Elites Value Mellifluous Illegality over Crass Lawfulness

Elites Value Mellifluous Illegality over Crass Lawfulness, by Victor Davis Hanson.

Obama defies the Constitution but sounds ‘presidential.’ Trump follows it but sounds like a loudmouth from Queens. …

Call the Trump paradox “crass lawfulness.” What drives Trump’s critics nearly crazy is not any evidence that Trump has broken federal laws per se. Instead, their rub is that there are somehow no criminal statutes against a president boorishly acting “unpresidential” in his loud quest to supercharge the economy, while undoing the entire agenda of his predecessor, who was so dearly beloved by the media, universities, Hollywood, and identity-politics groups. …

As some sort of postmodern preacher, Obama often sermonized to Americans about the predetermined “arc of history” that purportedly bent all of us inescapably toward his own just moral version of the universe. In calm, ministerial tones, the progressive Obama sometimes slapped a puerile America’s wrists, with frequent admonitions to behave and to not act so illiberally. Or he frequently reminded us, with a frown, “that is not who we are.” …

The scandals of the ‘scandal-Free’ Obama administration:

Despite Obama’s recent projection that his eight-year tenure was “scandal-free,” along with the reality that the media’s biased compliance sought to make such a startling fantasy true, the Obama administration was in many respects lawless. It will eventually rank as the most scandal-ridden administration since Warren G. Harding’s. …

We are slowly appreciating over the last year that lying under oath was an Obama-administration requisite for a high position in the intelligence community. …

Why was the Obama administration so corrupt?

Three reasons stand out. One, it was the first administration in modern history in which the media saw its role as a subordinate and accomplice rather than an auditor; the media thereby empowered corruption. Two, it exuded a moral zealousness in its promise to fundamentally transform the country and enact social justice; any means of doing so were justified by its exalted ends. Three, like the John F. Kennedy administration, Obama and his team adroitly calculated that in America’s celebrity culture, what’s hip and cool is often more highly prized than what’s competent and lawful, much less crude and effective.

No one would suggest that Donald Trump obeys the law because he has an inherent respect for the Constitution and the nation’s ethical bearings, although that perhaps could prove to be so. Rather, Trump has not broken the law the way that Obama routinely did quite simply because he cannot. The media is so hostile to his every act, the popular culture has so frequently written him off as crude, and his critics, both progressive and conservative, have become so hysterical over his person, that he lives in a singular 24/7 bubble that faults him for everything from his choice of dessert to the manner in which his daughter holds her child.

hat-tip Charles