Attorney Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Donald Trump’s defence team, in the US Senate impeachment trial convinced the Republicans that presidents cannot be removed from office for an action they believe could help get them reelected. His actual words were :
“Every public official that I know believes that his election is in the public interest,” he said. “And if a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”
It’s much the same argument that Vladimir Putin uses to convince Russians that making him President for Life is in the public interest and thus must be a good thing for the country.
It’s not a new argument, it’s been used by dictators and demagogues through the centuries to sand down the rough edges of democracy and create an entirely new reality.
Sidenote : I looked up demagogue just to see what it actually means : a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument. How very appropriate in the prevailing political climate.
Scott Morrison’s political advisers have been watching events in the US with increasing interest and excitement and adapting Trumpisms to suit their arguments. They used it in the pork barrelling episode to convince us that, as they had decided it was in the nation’s interests to re-elect a coalition government then, it followed that marginal seats needed to be Bolstered – a marginal seat evidently is one where female athletes get changed behind the bike-shed and thus they need a new swimming pool – simple as that as Morrison has been patiently explaining to perplexed journalists
The nub of this argument flows from the initial in principle decision : to get yourself or your spouse elected. Thus, when Angus Taylor fed into the media arena spurious information about massive travel overspending by Sydney City Council and its mayor Clover Moore, it didn’t matter that the information had been manufactured and forged documents used to support it. What did matter was that you inflict maximum damage on the SCC and its mayor so that your Missus gets a clear run to take over at the next local council election : i.e. it’s in the public interest.
Incidentally gobbledygook is defined as : language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of technical terms. When I read that, I immediately thought of Josh Frydenberg who talks constantly of paying down Labors debt legacy having himself presided over an increase in government debt by some 250% since coming to office.
Abraham Lincoln, in the Gettysburg Address, had a slightly different approach when it came to his understanding of what democracy meant. He suggested that a governing principle should be government of the people, by the people, for the people.
But, hey isn’t that socialism ? That’s your starting point to blow-up the whole system – just ask Barnaby.
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