False Equations

One of the traits common to politics today, but especially to the Party of No, otherwise misnamed as the Republican Party, is a continuing failure to understand and acknowledge context and factual accuracy, and to equate minor transgressions with major criminal offenses.

Donald Trump knowingly and willfully transported thousands of official documents from the White House, of which more than three hundred were classified, many highly classified. He insisted, contrary to established law, that they were his. He claimed, falsely, that he could and had declassified them. After months and months of attempting to reclaim them, with Trump’s attorneys falsely claiming that all documents had been returned, the Justice Department executed a search warrant and discovered even more documents.

To date, a few handfuls of classified documents, if that, dating from Biden’s time as Vice President have been found in an office he used after leaving the Vice Presidency and in his home. These were turned over to the archives and later to the Justice Department. Biden didn’t claim they belonged to him and has cooperated fully.

Trump did not and still hasn’t, yet the Republicans and many of the media are equating the situations as roughly equal.

They’re anything but equal.

Once upon a time, I was staff director for a Congressman, and even with a staff of twelve or so, the amount of paperwork was staggering. Now, admittedly, we handled no classified documents in the office, although I did have a security clearance. The Executive Office employs roughly 1,800 employees, with slightly less than five hundred directly under the White House chief of staff, and the paper flow to the President and the Vice President is staggering.

Even under the best of circumstances, with that much paperwork, it’s practically impossible to absolutely assure that a document here and there doesn’t get filed in the wrong place or sticks to another file and ends up misplaced, particularly during a transition period or when leaving office. That’s a far different kettle of fish, as the saying goes, from the deliberate and willful theft of thousands of documents.

In addition, the Republicans are asking for “visitor logs” of people who visited Biden’s private residence, despite the fact that such logs don’t exist for private residences and have never been required – and that such a request was never even suggested for Donald Trump. But then, Trump ended the policy of visitor logs to the White House, which Biden restored. So the Republicans are demanding of Biden what they didn’t of Trump, compounding their intellectual and political dishonesty, not to mention emphasizing their hypocrisy.

There’s a huge difference between the situations, but what can you expect from a political party that denies election results and is indebted to Trump?

As for the media… as usual, they’re in it for the headlines, and accuracy is either an afterthought or irrelevant, especially for conservative media.

7 thoughts on “False Equations”

  1. Bill says:

    At times I wonder if the Biden team isn’t using this to highlight the former president’s problems. Every time the topic of classified documents comes up the extent of the former president’s involvement and the seriousness of it comes up. The Republican house leaders keep walking into a problem where if they push on Biden then have to admit Trump is a problem. Now that won’t stop them from excusing Trump but to the independents it is clear that a vote for a Republican house member is a vote for Trump.

    Because of the polarization of the country, the independents determine the outcome of the elections. Every time the Republicans are tied to Trump, they lose. Their base likes it, but the base isn’t going to grow unless they show some progress. Trump walks into the trap every time it comes up. He can’t contain himself. More and more people will stop listening to him.

    The conservative news does the same thing just the like the outrage they keep having over whatever marketing event M&Ms does. The conversative media gives them all this free press which then causes the talk show hosts and other media outlets to cover the issue. M&Ms get more free press. I have seen conservative posts calling for buying up the “all girl” purple bags and destroying them. While M&M would prefer people to eat them, they will be happy if they sell out regardless of how they are used.

  2. KevinJ says:

    “So the Republicans are demanding of Biden what they didn’t of Trump, compounding their intellectual and political dishonesty, not to mention emphasizing their hypocrisy.”

    When the only goal is power, what price truth?

  3. Dan says:

    Trump’s misshandling of documents, is as he often is, belligerent and dishonest. The worst part about Bidens is this… There was no hounding of him to return missing documents despite it being 6 years… Trump had lawyers baying at his door within months. Seems like there has a failure within the accountability dept that they didn’t even notice that they weren’t returned. Less Biden’s problem and more a question of how did they go unaccounted for that long

    1. I suspect the documents found in Biden’s house and post-vice-presidential office were comparatively insignificant, so much so that Biden didn’t even know there were there, which is something the media clearly doesn’t understand.

    2. Grey says:

      From Biden, Trump and yes, Hillary’s emails, it seems like this stuff accumulates around presidents and senior officials like the inside of a trash can used for years without a liner. It also seems like it’s unclear what’s actually classified when they find it – the markings don’t magically disappear off a pro out when some box in checked in DC. That may be why the ‘intent’ aspect of the potential charges is so high.

      Of course, Biden’s stuff was found by his people and disclosed to the feds, whereas Trump seems to have been creating some sort of National Enquirer -type dossier of the good stuff (apparently everything from the French president’s sex habits to nuclear secrets), and told the National Archives to shove it when they came looking, and so may be in deep doo-doo.

      It’s easy to question if Biden was being well-served by his legal team that has been dribbling this stuff out rather than turning everyplace he owns upside down over a weekend after the first file was found. The politics optics seem obvious. He has a couple of houses and an office – it couldn’t possibly take that long to search. (I’m a corporate defense attorney; it’s not like they had to toss a business park or go through 15,000 dusty bankers boxes in an archive.)

      1. Grey says:

        No doubt prompted by the traction my post is getting, the Biden team has helped the Washington Post create an extensive rundown of what has been happening over the last few months with this. It’s an interesting read.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/18/biden-strategy-classified-documents-backfired/

  4. Daze says:

    Reminds me of an earlier false equivalence between some nitpicking over the wording of the citation on John Kerry’s Purple Hearts vs George W Bush’s complete falsification of his service record.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *