What would Democrats do?
Imagine for a moment that America survives the nearly inevitable impending constitutional crisis. Imagine we make it through the Trump administration, that we can somehow manage to restore the critical norms of our culture, and that somehow our country can work through the almost unimaginable polarization of our politics.
The question on my mind right now is this: what would Democrats do?
Let's back up for a minute. Let's talk about Bob Mueller.
Mueller is an American hero. Originally appointed by President George W. Bush, then asked to stick around for an additional two years past his 10 year term by President Obama, he presided over the FBI for over ten years. In that role, he stood up against warrantless wiretapping and against the so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques employed in the Bush-era CIA. He also was at the helm of the FBI when terrorists struck on 9/11/2001.
But before all that, he was an America hero as a U.S. marine. He served multiple tours overseas in the Vietnam War. He received a laundry list of awards and medals; here's the full list from wikipedia: "the Bronze Star Medal with Combat 'V', Purple Heart Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat 'V', Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three ⁄16" bronze stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Parachutist Badge." There is a widely circulated story about Mueller, while leading a platoon in Vietnam, getting shot by an AK-47 and holding his position until the rescue mission he was leading was successful -- then returning to Vietnam a month later.
All of that without even mentioning his time as a public servant in the DOJ and as a federal prosecutor. The point is pretty clear: Mueller is a great man with a distinguished career. And on top of all that, he's a Republican, appointed to lead the FBI by a Republican, and appointed to be special counsel by a Republican administration.
Given all that, it's truly a remarkable thing to watch the right wing, including elected officials in the federal government, not just cast doubt on Mueller's motivations and intentions, but even calling for his resignation and firing. It's shameful, it's undemocratic, and it's further evidence of the weakening value of truth in our democracy.
If it continues, and I can't imagine that it won't, and if Mueller is fired, we will be face to face with a Saturday Night Massacre-style constitutional crisis. I'm truly scared about what will happen in that moment, and even more frightened of what will come after.
There are zero legitimate reasons to doubt Bob Mueller's qualifications, legitimacy, or commitment to the United States of America. He is a patriot. That's probably why he was nearly universally praised when originally selected as special counsel. But because his pursuit of the truth is inconvenient to the aims and self interest of the Republican party and conservative movement, he was turned on. No doubt they will throw him under the bus as a small price to pay, collateral damage, in the pursuit of self-preservation.
Which brings me back to my original question: what would Democrats do? If we elected a demagogue, a genuinely bad person who agreed with our positions and actually won the election, would we resist the temptations to prop him up? Would we support independent investigations? Would we put country over party?
I sure hope so.