by Bob Barr
As recounted by Lewis Carroll in his timeless parody “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Alice discovers her surroundings to be “curiouser and curiouser.” In many ways, the fictitious world conjured by Carroll more than a century and a half ago aptly describes the state of affairs in our nation’s capital after only the first weeks of the Biden Administration.
The speed with which the new administration and its Democrat cohorts in both houses of the Congress are undermining substantive historic and common-sense norms of behavior and law, is deeply disturbing.
For nearly two months now, since the violence on Capitol Hill in early January, Washington, D.C., has been turned into an armed compound. Thousands of armed military personnel patrol its streets, and miles of razor wire and metal fencing encircle the Capitol building itself and several blocks in every direction. This militarization of the Capitol, clearly with the approval of the president himself, is not only unprecedented but pointless from a substantive security standpoint, insofar as no threat as might come close to warrant such massive response has been cited and no evidence in support thereof has been produced.
But what has been happening inside that secured perimeter is stranger still.
Just last week, for example, Merrick Garland, nominated by Biden to serve as the next attorney general of the United States, stated with quite a straight face that he simply was unable to decide whether the act of entering our country illegally should remain an unlawful act. Other matters clearly appropriate on which a nominee for this high office would have views, confounded him as well.
At the very same confirmation hearing at which he could not state with certainty whether an illegal act should remain an illegal act, Garland declared that during his past 24 years as a federal judge leading to his being on the threshold of becoming our country’s 86th attorney general, he had never given sufficient thought to whether federal law would protect biological female athletes against unfair competition by male athletes who declare themselves to be “female.” Hmmmm.
Members of Congress seem to share the attorney general nominee’s unfamiliarity with or disdain for fundamental principles of fairness and the plain language in the Constitution. For example, last week two Democrat House members, both from California, sent letters to all major cable, satellite and streaming video providers demanding to know why those providers were continuing to carry conservative-oriented news outlets. The principle that the First Amendment to the Constitution protects recipients of those demand letters against just such congressional interference, obviously was alien to at least this pair of lawmakers.
Earlier last month, Democrats in both Houses of Congress introduced legislation to give $300 million of taxpayer dollars to a federal agency that was established three-quarters of a century ago to combat malaria in the southern part of our country – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These most recent funds, however, would be directed to CDC not for combatting malaria, or any disease for that matter, but to study and implement gun control. Curiouser and curiouser, indeed.
Of course, any meaningful correlation between a federal bureaucracy’s mission and congressional appropriations hardly remains anywhere in the federal government. The nearly two trillion dollar “COVID Relief” bill passed last week by the House confirms this reality with an exclamation mark. Most of the massive spending in the pandemic “relief” legislation is directed to programs and priorities that have no relationship at all with fighting the pandemic that continues to infect hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
However, in what has to be the clearest evidence Democrats in Congress have lost whatever touch they might previously have had with an understanding of and respect for historical constitutional and legal norms, on Feb. 22 (three days before Biden sent cruise missiles blasting into Syria), more than 30 House members publicly recommended that the decision whether the United States should respond in the future to a nuclear attack in kind no longer should be made by the president as commander-in-chief, but rather by a committee! On that score, even Alice likely would be perplexed; our adversaries in the real world certainly would be.
Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.