"Hell is other people"

All the Presidents’ Papers

It’s entertaining watching the Trump-hating Infotainment Media Complex strain themselves (and credulity) attempting to push the “Biden Good-Trump Bad” propaganda and explain why Biden’s mishandling is not criminal, while Trump’s is. So far, the only difference seems to be Trump got belligerent and told everybody to go to hell, while Biden’s lawyers contacted the National Archives.

That’s one way to look at it.

The press is monomaniacally repeating the trope that Biden’s team reported it as soon as they discovered the documents, overlooking the fact that federal law was violated in both cases. There is no legal way those government documents got to that box in Biden’s garage.

So, the press is essentially saying that both men robbed banks, but Trump is a criminal because he belligerently bellows from the parapets of Mar-a-Lago, while Team Biden immediately copped to their crimes. Both are still guilty.

Team Trump took the advice of the Secret Service and National Archives by upgrading storage security and Mar-a-Lago, and the Secret Service kept entry to the locked room under surveillance. This doesn’t seem to indicate criminal intent. Documents stuffed in a box in your home’s garage and comingled in envelopes of personal papers? Hmmm…

The Imperial Presidency

Neither president is going to jail for any of this, and I’m OK with that. What I would like to see come out of this is the chipping away at the Imperial Presidency. It is clear to all by now that a man doesn’t assume the presidency and start ordering around the federal bureaucracy. That can be good or bad. We have mechanisms and norms in place due to law and also custom, and they provide continuity regardless of who the president is.

Those laws include handling classified information, and they apply to all: Four star generals, cabinet secretaries, and yes, presidents. There should be no way a president can stroll off with classified documents without professional staffers telling them, “No, Mr. President, you can’t do that.”

We need to stop viewing our presidents as all-powerful giants, and when it comes to handling classified information–and even unclassified government records–a president cannot just do whatever the hell he pleases. He’s not a dictator, he’s not a king, he’s a man we elected to run the Executive Branch and represent us to the world. Let’s start treating him (and someday, her) as such.

What say you?


Honestly Podcast: Raw & Unclassified
The big problem with the Joe Biden documents story

The Daily Podcast: The Presidents and the Classified Documents

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