Originally posted on September 8, 2022.
The President of the United States took time over last weekend to continue to voice his animosity toward Trump supporters. If your instinct is to write this off as Joe’s way of rousing his party’s base as the midterm elections draw near, Daniel Henninger warns, think again. “It’s much more than that.”
This isn’t just Joe or a blowhard Senate majority leader’s pro forma raking of the other side. No matter how feckless one thinks the occupant of the White House is, an American head of state has extraordinary powers to intimidate, investigate and, if desired, prosecute. The power of this office is incomparable. It is a mistake not to take Mr. Biden’s MAGA speeches seriously, no matter how intemperate.
One of the most significant episodes in the use of state power to intimidate private citizens’ political behavior was the Internal Revenue Service’s investigation during Barack Obama’s first term of small tea-party groups, which organized around the goal of controlling federal spending. Some threat that was.
The IRS’s investigations of 501(c)(4) groups and delays in approving their tax status made a household name out of Lois Lerner, head of the agency’s tax-exempt groups unit. That federal offensive chilled the tea-party movement. With their just passed legislative “victory,” the Democrats and Mr. Biden are creating an army of IRS auditors.
Merrick Garland, Joe Biden’s AG, issued an “extraordinary order,” last October. Mr. Biden’s AG directed the FBI and U.S. attorneys to investigate “threats of violence” against school administrators and teachers. “The order was directly related to parent protests over racial and gender issues in school curriculums in Loudoun County, Va.,” Henninger continues in the WSJ.
Not Looking to Tangle with the FBI
Stating that his intention was not meant to be intimidating is also disingenuous. Henninger says it was a warning shot from AG Garland.
How many parents want to risk getting entangled with FBI agents or federal prosecutors?
Marginalizing the Opposition
Mr. Biden’s rants about restoring limits on political behavior would have a smidgen of respectability if he criticized any of his own, such as the mobs that paraded in front of the homes of all six Republican-nominated Supreme Court justices, an obvious attempt to influence them and thus a violation of federal law.
(Biden’s) attorney general did nothing, even after a man was arrested for allegedly trying to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In other words, the president was OK with this show of intimidation.
The siren song of using state power against opponents tempts all politicians, and that includes in a “democracy,” a word Mr. Biden invokes almost as often as MAGA. Mr. Biden achieved his goal of becoming president of the U.S. His MAGA speeches carry an undercurrent of threat inappropriate to his office. He should stop.
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