At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson has it right when he argues that “elites” often seem more concerned about the “mellifluous” tone of leaders rather than their abuse of power. “Obama defies the Constitution but sounds ‘presidential,’” he writes, “Trump follows it but sounds like a loudmouth from Queens.”
But while Obama’s agreeable tone had plenty to do with his lack of media scrutiny, many largely justified, and even cheered, his abuses because they furthered progressive causes. But not only did liberals often ignore “the rule of law” when it was ideologically convenient, they now want the president to play by a set of rules that doesn’t even exist.
Partisans always tend to conflate their own policy preferences with “rule of law” — or “democracy” or “patriotism.” Even taking that tendency into consideration, the pervasive claim that Trump undermines law typically amounts to little more than questions of how he comports himself. Rarely, if ever, does it have anything to do with the Constitution.
Except for perhaps the Fourth and Fifth amendments, for too many liberals the Constitution is to be ignored unless it can be used as a cudgel against the right.