NBC’s Chuck Todd Offers Dubious History To Cover For Democrats

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things is not like the other…

[A frequent and valued commenter asked Ethics Alarms to examine this, and I am, as many of you know, always eager to delve into the history of My Favorite Men, the Presidents of the United States.]

Yesterday, NBC presented the nauseating display of a prominent member of Congress attempting to undermine the peaceful transfer of power after a legal and fair election. This was unprecedented, and not surprisingly. Only a hyper-partisan ethics dunce who believed that he was beyond criticism and accountability and who was confident that journalists would rationalize his conduct would do such a thing.  In this regard, at least, Rep. John Lewis was correct. The news media had his back.

Before the actual interview was broadcast, news of Lewis’s statement was out regarding Lewis’s attack, and Donald Trump, as he has with Gold Star parents, beauty queens and others and award-winning actresses, had foolishly reacted with an insulting tweet that allowed his critics to shift public attention from the provocation to the target. Is Trump really incapable of learning how stupid this is, no matter how many times he suffers for it? Apparently.

Meanwhile, it was time for the news media to play defense for Lewis, because that’s what they do when Democrats misbehave.

Chuck Todd, the host of “Meet the Press,” used hsiMSNBC show “Meet the Press Daily” to argue that a prominent member of Congress claiming that an elected President isn’t legitimate is just not that big a deal, saying

In case you missed it, Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), civil rights hero and icon, said Donald Trump does not believe is a legitimate president because of the Russian meddling in the election. Leaving aside how you feel about Lewis’ position, it’s not first time a president’s legitimacy has been questioned.”

Then, no doubt thanks to some intern’s searches on Google, he regaled his audience with misleading American history:

In 1824 when John Quincy Adams won the presidency over Andrew Jackson, despite getting clobbered in the popular vote, a lot of people questioned the legitimacy of his victory. In fact, this happens pretty much every time the popular vote loser moves into the White House.

After the 1876 election, Rutherford Hayes, who was called Ruther-fraud Hayes when Congress gave him the electoral majority.

The same in 1888 with Benjamin Harrison. You may remember the occasional cry of foul in 2000 when the Supreme Court stopped the Florida recount and George W. Bush won the election.

Sometimes, though, it has nothing to do with voting. When William Henry Harrison died a month after taking office in 1841, a lot of people didn’t accept the idea that as vice president John Tyler or any vice president for that matter could legitimately ascend to the presidency. A lot of people just called him an ‘acting president.’

Most recently, of course, the conservative right and and some Republicans claimed to doubt President Obama’s citizenship and therefore the legitimacy of his right to serve in the office of the presidency.

None of this is meant to pass judgment on John Lewis’ position, it’s just to remind us all this isn’t the first time someone has questioned the legitimacy of an American president. Surely won’t be the last.

This is what our political system does, we have this back and forth. It doesn’t make it any less shocking, frankly, to some of us when you do hear it from people with big influence. That’s all for tonight.

See? No big deal! Happens all the time! Everybody does it!

This may not be fake history, but it is definitely half-assed history, and inexcusably misleading. Contrary to what Todd told gullible MSNBC watchers, it is absolutely unprecedented for a sitting member of Congress to go on national TV and claim that a President-Elect is not “legitimate” when neither the vote totals nor the resulting Electoral College vote have been credibly challenged. Is it unusual for somebody to challenge the legitimacy of  Presidential elections? No, all close elections turn up unscrupulous activists, crackpots and conspiracy theorists, but their accusations are usually long over by this point. Lewis’s high profile attack, however, is unique in many ways. It comes in the midst of a long, deep and intensifying attempt by angry progressives and Democrats to find some way, any way, to prevent Donald Trump from taking office. This has included recounts, appeals and threats to flip electors, challenges of the Electoral vote in Congress, demonstrations, riots, plans to disrupt the swearing in, legal theories that the Electoral College itself is unconstitutional, assertions by legal authorities that Trump could and should be impeached before he spends a day at work, accusations of treason and more. Todd’s attempt to brush it all off as just a typical election aftermath ignores the actual news: this has never happened before, it is playing with dynamite, and where it ends, nobody knows.

Lumping together all of the occasions where the popular vote winner didn’t get elected is Todd’s first deceit. (Do I think he knows what I am about to explain? No. I think he was seeking an excuse to justify the outrageous conduct of his party, the Democrats, and passing it along to the over-whelmingly progressive audience at MSNBC, so they would in turn put the video on Facebook and make their friends more ignorant.)

The only Presidential election in which the popular vote loser won in the Electoral College without any other substantive controversy over the results was the election of 1888, in which Republican Benjamin Harrison received approximately 90,000 popular votes fewer than Democrat Grover Cleveland, but carried the electoral college 233 to 168. Harrison’s victory was based upon two swing states, New York and Indiana, 1888’s version of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Although there were rumors that somehow Harrison’s supporters had bought him votes in his home state of Indiana, which came surprisingly close to voting for Grover, they were not significant and no one seriously argued that Harrison didn’t win fair and square. To say, as Todd did, that “the same” happened in 1888 with Benjamin Harrison, is fake history. Democrats were understandably upset to lose the Presidency despite winning the popular vote, but there were no announced boycotts of Harrison’s Inauguration, no national newspapers spreading dark theories of a stolen election, no members of Congress pronouncing Harrison “illegitimate.” I’ve searched the literature, and found nothing resembling today’s efforts by Democrats to overturn the election. If anything this significant occurred, I presume it would have left a mark. Thus the truth is this: the election most closely resembling Trump’s victory produced no equivalent to Lewis’s outburst, indeed nothing close to it.

The other controversies were materially different.  In a four way Presidential candidate field in 1824, Andrew Jackson, the military hero of the War of 1812, won a plurality of the popular vote (43%, about what Bill Clinton won in 1992) and the largest number of electoral votes too, with ninety-nine. John Quincy Adams, the son of the second president and President Monroe’ secretary of state, came in second in the Electoral College with eighty-four votes.  However, none of the four candidates (the others were Henry Clay and William Crawford)  had received a majority of votes in the Electoral College, so the House of Representatives had to choose between the top two candidates, Adams and Jackson.

Henry Clay was Speaker of the House. Oh-oh. He hated Jackson, so he cut a deal to have his political allies vote for Adams, in return for Adams naming Clay as his Secretary of State, a position that had proved to be a stepping-stone to the presidency for the previous four holders of the office.

Jackson and his party cried foul, because it was foul: the deal was known as “The Corrupt Bargain.” Andrew Jackson in some ways was a 19th Century version of Donald Trump, and he was furious, but he didn’t try to lead a national effort to unseat Adams. He did use the deal to begin campaigning early as a populist solution to the kind of crooked crony politics that made Adams President.

A good argument could be made, then and now, that Adams’ election was NOT legitimate.

Todd similarly misrepresents the 1876 election wheeling and dealing that made Rutherford B. Hayes President despite losing the popular vote decisively to Democrat Samuel Tildon. This was a real mess: if today’s unscrupulous Democrats had been around then, we might have had another Civil War.

Tilden, who had won the unipopular vote with 4,284,020 votes to Hayes’ 4,036,572. But Tilden’s 184 electoral votes — the votes that would decide the Presidency — were still one short of a majority, while Hayes’ 165 electoral votes left him 20 votes shy. The Electoral votes of three Southern states and one Western state still had not been added to the totals. The 20 electoral votes remaining in dispute included one from Oregon and 19 from  three Southern states that still retained Republican-controlled electoral boards: Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The Oregon vote should have gone to Tilden and ended the contest, but the state’s GOP Governor appointed his crony as the state’s sole elector and he cast his vote for Harrison even though the Democrats had won the popular vote decisively. They also had won the vote in the three Southern states, but had done so through intimidation of black voters, violence and bribery.

Both parties claimed victory, and the controversy raged on for five months. Congress appointed a special bipartisan commission made up of Senators, Reps, and Supreme Court Justices. With time running out, the Commission brokered a deal with Southern Democrats. They would throw Tilden under the bus, if Harrison was committed to ending Reconstruction, pulling Northern troops out of the former Confederate states, and allowing them to govern themselves. This was the beginning of Jim Crow. The deal was finalized the day before the scheduled inauguration on March 5, 1877.

Now THAT was a stolen election. There were no riots, however, and no effort was made by Democrats to provoke the public to reject the results, as corrupt as it was. In great part, this was because Tilden, the victim of the backroom deal, quietly accepted his fate and went back to practicing law. It also helped that Hayes,genuine war hero, had nothing to do with the bargain, though he regarded himself as bound by it.

Obviously to everyone but Chuck Todd or his intern, the election of 1876 isn’t precedent for anything. It was sui generis.

The other election leading to accusations of illegitimacy was the infamous hanging chad squeaker in 2000. That one, however, was settled in the courts, leading Democrats to use the messy conclusion to undermine George W. Bush’s administration. Again, however, votes were in dispute. There was a genuine controversy. Nonetheless, the losing party, the Democrats, supported the Inauguration and submitted to the frustrating final result. No member of Congress went on TV to urge Democrats to “resist” the new President as “illegitimate.”

This part of Todd’ s CYA for 2016’s disgraceful Democratic Party conduct was especially misleading:

“When William Henry Harrison died a month after taking office in 1841, a lot of people didn’t accept the idea that as vice president John Tyler or any vice president for that matter could legitimately ascend to the presidency. A lot of people just called him an ‘acting president.'”

They did that because there were documents that strongly suggested that that’s all the Founders intended him to be. The Constitution of the United States then stated only that:

“In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President.”

This was ambiguous: did the Vice President become President and serve out the term, or did he just act as President until an election could be held to fill the vacancy? The Cabinet met within an hour of Harrison’s death and determined that Tyler would be “Vice-President acting President”. Tyler, however, had other ideas: he announced that he was the President of the United States, took the oath of office as President, and moved into the White House for the next four years. It was a bold move, and a smart one, but many questioned Tyler’s authority for good reason. Once he made the call, however, nobody of note called him “Acting President,” because he wasn’t one any more.

Incompetent or intentional, Todd’s over-simplified history was offered up to make the current effort to destabilize the Presidency seem less sinister and more justifiable than it is. John Lewis’s pre-swearing in attack on Donald Trump’s legitimacy is without precedent or justification. All the other election disputes Todd referenced were substantive, and even they didn’t result in anything approaching the Democratic attacks on Trump’s election, perhaps because politicians then realized how dangerous such conduct would be to a young nation.

Later, we’ll examine if there is any reason why President Trump shouldn’t regard the mainstream media as part of the opposition party, and treat it accordingly. Todd’s kind of shameless spin is a factor to be considered.


Pointer: Other Bill




Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Leadership

68 responses to “NBC’s Chuck Todd Offers Dubious History To Cover For Democrats

  1. Christopher Henley

    Read this far enough to call BS! Some House members routinely refused to answer when Chris Matthews would ask if Pres. Obama was legitimately elected.

    • They were being assholes, but in law, silence means consent. If your argument is that not saying is the same as saying, you have a really weak case.

      • Christopher Henley

        You’re playing games. You know what they were doing and that consent was the farthest thing from their intention.

        • The point is, Chris, and you’re ducking it, is that what Lewis is doing is actively stoking defiance. Not sa ying something just isn’t the same thing as saying it. Hillary, you will recall, played games with the birther question, but she never came out and said (as Trump did) that Obama wasn’t a natural American. It just isn’t a parallel case. I knew nobody, well, I take that back, one guy, who bought it. The Birther stuff was on par with the Truthers, meaning a fringe, insulting, unfair, but inconsequential.

          FACT: no GOP House member or high elected official went on record that Obama wasn’t “legitimate.” FACT: it was never anything that was embraced by the mainstream or the source of protests. FACT: the slur wasn’t even a news item until well into Obama’s term, so it doesn’t compare to the current attacks on a President Elect.That’s not playing games. That’s called insisting on apples and apples. Obama was overwhelmingly supported by the public, including Republicans. He was worshiped by the news media. There is no parallel.

          • Chris

            I agree this analogy is off. The congressmen that refused to state with certainty that Obama was a legitimate president were dishonest cowards, but Lewis flat-out saying Trump is illegitimate is unprecedented.

            Hillary, you will recall, played games with the birther question

            She did? I’m aware that someone on her staff who was later fired did circulate the birther rumor, but I’m unaware of her ever publicly saying anything that could be construed as legitimizing the birther theory.

            It just isn’t a parallel case. I knew nobody, well, I take that back, one guy, who bought it.

            And now that guy’s president! 😉

            The Birther stuff was on par with the Truthers, meaning a fringe, insulting, unfair, but inconsequential.

            Which is scary, since again, the most prominent figure in this fringe and inconsequential movement is now going to be POTUS.

            What other fringe figures will now be welcomed into the mainstream? Maybe Alex Jones will run.

            • Which is scary, since again, the most prominent figure in this fringe and inconsequential movement is now going to be POTUS.
              See, I agree completely. Trump’s Truther crap should have been disqualifying. It was in my mind.

              The person I was referring to who buys the birther stuff is one of my oldest friends and one of the smartest, which is saying a lot. He’s a rich retired doctor now, and he is adamant that Obama’s a fraud. We had a long and pretty bitter debate on it here—bitter, because he resorted to insults about my relative problems in math classes 50 years ago.

              • dragin_dragon

                See, here’s my problem…I know a couple of serious Photoshop users, and both of them have told me that it is possible (NOT probable but “possible”) that his birth certificate has been faked…in essence, “Photoshopped”. Now, my problem…if it has, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW. The problems this would generate are far more reaching than Trump’s legitimacy. The fact that we have elected a President who was not a natural citizen, and, hence, not a citizen at all, since he was never naturalized, is NOT something I want to deal with at this time in our history. I already have the feeling my last few years are going to be presiding over the dissolution of the United States of America, and I HATE it. We have gone from walking on the moon to having a well-known politician practically calling for a civil war. Have we lost our collective minds? I hope not. I’d like to see my great grandchildren married and safe. I’m rather afraid that’s not going to happen.

                • Sure, But there’s also a birth announcement in the local paper archives. Meanwhile, so what? The prohibition is archaic. We’ve had at least one foreign born Prez already.

                • Spartan

                  Also, no one disputes that his mother was American. Right now, I can give birth anywhere in the world and my child would be American. Heck, Cruz was born in Canada. Much ado ….

      • Since when did silence mean consent?

        • I gave that some side eye too, Columbia House ran into SERIOUS legal problems by sending people stuff and then dictating “send it back, or we’ll use your silence as consent you want more stuff.” In fact, I can think of dozens of easy examples of legal instances where silence does not mean consent. Rape! How did I forget rape?

    • Christopher Henley

      The effing Republican Speaker said he couldn’t tell his Members what to think, when he was asked about it. You told me on Facebook that you were objective. With all due respect, your blog seems to have an identifiable partisan slant.

      • Sorry you think that. It doesn’t. Your point about the Birthers would be valid if that wasn’t a small fringe group, or if Lewis was an outlier. He isn’t. He is part of a party-wide effort. And don’t default to crying bias: find better arguments. I have never supported Trump; I derided the GOP for allowing him to be nominated, but in ethics, the principles stay steady. Obama entered office with sky high, bi-partisan approval, and there was no GOP effort to deny that.

        • Christopher Henley

          I’m not ducking anything– I wasn’t arguing that Lewis’ stance isn’t beyond what certain Repub’s did; I was pointing out the FACT that several wouldn’t answer the question in the affirmative when asked if BO was a legitimate President. Of course it’s not exactly the same. For one thing, BO won the pop vote as well as the E College, and therefore the questioning of him lacked the moral authority of a popular vote mandate. It could also be argued that Lewis is braver than the dudes who wouldn’t answer the question about Obama. Their silence should be considered their prevarication. But claiming in any way that it is consent is what I called playing games. That was not the message they were intending to send.

        • Christopher Henley

          There was, however, an admitted GOP effort to obstruct and I believe, if you look st statistics (many quoted in the recent book about bipartisan comity written by Daschle and Lott) it is inarguable that legislative parralsis has been on the rise. It’s not entirely one-sided, but the cresendo occurred in the Obama years.

      • Chris Marschner

        I have taken exception to some of Jack’s comments in the past but partisan he is clearly not. He does not suffers fools gladly and if you think otherwise please review the many essays on why Trump should not be anywhere close to the oval office.

        Partisans ignore acts that undermine its ideology. The only ideology I see from Jack is that he is steadfastly committed to objective analysis.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        And you seem to have an identifiable slant towards a certain bodily orifice, Mr. “effing Republican Speaker.”

      • Chris

        Jack is no partisan. His biases are not toward people but principles and ideas, and while I think some of those principles and ideas are wrong, or that he is too inflexible on them, there is much to be admired in the firmness of his convictions.

    • Glenn Logan

      Read this far enough to call BS! Some House members routinely refused to answer when Chris Matthews would ask if Pres. Obama was legitimately elected.

      So? This is not the same thing as saying he wasn’t legitimately elected. Jack is right, they were being assholes and deserve to be called such.

      But what Lewis and at least one other Democrat (Jerrold Nadler) have flatly stated Trump’s election is illegitimate, something not a single Republican elected politician. Yes, birthers and other Republican dipshits doubted Obama, but the elected politicians, whether they did or didn’t in the privacy of their own thoughts, kept their mouths shut. Why? Because there was no evidence whatever to question Obama’s legitimacy.

      Just as there is no question whatever to question Trump’s legitimacy as an elected president.

      • Glenn Logan

        Oops. Forgot to finish a sentence. “…something not a single Republican elected politician [did in Obama’s case].”

      • Deery

        I think that the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency was questioned over and over again, even by those in Congress, like Steve King and Duncan. It’s hard to believe that people can be so conveniently amnesiac when we have such recent examples, or split such fine hairs, but here we are.

        Duncan appeared on the radio program TruNews with Rick Wiles on Friday where the host asked the South Carolina congressman whether the House would go after Obama’s “phony identification papers.” Duncan initially demurred, but then agreed with Wiles that Obama could be lying about his birth certificate, calling for Congress to “revisit” the issue of “the president’s validity.”


        • Is there a difference in raising a concern over a candidate’s Constitutional Eligibility to even run or be elected AND raising a concern over a candidate’s ability to govern?

          Because from the looks of it, a tiny handful of Republicans made a moderate hullabaloo over Obama’s eligibility to be elected, and a smaller handful continued to stir that pot after his election.

          Whereas it seems like nearly a vast majority of the LEFT is losing the remains of its dignity and decorum throwing the Guinness Book of World Records largest temper tantrum over their concern over Trump’s ability to govern and desperately tried to translate that into a Constitutional issue. Failing that it seems the push is now to just outright undermine everything about the Presidency itself…

          You see, Republicans played in the system…Democrats are trying to break the system. (like radicals always do when they can’t get their way)

          • Spartan

            This morning, the news reported that about 20 Congressional Democrats are refusing to attend the inauguration. As you know, I disagree with their decision.. I’m curious, however, whether you feel this constitutes a hullabaloo or a large temper tantrum?

            • Steve-O-in-NJ

              Oh, they’re just stuck somewhere in between the first three stages of grief. Some are still in denial (“he’s not the REAL president-elect”), some are still broiling with anger (“It’s WRONG that he’s the president-elect”) and some are bargaining (“I refuse to acknowledge he’s the president-elect”). No one has yet slid publicly into the fourth stage, depression (“Boo hoo, wa-wa, sob-sob, pbbbbt!”) or the fifth, acceptance (“we’re stuck with this guy for the next four years, might as well get used to it.”)

            • I think it’s 31 and the hulabaloo has been the nationwide melt down that began the morning of November 9th…not just the most recent manifestation of throwing a hissy over the inauguration.

              • Spartan

                But we have to define “nationwide meltdown.” Are you talking about pundits? Who cares what they think — it’s their job to cause sensation and stay on TV. The march? I’m curious to see just how many people show up. The 20-31 Congressional Democrats who are refusing to attend? And, don’t forget, many Republicans are not behind Trump either.

                • deery

                  I confess I’m not sure the precise nature of Jack’s objections. That some Democratic officials think that Trump is an illegitimate President?

                  At this point, it can certainly be debated. Is Trump a true Manchurian candidate being blackmailed by the Russian state? Intelligence officials think there is enough merit to the claims that they briefed both the President and Trump himself about the issue. Trump’s own behaviors regarding this don’t exactly raise confidence in this area, especially with his latest diss of NATO allies, that seemingly have no strategic value except to weaken NTO relationships, with the net effect of bolstering Russia.

                  If one sincerely believes that a person about to step into office has actually been compromised by a foreign government, should one not say anything? Or does one actually have an ethical duty to speak out? I don’t think Lewis was being pretextual when he called Trump “illegitimate.” I think he sincerely believes that. Now he might be delusional. He might very well be privy to more information about that than the average citizen. I don’t know. But if you genuinely feel that the government is being undermined by foreign governments, then of course you speak out about it, and you don’t support it.

                  • “If one sincerely believes that a person about to step into office has actually been compromised by a foreign government, should one not say anything? Or does one actually have an ethical duty to speak out? I don’t think Lewis was being pretextual when he called Trump “illegitimate.” I think he sincerely believes that. Now he might be delusional. He might very well be privy to more information about that than the average citizen. I don’t know. But if you genuinely feel that the government is being undermined by foreign governments, then of course you speak out about it, and you don’t support it.”

                    -A Hack who will nail Trump to the wall on *mere* unsubstantiated allegations published an error-riddled report while in alternate universe where Hillary won would never in a million years raise a concern over the ACTUAL giving of money to Hillary by foreign powers during her candidacy and her time as Secretary of State.

                    • deery

                      A Hack who will nail Trump to the wall on *mere* unsubstantiated allegations published an error-riddled report while in alternate universe where Hillary won would never in a million years raise a concern over the ACTUAL giving of money to Hillary by foreign powers during her candidacy and her time as Secretary of State.

                      Those donations, at the very least, appear to have been transparent. Perhaps along the lines of foreign governments booking stays and conferences at Trump hotels and resorts while he was running for President. Shady, but you can at least follow the money.

                      Blackmail, of course, is altogether different. “The stick v. the carrot.” Can a foreign government force one of our leaders to do something he otherwise wouldn’t do because they hold information over his head? It is unsubstantiated, but holding enough validity that several different intelligence agencies give credence to it, and cite it as a concern.

                    • “Blackmail, of course, is altogether different. “The stick v. the carrot.” Can a foreign government force one of our leaders to do something he otherwise wouldn’t do because they hold information over his head?

                      1) Jack has already trounced this objection a few post’s back when Chris made the same assertions.

                      2) Several commenters on here, Humble the most thorough, have already debunked the error-riddled and unsubstantiated report.

                      “It is unsubstantiated, but holding enough validity that several different intelligence agencies give credence to it, and cite it as a concern.”

                      3) One day I took lunch at a local park in my company truck. Nearby was apparently a drug deal going down (that I wasn’t aware of until long after the fact), the guys involved did not want me around obviously as a witness but they also didn’t want to raise a violent mess to get me gone. They approached my truck making wild accusations about how I wasn’t allowed to be here and that they were calling my company to talk to my boss about how I was wasting company time and how I was trespassing on private property and how I was behaving improperly.

                      Read all that as *completely unfounded, unsubstantiated, and error-riddled* accusations.

                      You know what I did? I went back to my company and immediately informed my boss what happened and he may expect a call from a deranged lunatic and not to make anything of it.

                      Read all that as “holding enough validity” to *cite it as a concern*…

                      You do realize that the Intelligence Agencies paying attention to it and preparing a briefing on it does *nothing* to actually substantiate the report.

                    • deery

                      I note that you don’t answer the question of what should an ethical, individual Congressman do if they sincerely believe that our potential future president really is being blackmailed by foreign interests?

                    • I will:

                      What if they believe that he’s possessed by the demon Pazuzu? Really an alien? Performing voodoo? Some of those idiots who refused to say Obama was a citizen probably believed that he wasn’t. So what? Their duty is to be fair and responsible, not be ruled by bias, and to base opinions on hard evidence before they do anything. If they won’t, they should seek other employment. Maybe Joe McCarthy believed that everyone was a Communist. That doesn’t make what he did less outrageous.

                    • deery said, “I note that you don’t answer the question of what should an ethical, individual Congressman do if they sincerely believe that our potential future president really is being blackmailed by foreign interests?”

                      That’s a question full of bull shit innuendo; that’s the kind of question a partisan hack asks.

                      Here is your answer; they should PROVE their innuendo or shut the fuck up.

                  • Playing dumb ill-serves you. “some Democratic officials think that Trump is an illegitimate President?” The Democratic party, with the assent of leadership, has embarked on a public campaign to illegitimize him, relentlessly, and in successive strategies.

                    • deery

                      As far as I know, there is no Democratic official party line on this, nothing from the Democratic party leadership (to much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the grassroots), and nothing from the separate Democratic national organization. Mostly it is a few people having some very disorganized, disparate responses to the various potential dangers of a Trump presidency.

                    • This is called Wilful Blindness. since the conduct is so widespread, a simple statement from Obama, Clinton, Chuck Schumer or Pelosi would be sufficient to disassociate the party from all of it. Journalists kep asking GOP leaders why they wouldn’t officially rebuke racist statements from supporters, when there was nothing this pervasive going on. I haven’t see any such questions put to Democratic Leadership, and Obama plays cute, just saying “they have a right to protest.” Where is the question: “Do you accept Donald Trump as your legitimate, elected successor?” followed by “Yes. Of Course.”

            • My view, of course, is that it is neither, but a dangerous display of hyper partisan disunity that harms everyone involved. I really thought that all the pious pronouncements from Clinton, Pelosi and the rest about the importance of accepting the results of the election and moving on together would prevent this crap, that some adult would say, “Guys, we can’t act like this. It is so hypocritical that it will make the whole party look like liars and jerks.

              How can anyone support a party that allows itself to do this? I’m serious. I don’t know where patriotic Democrats with integrity go, but how can you not be embarrassed?

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                They go to the same place that Leon Panetta and Sam Nunn and Henry “Scoop” Jackson went. With the end of the Cold War there wasn’t any need for security-minded, patriotic Democrats and the social engineering Democrats took over. Their constituencies tend to be very gullible and not to care much about hypocrisy as long as they get their free stuff, so neither do they as long as they get their column inches. What’s more, the media won’t call them out on hypocrisy, so why care?

              • Spartan

                Every party does this — how many times has the government been shut down (or has almost shut down) because Libertarians in the Republican Party throw tantrums when they don’t have enough votes? This is not a rationalization — but in a two party system you have to vote for one party or the other.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          Irrelevant, deery. I’m going to tell you the same thing you lefties told us when we raised questions over the outgoing idiot-in-chief: We won, you lost, now get with the program.

        • Just so we’re clear, are you conflating the seriousness and weight of Rep Lewis to King and Duncan?

        • Oh so lame, but Christopher is grateful for the support.

          The issue is party-wide, national level, organized claims that a President isn’t legitimate. Steve King is a GOP extremist nut, not an “icon.” Do I or does anyone tar all Democrats with Alan Grayson’s bile? Do tell, where were all those Republican #NotMyPresident protests over Obama’s election? How many GOP officials announced that they were boycotting his Inauguration? What conservative celebrities argued that Obama should be arrested? What conservative professors argued that he should be impeached? How many Hollywood videos and petitions were launched calling for electors to vote for McCain? My amnesia is kicking in.

          • deery

            It seems like it is business as usual for the opposition party to skip town for the inauguration festivities: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-01-15/news/0901140884_1_republicans-inauguration-day-flee

            • deery

              What conservative professors argued that he should be impeached?

              Just several GOP officials in Congress. Enough suggestions that Wikipedia actually has a whole separate article about it.

              During the presidency of Barack Obama, certain Republican congressmembers have stated that Obama may have engaged in impeachable activity and that he may face attempts to remove him from office. Rationales offered for possible impeachment included allegations that Obama was born outside of the United States, that he allegedly allowed people to use bathrooms based on their gender identity, an alleged White House cover-up after the 2012 Benghazi attack and failure to enforce Immigration laws. No list of articles of impeachment was ever drawn up and proposed to the Judiciary Committee.

              Multiple surveys of U.S. public opinion found that the clear majority of Americans rejected the idea of impeaching Obama, while most Republicans were in favor; for example, CNN found in July 2014 that 57% of Republicans supported efforts while about two thirds of adult Americans in general disagreed.

              Yes, I already know. It’s different when Republicans do it.

              • Stop cheating and lying. The article is about calls for impeachment based on actual Presidential actions, during an adminstration. The article you linked to says, During the presidency of Barack Obama. The issue is not proposing impeachment based on actual acts in office. The issue is proposing impeachment BEFORE ANY acts in office, and you know, I’m really getting tired of your dishonesty in this discussion. I have been very clear. You are not rebutting, you are Muddying the water. You are, in fact, being an asshole. Cut it out.

                • Yes, I already know. It’s different when Republicans do it.

                  And don’t pull that crap on ME again. Last warning. I regard using impeachment as political weapon despicable and unethical, and have so written here. That comment misrepresents the blog, and me. I’m sorry your party is disgracing itself, but if your integrity is so poor that you feel loyally bound to defend the indefensible, you better do it without misrepresenting the facts and my commentary. Jerk.

                • deery

                  Because we disagree, I’m being dishonest? The fact is that people were calling Obama illegitimate and to be impeached before he even took office under the rather dubious birther reasons. Trump himself was one of the main backers of the efforts to de-legitimize Obama.

                  I think, as far as Trump goes, if it is shown that is beholden to Russia because of sordid information they have hanging over him, then of course he should be impeached. I’m actually rather neutral, because I believe that the Republicans will end up impeaching him for one reason or another for reasons of their own anyway, so it doesn’t much matter.

                  You are, in fact, being an asshole. Cut it out.

                  This gratuitous emotional name-calling and capricious banning off those that disagree with you is precisely how comment sections go from interesting places of discussion and disagreements to echo chambers. It is interesting watching it happen in real time.

                  • Your impeachment comment specifically used in-administration Fringe GOP threats against Obama as the equivalent of per-inaugeration attacks on Trump, which is what I have written about. Yes, dishonest. It is also dishonest to make the birther slurs a more widespread and significant than they were. Again:No leadership, no boycotts, no protests, no scholars calling for impeachment.

                  • This is not emotional. Do not behave like an asshole, spinning, lying and accusing me of bias. That description is fair and accurate, and it has a purpose. Stick to fair use of facts, and occasionally admit that you have no leg to stand on, something other commenters here do regularly.

                  • I do apologize for the invective. The bait and switch tactic always drives me nuts, but that was unnecessary and excessive. I’m sorry. Terrible day…health issues at home, writer’s block for a looming deadline, and lots of other junk. I have to say that I really, really hate the conduct of the Democrats right now, it literally hurts, because I find it so dangerous and irresponsible, and there isn’t a think I can do about it. If the GOP treated PEOTUS Hillary this way, they would be cutting their throats, and I would be happy to hand them the razor.

                    Not your fault, and I shouldn’t take it out on you.

            • Another misrepresentation. The issue is officials announcing that they are BOYCOTTING the elected President. Not a single GOP official said they were boycotting Obama.

      • Christopher Henley

        Jack is fond of pointing out differences, and I don’t think it’s fair to hang the (admittedly unusual) accusations of illegitimacy only on the pop vote loss. Many, many people — including right-leaning Reaganites — are deeply disturbed by the Russian attempts to influence our election, about which we do not as yet have the full picture. It is an absolutely understandable position to believe that that cyber-espionage wasn’t determinative regarding outcome. But that is a judgment, not a demonstrable fact, and it is also an understandable position to question the fairness of the election, given this unprecedented attempt to put thumb to scale. I don’t think it’s fair to fling at Rep Lewis names like “ass” because his judgment is different to yours. Like it or not, agree with the analysis or not, this isn’t a simple case of questioning the legitimacy of a Pres who lost the pop vote.

        I am a partisan, and don’t claim impartiality. I want the country in control of a party that doesn’t deny climate science, that wants sensible gun safety laws, that strives for health care for more people, and that is a good steward of our economy. (Remember Clinton’s balanced budget? Notice how Obama surpassed all the economic markers that Romney threw down?) That doesn’t mean a blind eye to all transgressions. I wish we had had a less compromised candidate. (Though I also think gender played a really unfortunate role in the election.) I know Jack has called out both sides, and isn’t a Trump fan. But I think his center of gravity is to the right, and sometimes that is grating to a partisan of the left, such as moi. An example, to me, is when he dismisses Nazi analogies when it comes to the repeated Trump aversion to fact and habit of factual denial, but finds it appropriate when applied to one media over-reach. It irks me that Trump is greeted with “crude, but true” and Obama with a pillow thrown at the TV. Forgive me, all due respect, that’s a slant. Plus, he called me ethically illiterate, which proves that you can’t always count on an objective, balanced, fair, non-partisan appraisal from the keypad of Jack Marshall.

  2. Arthur in Maine

    Dude, you are on a roll.

  3. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Hayes was the president in the 1870s, Harrison was the poor guy who died 30 days into 1841.

    Pedantry aside, apparently John Lewis didn’t attend GWB’s inauguration in 2001 either, believing him also to be illegitimate, but his boycott earned little recognition at the time, maybe because the nation had had enough after a 30+day bruising political battle and Gore had publicly accepted the SCOTUS’ word as the final word. For whatever reason this time out, the left is just getting its second wind now.

  4. Did you read this?


    Under Alex Mohajer’s rationale, a court could have invalidated the 2012 election due to what Candy Crowley did.

    In fact, a lot of elections could be invalidated due to interference by the mainstream media.

  5. We’ve all herd hyped up political bull shit for years and regardless of historical facts, this is clearly a very different political ball game than any of us have seen in our lifetime.

    Listen carefully and you’ll hear what I’m hearing.

    There is genuine hate being intentionally ginned up for political purposes. Many in the public have completely succumbed to the hype and they’re literal pawns in a dangerous game of fabricating a faux Constitutional Crisis. This is a very dangerous game!

    There is lots of hyped up political posturing going on in DC right now by anti-Trump politicians and anti-Trump political figure-heads across the USA are ginning up the hate in their base, this is very concerning; but, right now I’m more concerned about the Trump Derangement Syndrome lunatics, like Rep. John Lewis, and what they are going to actually do on January 20th and thereafter. It’s the hyped up talk that turning into real physical actions that concerns me. There is genuinely violent potential brewing, the divisions are clear, the hate has been ginned up, the short fused lunatics have been stretched to the end of their leash, logic – ethics – and morals are all being tossed under the bus, Sicilian Ethics are at bay, and the boiling point is just around the corner.

    The stage has been set, the players are at places, the house lights have been dimmed, the audience is anxiously awaiting, the orchestra has begun the overture what happens when the curtain rises on Friday?

    Watch out folks, I think we’re in for a rough ride.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      I’m hoping it’s all a lot of talk that won’t result in much real action, and most of the idiots will clear out of the way as soon as the Secret Service or Capitol Police tell them to hit the bricks or risk arrest. Most hashtaggers have a lot of passion, but not much stomach for sitting in the back of a paddy wagon with no bathroom ziptied, then sitting in a cell with vagrants and petty criminals for hours while the paperwork gets processed. Mass riots are probably not what you’ll see.

      That said, watching Patriots Day this weekend made something else very clear: you don’t NEED mass riots to do a great deal of damage. The Tsarnaev brothers were two men with handguns and crude grenades, and their fight with the police in Watertown was incredibly destructive. Dzokhar Tsarnaev was one 19-year-old criminal on the loose after that fight, and he paralyzed a whole metro area for one day.

      There are a lot more than two hardcore types who might resort to violence among those going down to DC this Friday, I am sure, between the anarchists, the enviro-whackos, the BLM police assassin types, and others. Only a few need to get through before there are five or six Watertown-style gunfights with the police, with bullets flying everywhere, cars getting blown up, and probably buildings burning longer than normal because the area has to be cleared of danger before the firemen and EMTs can come in, followed by lockdowns and hundreds of police and soldiers in body armor with rifles searching everywhere.

      • dragin_dragon

        Generally, Steve, I agree with you, but there exists the possibility (slim, I admit) that D.C. violence will spread because they perpetrators will be seen as “getting away with it”. And, as I live in a community that seems to have more than it’s fair share of “furiners” (non-Texans) and outright crazies, I intend to have all of my weapons cleaned and available for use on Friday, including my broadsword.

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