One of the recurrent questions in political discussions is whether there may be some points of principle that unite forces on the right and left who otherwise agree on very little. The focus is usually on core issues of civil liberties and the rule of law. The left may support a broad public commitment to providing health care for the public; the right may say it should all be determined by the market. But perhaps on these core issues there’s more agreement. Perhaps recognizing that is the due we should give to others we disagree with.
Recent events makes clear how baseless this assumption really is.
There may be a principled right that respects these foundational republican and democratic principles above more momentary ideological concerns. But they don’t exist in our current politics. Our example for today is the Freedom Caucus, the hard right House group with about 30 members. They drove John Boehner to distraction for years and finally drove him from office. They’re very hard right and they’re very effective.
Late last week the group’s two top leaders penned an oped calling on Jeff Sessions to step down as Attorney General because he hasn’t sufficiently defended Donald Trump or protected him from investigations into his Russia ties. From our write up …
Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) complain that the Russia probe has dominated headlines for the past year and that the focus on the probe has “frequently masked the substantial accomplishments of President Trump’s administration.” They also charge that there is still no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, questioning why the investigations into the matter have continued with few results.
This is of a piece with all their public statements on the Trump Russia probe: not just reflexive of President Trump but consistent attacks on judicial independence and the most basic elements of the rule of law. Partisanship compromises everyone to some degree. But they’ve been the most consistent force backing all the President’s moves that push in the direction of authoritarian government. In the event, this right – which is the only meaningful American right today – is consistently authoritarian and hostile to any checks on a rightwing President. It’s that simple. It’s not even really hypocrisy. It’s showing the true nature of what it is, which is authoritarian and anti-democratic.