Teri Kanefield @Teri_Kanefield Author, lawyer (U.C. Berkeley). An idealist who believes the American Experiment will succeed. I tweet about the law, books, politics, and history. Sep. 21, 2018 3 min read

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Joe Walsh wants to know what happened to the GOP.

He doesn’t understand how the “Law and Order” GOP morphed into the attack-the-FBI & obstruct justice GOP.


🙋‍♀️I can explain. The problem is how he’s defining Law and Order.

1/ Remember Watergate? Iran-Contra? Nixon’s obstruction of justice? Scooter Libby’s perjury?

GOP leadership has a history of disregarding laws.

Conservatives also never liked the idea of regulating banks and industry.
They were never the party of Mortgage Broker Law and Order.

2/ So what kind of Law and Order did the GOP embrace?

According to this law review article, Nixon and Reagan’s Tough on Crime policy was a “backlash against the Civil Rights Movement."
 https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1014&context=bjalp 

3/ Nixon and others saw the Civil Rights and Women’s Movement as a time of chaos and disruption. All those protests! Those hippies smoking pot! Black people demanding compensation for centuries of injustice!

4/“The whole problem is really the blacks,” said Haldeman. “The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while appearing not to.”

Nixon figured out that urban blacks & liberal college students used the same drugs, and hit on a way to target both groups: Tough drug laws.

5/ Alcohol, the drug of choice of older whites, remained legal.

Nixon and Reagan cracked down on all kinds of crime—but not white collar crime. Prison sentences got longer as a deterrent. People convicted were stripped of their voting rights.

6/ Nixon and Reagan’s Tough on Crime policies resulted in “an explosion in the US incarceration rates. . .”👇
 https://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1014&context=bjalp 
States toughed their laws as well.

Poor people were incarcerated at higher rate than wealthy whites:
 https://www.naacp.org/criminal-justice-fact-sheet/ 

7/ For Nixon—and others—Law and Order meant putting blacks in jail.

For blacks, Law and Order meant equal treatment and being afforded due process of law, and not being the victim of harassment, discrimination, and worse.

8/ For women, Law and Order meant equal treatment, and not being subject to sexual harassment and rape, etc.

Today’s GOP embraces embraces an ideology that rejects restrictions on wealthy ["elite"] males.

(Don’t believe me? Check out what’s happening right now in the Senate.)

9/ Another example of differing views of Law and Order,

In Russia, libel is a crime. Bad-mouth Putin, and you can go to jail.

For Trump this means Law and Order.

OTOH, Putin orders his enemies poisoned.

The liberal view: In Russia, the criminals are running the government.

10/ Notice that all those crimes the GOP is breaking are white collar crimes and crimes that restrict the absolute freedom of wealthy men: laws against sexual harassment, money laundering, tax evasion, insider trading, campaign finance laws, etc.
 https://www.fbi.gov/about/faqs/what-is-white-collar-crime-and-how-is-the-fbi-combating-it 

11/The real problem people like Joe Walsh are facing is that the Republican Party has been taken over by authoritarians.
The GOP is no longer a conservative party.

(What do I mean? See 👇
)

11/ Conservatives who're uncomfortable with authoritarianism have left the GOP.


Today’s GOP results from Gingrich’s 1994 claim that "ideological purity" means “no compromise” and "pursuit of victory by any means necessary”—a clear call to abandon norms.

12/ It's an easy leap from Gingrich’s “any means necessary” to accepting help in an election from the Russians.

Now that Trump & members of the GOP have taken help from the Russians, you have a situation.

(Yes, they DID 👇 )

13/ The situation: The GOP can either obstruct justice, or get caught.

Getting caught means losing power.

Pursuing victory by any means therefore requires obstructing justice.

And with the FBI unraveling the case, victory-at-any-cost also requires discrediting the FBI.

14/ So here we are.

It seems to me a natural step from Nixon’s brand of Law and Order to Trump and other members of the GOP doing all they can to shut down and discredit the Mueller probe and the FBI.

The goal of the Trump-GOP? Embrace Putin's brand of Law and Order.


You can follow @Teri_Kanefield.



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