The NY Times, continuing in the tradition of giving equal opportunity to stupid arguments, published an op-ed by conservative Jack Goldsmith, who argues that prosecuting Trump would (further) delegitimize the Department of Justice for a part of the population, and set a precedent of presidents prosecuting their predecessors (Josh Marshall has a very polite rebuttal to Goldsmith, but that’s not what we do here, so go read him). We’ll deal with that in a moment, but I first want to describe Murc’s Law for those who haven’t heard the term.
Murc’s Law, first proposed by a commenter at Lawyers, Guns, and Money, can be described as:
the widespread assumption that only Democrats have any agency or causal influence over American politics.
We need a corollary to Murc’s Law along the lines of:
Only conservatives are allowed to believe U.S. government institutions are illegitimate, and liberals and progressives must always defend those institutions, no matter how horribly they behave or how much or often they fail in their basic functions.
As I wrote Monday, what is surreal about the latest Trump indictment is we all know he did it. We saw him do it, and a Congressional committee then investigated further, and hammered home the point. His guilt in any colloquial meaning of the word is beyond a reasonable doubt. The question unfortunately remains howeever, if our judicial system, including the Department of Justice, can convict someone–in particular, someone like Donald Trump–who attempted a coup against the United States.
It’s time for ‘reasonable’ people to understand that this trial and conviction need to happen and be successful or the entire judicial system, including the Justice Department, will have failed at a core function and would (and arguably should) be seen as illegitimate by much of the left (construed very broadly).
Yet, for some reason, the only people who matter when it comes to delegitimization of institutions are conservatives, not liberals and progressives.
That’s bullshit, and I don’t think most conservatives, including the (sort of) respectable ones like Goldsmith, have any idea what will happen if much of the left side of the aisle views government institutions as fundamentally flawed.