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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 partisan hack.

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, because he makes it so.

  1. In our system, legitimacy to rule comes from winning elections, and nowhere else. Morality has nothing to do with it.
  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 it; this was a state matter.
  5. Prosecutors’ motivations are immaterial; juries decide trial outcomes, 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 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 — decide whether a prosecution is “unlawful,” and Roberts isn’t even a lawyer, so his opinion on that subject isn’t worth a bucket of warm piss.
  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, 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 who attacks the legal system and rule of law, and (c) calls for retaliation because of what the jury decided, belongs in that basket.

There’s nothing intellectual or academic about this. Roberts is entitled to his opinions, but opinions aren’t facts, and some opinions are worth less than others. The opinions he expresses in this op-ed are worth nothing at all, except perhaps as MAGA feel-good.

I assume The Hill, a respectable journalism entity, ran his angry screed to show us just how far off base conservative leaders are these days. If this is the best that conservative intelligentsia can do, they’ve got a lot of repair work to do.

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