Of course the same Democrats blasting President Trump for referring to his impending impeachment as a "lynching" used the same term to describe the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Of course they did. But the way they instantly changed standards of decency to weaponize the word "lynching" is far more despicable than their obvious hypocrisy.
Like "witch hunt," the phrase "political lynching" has been a cliche used for decades to describe the unfair persecution of political enemies. Never before was it decried as being racist or even racially insensitive in nature...until precisely 7:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time on October 22, 2019, when President Trump tweeted it out.
John Kerry wasn't called a racist in 1994 when he described "a very unfortunate process of verbal lynching."
Four years later, "political lynching" became a common refrain among Democrats disgusted by Republican efforts to impeach President Bill Clinton. As The Washington Post reported:
On three occasions in 1998, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who now chairs the committee that would consider articles of impeachment against Trump, called the impeachment process against Clinton a “lynch mob.”
“We shouldn’t participate in a lynch mob against the president,” Nadler told Newsday on Sept. 13, 1998.
Five days later, Nadler said he saw “no evidence that the Republicans want to do anything other than organize a lynch mob,” according to the South China Morning Post.
And on Oct. 4, 1998, Nadler told the Associated Press that Republicans were “running a lynch mob” against Clinton.
Future Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described Independent Counsel Robert Ray as a "lynch mob...leader, one who is willing to prejudge the facts and unbalance the law."
"This day feels to me like we’ve taken a step down the road to becoming a political lynch mob," agreed Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott. "We’re in so much hurry to get this done so it can be in the Saturday-Sunday news cycle and have our mint juleps at five o’clock. We are going to find a rope, find a tree, and ask a bunch of questions later. It will be too late for fairness."
Naturally, no one condemned either Reid or McDermott--who are both white--as racists for using the term "lynch mob."
Rather despicably, though, Democrats today have condemned President Trump as a racist for using the term "lynching" when they themselves used the exact same phrase in the exact same context during the impeachment of President Clinton.
"I don’t expect Trump to be sensitive to the weight of that word, or see how insulting and hurtful it is to invoke it here," New York Democrat Gregory Meeks tweeted on Tuesday. "I do expect Republicans to not even dare defend this language."
On the floor of the House in 1998, though, he didn't think it was insulting or hurtful to compare Republican treatment of Clinton to a lynching.
"My votes are a protest against an unfair process," he explained. "The inequities in the impeachment process have been glaring. The Republicans started with Whitewater, they found nothing. Ken Starr then went to Travelgate. He found nothing. He looked at Filegate. He never released documents, in fact, he made no effort to publicly admit to the lack of evidence against the President.
"Instead, he developed relationships with the Jones’ legal team and withheld information from the Justice Department rather than disclosing the bias, his bias to the proper parties. What we are doing, what we’re doing here is not a prosecution, it’s a persecution. And indeed, it is a political lynching."
How did he explain this obvious hypocrisy? As he told CNN Wednesday, because he can say words that President Trump can't. Seriously.
"If you come from my persuasion," he said, "my parents came from the South. Those were individuals that would have been victimized and threatened by lynching. I can say certain words that an individual such as Donald Trump--who has a history of associating himself with references to the Charlottesville people that he talked about who were good people who would have lynched my folks, when you talk about the discrimination of his company in New York, when you talk about the creator of the birther movement--no, he cannot say the same things that I say because he keeps catering to the ugliest people of our society and the context of the word is completely different when it comes out of his mouth than when it comes out of mine."
In other words, because Meeks believes Trump is a racist, Trump is imbuing with his racism an otherwise acceptable phrase. The very notion that Meeks gets to decide which words people can use based upon who his parents were (and that they might have been threatened with lynching at some point even though they weren't) is laughable on its face.
But such is the way Democrats have had to logically contort themselves to claim that a term they have used regularly is now racially insensitive when President Trump uses it.
Illinois Democrat Danny Davis, in a now-deleted tweet from Tuesday, said of President Trump's use of the term "lynching:" “The highest officeholder should think about these words. The rural south where I was born has a tarnished and painful history.”
Why did Davis appear to delete that tweet? Probably because it was pointed out to him that he referred to Clinton's impeachment as a lynching.
"I will not disregard the people who elected me," he said on the House floor in 1998. "70 percent of them have said to me, ‘Protect the president. Vote to keep this president in office.’ So I will not vote for this nightmare before Christmas. I will not vote for this lynching in the people’s house."
On Tuesday, presidential candidate Joe Biden expressed his disdain for Trump's use of the term, tweeting: "Impeachment is not 'lynching,' it is part of our Constitution. Our country has a dark, shameful history with lynching, and to even think about making this comparison is abhorrent. It's despicable."
Within just a couple of hours, though, Biden had to apologize after a clip of him using the phrase "partisan lynching" to describe the Clinton impeachment surfaced.
"This wasn’t the right word to use and I’m sorry about that," he tweeted. "Trump on the other hand chose his words deliberately today in his use of the word lynching and continues to stoke racial divides in this country daily."
Biden, you see, was merely careless with his words, but those words weren't racist because Biden can't possibly be a racist. Trump's use of the identical word in the identical context, though, is racist because Biden believes Trump to be a racist.
When politicians like Biden and Meeks are allowed to instantly change the standards of acceptable political discourse so that they can weaponize language that they themselves have used against their political enemies, then those standards of discourse have lost all meaning. When a common cliche becomes unacceptable the instant Trump says it and, when called on their own use of the identical phrase in an identical context, Democrats are allowed to say "Well, it's not racist when I say it because I'm not racist like Trump," then society accepts the premise that Democrats should be allowed to govern the English language itself.
If they are, it should then be expected that they would weaponize language against their political enemies, and cry "whataboutism!" whenever anyone points out their blatant hypocrisy. That hypocrisy is one thing, however, their disgusting attempt at instantly manipulating standards to suit their racial demagoguery is quite another.
It's nothing short of, well, a political lynching.