There is a stark contrast between the media treatment accorded Democratic presidential aspirant Joe Biden and that accorded Republican President Donald Trump over what they did or did not say to high Ukrainian officials. Biden is getting a pass despite having bragged about doing what Trump is being excoriated for doing – though the latter has issued vehement denials.
For us, this is not merely primarily a matter of the truth of the allegations all around. However, what we think what matters as much as anything else are the growing Democratic calls for investigations of the claims against Trump, echoed in the media, and the virtual silence when it comes to Biden. Even though the fact that the anti-Trump allegations appear to be based upon a so-called “whistleblower” complaint lodged by a single federal employee against the president over what he may have said to a foreign leader.
Just imagine what this means. Think “floodgates.” As the Democrats and their amen corner in the media would have it, anyone can challenge a presidential action by merely claiming it violates this or that rule or law. On the other hand, no presumptive confidentiality routinely attaches to even presidential conversations with foreign officials.
We find this remarkable double standard unprecedented. But it is not the only example we have seen in recent weeks. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, continues to be severely criticized by Democrats over his having refused to allow the Senate to take up President Barack Obama’s nomination, in the final year of his presidency, of federal Judge Merrick Garland to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who had recently passed away. The accusation was and is that McConnell was anticipating the possible election of a Republican in 2016 who would then choose a successor to Scalia and was thus inappropriately driven by “politics.”
Fast forward to an interview Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave to NPR Radio two weeks ago. She was asked why she didn’t retire at age 84 in 2016 when she became ill and when Obama could have nominated her successor. Here is her response:
It has been suggested by more than one commentator, including some law professors, that I should have stepped down during President Obama’s second term. When that suggestion is made, I ask the question: Who do you think the president could nominate that could get through the Republican Senate that you would prefer to have on the court than me?”
McConnell was the highest-ranking Republican in 2016 and was widely denounced by Democrats and the media for acting as a political leader could be expected to act. On the other hand Ginsburg, a Bill Clinton appointee, made a purely political calculation and not one word of criticism has been heard.
And so it goes.