempted framing of Donald Trump for purported Russian collusion are other notable examples.
Virtue signaling while trashing the rule of law is something Democrats have also perfected.
And while politicians have always and will always lie, ignoring our fundamental governmental ideals and undermining formerly cherished institutions has now reached alarming levels.
Though it is Democrats in the past few years who may have been the most guilty of this, there is at least one Republican who now shows shameful promise in this regard.
This is the newly-minted junior senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, son of a former governor of Michigan, and failed 2012 presidential candidate.
Setting aside the carpet-bagging nature of his election from a state not usually regarded as his home, not even was Romney sworn in before he launched a broadside against a sitting president of his own party.
Borrowing several of the tropes from the Democrats, writing an op-ed in The Washington Post, the house journal of the liberal establishment, Romney virtue-signaled his approval of some of the president’s policies, but curiously lambasted Mr. Trump’s failure to live up to the "mantle" of the presidency.
Romney cited Trump's "words and actions."
Sen. Romney was rather unspecific in his smearing of the president, though he did claim that "A president should unite us and inspire us to follow 'our better angels.'"
The implication seemed to be that Donald Trump has not done this, but one sympathetic to the president and his promise to "Make America Great Again," along with his administration’s superb economic accomplishments, could certainly see where the Lincolnesque appeal to "our better angels" was a part of Trump’s appeal.
Say what one might about Donald Trump, he does follow the rules. He has not ignored adverse court rulings or administrative pronouncements, and he has only sought to implement his policies through adherence to the traditional prerogatives of his office, and working with Republicans in Congress to obtain his legislative goals.
Romney’s op-ed made clear that he cannot be counted on to aid this president’s efforts.
The piece appeared to be a self-centered plea for attention and a signal that the freshman senator wishes to assume the attitude of maverick and presidential critic preeningly displayed most recently by the late Sen. John McCain. McCain was a darling of the media because he blasted Mr. Trump.
Sen. Romney seems to be hoping for the same status.
Romney was elected by the people of Utah to pursue the policies of the Republican party.
He even welcomed the Republican President Trump’s endorsement in his senatorial campaign. Trump, by lowering taxes, promoting economic and job growth, and by appointing judges faithful to the Constitution, has done most of the things Republicans have championed for decades.
By now seeking to cast obloquy on Mr. Trump, Sen. Romney has not only engaged in the kind of mendacity routinely employed by the President’s Democratic critics, but he seems to be putting his own desire for notice and purported integrity ahead of his loyalty to his party and his president.
Blind adherence to a leader is, of course, not always wise, but where, as is true of President Trump, he is doing the very things he promised.
Where those very things gained him an Electoral College majority, one would think the senators of his own party would support him, as Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., former senatorial critics, now appear to be doing.
Mitt Romney’s op-ed is profoundly disappointing, unwise, and disloyal. It can only please Mr. Trump’s enemies.
Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was recently appointed as a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.