I know you’ve heard political pundits ask this question: What would the Republican response be if Barack Obama had been accused of doing what Donald Trump has been accused of doing?
Well, we all know the answer to that one. Congressional Republicans would go ballistic. They would be apoplectic. They would file articles of impeachment while the echoes of the allegations were still ringing in their ears.
However, the question by itself ignores what I believe is a necessary corollary question, which I haven’t heard anyone pose: How would congressional Democrats respond if President Obama were accused of the transgressions that have been alleged against Trump?
I realize the second question results in a more problematic and unclear answer than the first one. Indeed, the whole rhetorical exercise speaks directly to a supreme hypothetical question. Politicians say they don’t like answering hypothetical questions, and I do not blame them for that reticence.
This is my take only on it, so here goes.
I believe GOP acquiescence to Trump’s misbehavior is a symptom of slavish fealty to one man, the president. It also reveals a lack of seriousness among GOP politicians to the oath they took to defend the Constitution against such abuses. This relative silence underscores the chokehold that Trump has placed on the Republican Party.
It also might reveal that Democrats did not hold Trump’s immediate Democratic presidential predecessor in the same almost-holy regard as their Republican colleagues feel toward Donald Trump.
Thus, I harbor a good bit of hope that had Barack Obama had pressured a foreign government to dig up dirt on, say, Mitt Romney or even Donald Trump that more than a token number of congressional Democrats would be as appalled as they are today at the actions of a Republican president.
The stone-cold devotion of today’s Republican congressional caucus to the president stands as a violation of the oath they all took to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.