Parts of this bother me more than they should.
This part, especially:
This part, especially:
During the campaign Trump's rhetoric introduced the kind of threat -- that he would seek the prosecution of his opponent -- long deemed unworthy of an established democracy.
See... here's the thing. Two Republican prosecutors proclaimed that their professional experience allowed them to say that Hillary Clinton had engaged in criminal conduct. They were lying, of course.
The FBI was investigating the possible spread of classified information, because the FBI does counter-intelligence work. In addition, if they'd found that Hillary Clinton had deliberately shared information that she should not have, they might have recommended prosecution. There was never any evidence of any criminal wrongdoing against Hillary Clinton, which is, no doubt, why the Attorney General suggested it be referred to as a "matter" (which suggests that it's an attempt to learn more about a subject) rather than an "investigation" (which suggests criminal wrongdoing).
Had the Republicans been in any way honorable, they would have refused to countenance accusations of criminal behavior against an enemy, no matter how much they hated her. They didn't. (As one Republican tool suggested recently, had the GOP been in any way honorable, they also would have shut down questions about President Obama's birth certificate, but they didn't. Note that for all his whining now, he didn't take any action then - what a Flake!)
The Republicans have long been engaging in behavior unworthy of an established democracy. They've been investigating people for pure partisan advantage; they've used the levers of government power for pure partisan advantage; they'd been insinuating Hillary Clinton was guilty of criminal behavior since the 90s, though notably only when it provided them with an electoral advantage.
This isn't new. And it's not at all surprising that Trump realized that if Republicans will "go there", but cautiously, that fans of the GOP would like to see a fellow "go there" full of swagger and braggadocio. He took their quiet, nasty insinuations, and made it loud and far more public.
Republicans have been "going there" on warfare, too. Remember, for all the lies told to establish support for the war in Iraq, the GOP thought it was going to be a cakewalk. It wasn't, which just goes to prove that pointing a gun at people's collective heads and saying "You're free to do what we want you to!" is not the best way to bring about freedom. Go figure!
Fire and fury is, in fact, precisely the equivalent of "lock her up". It's the precise same message of the rest of the GOP, only, rather than whispered with secret giggles about how it must "piss off the libtards", it's being shouted from the rooftops, where it might piss off a dictator with atomic bombs and ICBMs.
The Republicans have asked for this, and have courted this, and now they have it: a person proclaiming loudly that it's America first, longing for the days "when we were strong", and "not taking no shit from nobody". It's a bit late for buyer's remorse, and all the backpedaling in the world can't stop Trump from a stupid decision that could cause irreparable harm. Still, I wonder if it will take "fire and fury" for the Republicans to realize they've gone too far. I sure hope not.