January 16, 2017
Charles Schumer and the “Dog-Whistle” Democrats
In a recent interview with Rachel Maddow on the MSNBC network, Sen. Charles Schumer, who is the Minority Leader in the U.S. Senate, recently hinted darkly that the federal intelligence agencies could decide to harm Donald Trump. He told an approving Maddow:
Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you, So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this.
The article continues:
Schumer said he didn’t know what agents would or could do to Trump. “But from what I am told, they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them,” he said.
The Left often likes to speak of “dog whistles” put out by Republicans when they speak, leftists claiming what is said seems to have one meaning, but actually, is said in order to “signal” other groups covertly about what the politician really believes about a certain subject. For example, if a Republican politician says he believes in “states’ rights,” or a federal system of government in which individual states have delegated powers not given to the federal government, the Left claims he actually is letting white supremacists know that he supports oppression of black people and wants whites to lynch blacks. It doesn’t matter that a federal system which gives state governmental bodies the opportunity to resist federal policies is a bulwark against tyranny. To oppose the federal government is to endorse racist violence, period, according to the Left.
Except when Democrats look to resisting the federal government. Interestingly, the Left is silent now that California and other Democratic-run states are looking to resist federal policies, California having gone as far as to hiring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to lead the state’s legal resistance. The irony of Democrats now appealing to “states’ rights” is thick, to say the least.
(I would add that neither party actually looks to “states’ rights” out of principle, but rather appeals to the doctrine as a way of holding onto their own power. For example, Republicans seem eager to enforce the federal prohibition of marijuana against states where pot is legal, clearly ignoring any principles of federalism.)
The Left claims that an appeal to “states’ rights” is a “dog whistle,” something that only certain people can hear and understand the actual meaning of the statement. However, it seems that Democrats now are putting out “dog whistles” of their own. As I see it, Schumer put out a “dog whistle” with his statements to Maddow, calling for the CIA at least to politically harm Donald Trump, if not to assassinate him.
First, and most important, Schumer was endorsing the intelligence agencies like the CIA and the NSA as “shadow governments” of this country. If he did not approve of such “shadow government” activities, it seems he would have stated his opposition emphatically. Notice that he did NOT say: “Trump has decided to take on the intelligence agencies and, in turn, they are going to try to undermine him. While I do not support Trump, nonetheless, I believe the intelligence agencies are under the authority of the President and Congress and I will not stand for those agencies to subvert our constitutional system of government.”
Instead, his comments – and the look on his face when he makes them – demonstrate that he approves of whatever the CIA and NSA might do to Trump. He is not signaling alarm at the behavior of agencies that supposedly are under authority; instead, he seems to relish the prospects of the secret police doing away with the Democrats’ political opposition.
Second – and I believe this to be significant – not one prominent Democrat from President Obama on down to members of Congress (and the media) has condemned Schumer’s remarks. We are speaking of the same Democratic Party whose member Sen. Frank Church led hearings in the mid-1970s into misconduct by U.S. intelligence agencies during the Cold War. Forty years ago, Democrats wanted to limit the lawlessness of the spy agencies; today, they wish to unleash them against an incoming president.
It is not hyperbole to say we are entering dangerous times, and Schumer’s statements to an approving journalist are only part of the peril. Not only do we have the government’s highest-ranking Democrat “dog whistling” the CIA to kill the incoming president, but a number of protest groups that are tied to the Democratic Party have sworn to violently shut down Trump’s scheduled inauguration January 20.
There is no doubt that as these groups attack the various security checkpoints (as they say they will be doing) that they will come into contact with Trump supporters, and one has no doubt they will do what they can to spring a reaction from people who actually are present to attend the inauguration itself. If they can start fights and if even just one of the Trump supporters fights back, then the activists will film the confrontation and the media will cover the whole thing under the narrative of “Violent Trump supporters attack peaceful demonstrators.”
Then there is the recent call by prominent Hollywood Democrat Rosie O’Donnell for President Obama to impose martial law in order to prevent Trump’s inauguration. Granted, there are plenty of us who think that O’Donnell doesn’t always play with a full deck, but it still is significant because she does have an audience and a lot of supporters in the Democratic Party. Again, I have read nothing in opposition to her demands from any other Democrats, prominent or otherwise.
With Democrats like John Lewis openly claiming that Trump was elected illegitimately and with the Democratic Party endorsing what clearly seems to be a bogus report on Donald Trump’s supposed sexcapades in Moscow, we are moving into new territory. Now, there is nothing wrong with political resistance, and one wishes there were more of it in Washington, at least when it comes to one party resisting harmful legislative and policy initiatives from the other. However, what we are seeing is something different; the Democrats are out of power and they are seeking help from the spy agencies to regain it, not to mention openly endorsing violent demonstrations against someone duly elected to office.
Even a month ago, I would not have believed what I am about to write: The Democrats are looking to the CIA and NSA either to kill Trump outright or to use their surveillance powers as well as their abilities to create false stories in order to destroy the Trump presidency. For that matter, the Democrat in office, Barack Obama, greatly expanded the power of the spy agencies to engage in illegal espionage at home and abroad, yet Democrats claimed that anyone that opposed unlawful spying was a racist, since Obama is black. Democrats are endorsing violence to shut down the presidential inauguration, and at least some want Obama to impose martial law, which would mean they want a Democrat president to be an outright dictator. Yes, that puts me into uncharted territory well beyond any of my intellectual comfort zones.
Yet, it is not necessarily an overly-suspicious mind that put me there, but rather unnerving statements from elected Democrats, as well as their lack of opposition to Schumer’s outrageous statements. Sen. Bob Casey from Pennsylvania recently declared that supporting due process for people accused on college campuses of sexual assault is a “radical view,” and Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado declared at a Congressional hearing in 2015 – to enthusiastic applause – that any male accused of sexual assault on a college campus should immediately be expelled from that institution.
Granted, we are talking about due process on college campuses, but it would not take long for the Democrats to find ways to do away with due process standards (or at least seriously weaken them) in criminal cases involving something as politically-charged as sexual assault. It is clear to me that Democrats no longer support rule of law in at least some circumstances, and since the party seems to be “jumping the shark” in other things as well, I don’t think we are going to see Democrats turn back anytime soon.
Whether or not one politically supports Donald Trump, once the opposition party openly supports violent removal of him, the game pretty much is over. The same political party that sought to limit the powers of the spy agencies now openly calls for a government to be dominated by what has become the secret police. Draw your own conclusions about where this will lead.
William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an associated scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He also is a consultant with American Economic Services. Visit his blog.