Heritage chief claims Democrats are illegitimate

The Heritage Foundation used to be a heavyweight conservative think tank.

That’s changing. In 2021, Kevin Roberts (photo, left) took it over, and he’s wrecking its reputation as a conservative ideas factory.

Roberts, an election denier, views Heritage’s role as “institutionalizing Trumpism” (see his bio here). Wikipedia labeled him an “academic” because he has a Ph.D. in history, but in fact he’s a shrill partisan.

Case in point: Roberts just wrote an op-ed titled, “Democrats have lost their moral legitimacy to rule; respond by shutting down Congress” (read it here). This is his grievance: “Democrats crossed the Rubicon with the wrongful conviction of former President Donald Trump.”

After repeating the standard Republican talking points that the case was “politically motivated” and the “court’s decision is further evidence that Democrats will stop at nothing to silence dissent and crush their political opponents,” he calls the prosecution of Trump “unlawful” and claims it “has left the republic in distress.”

I’m going to demolish him point-by-point, and this will be easy.

  1. In our system, legitimacy to rule comes from winning elections. Morality has nothing to do with it. (If it did, many Republicans couldn’t hold office.)
  2. Someone who backs Trump is in no position to lecture about morality.
  3. I’m guessing he doesn’t think the Jan. 6 rioters crossed a Rubicon.
  4. The Democrats in Washington D.C. had nothing to do with Trump’s conviction; it was a state case.
  5. Prosecutors’ motivations are immaterial; juries decide verdicts, based on the evidence and testimony presented to them.
  6. There’s no evidence this case was politically motivated; the Manhattan D.A. routinely prosecutes similar crimes.
  7. For somebody who’s silenced and crushed, Trump is remarkably noisy and active on the campaign trail.
  8. The only silencing was the judge ordering Trump to stop threatening him, his daughter, court employees, jurors, and witnesses.
  9. Courts — not armchair bloviators like Roberts — decide whether a prosecution is “unlawful.” Roberts isn’t even a lawyer, so his opinion on that subject is, being polite, uninformed.
  10. Trump was indicted by a grand jury of ordinary citizens, and convicted by a trial jury of ordinary citizens. By impugning the verdict, Roberts is impugning them.
  11. The MAGA mob is in distress at the outcome, but nobody else is; and they’re not the republic, they’re people trying to destroy the republic.

This is what Hillary Clinton was talking about when she referred to a “basket of deplorables.” Roberts, as (a) an election denier, (b) someone attacking the legal system and rule of law, and (c) calling for retaliation against a jury verdict, is acting like a Mafiosi and belongs in that basket.

This not intellectual or academic stuff. It’s not what “think tanks” do. Roberts is entitled to his opinions, but opinions aren’t facts, and under his leadership Heritage can’t honestly be called a think tank anymore.

I assume The Hill ran this angry screed to show us how far conservatives have fallen since the days of William F. Buckley. There’s nothing here to debate, it’s all b.s. If Roberts now represents their best and brightest, they have nothing left in the tank.

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