"Partisan immunity" is my term for the practice within the American two-party system of politicians evading or attempting to avoid accountability for questionable conduct by claiming that any demand for accountability is politically motivated for partisan advantage.From September 2009:
Partisan hypocrisy is a key component of the more pernicious concept of partisan immunity. Partisan immunity is claimed by those who claim that their actions are being prosecuted for political or partisan reasons alone. An inevitable element of that argument is the claim, implicit or not, that the partisan prosecutors are hypocrites who would have done the same things had they been in power. Once these claims are made, the objective injustice of the act in question becomes irrelevant.Last week, while speaking about Republican opposition to the Obama administration's illegal war in Libya, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted outright that partisan hypocrisy is in fact an integral facet of Republican-Democrat party politics. Althouse has McConnell's quote in full:
McConnell: I’m not sure that these kind of differences might not have been there in a more latent form when you had a Republican president. But I do think there is more of a tendency to pull together when the guy in the White House is on your side. So I think some of these views were probably held by some of my members even in the previous administration, but party loyalty tended to mute them. So yeah, I think there are clearly differences and I think a lot of our members, not having a Republican in the White House, feel more free to express their reservations which might have been somewhat muted during the previous administration.At Divided We Stand, the Dividist puts McConnell's statement in its proper duopolist context:
[McConnell's] comment is being trumpeted on the left as prima facie evidence of the venal, party-first, hypocritical nature of many congressional Republicans. This is, of course, completely true, as that is indeed their nature. The irony is that the Democrats making that point fail to note that many congressional Democrats are behaving exactly as McConnell notes on exactly the same issue.So, when a Republican president commits high crimes and misdemeanors, party loyalty prevents Republicans from holding that president accountable; and when a Democratic president commits high crimes and misdemeanors, party loyalty prevents Democrats from holding that president accountable. Is it any wonder that presidents are so rarely held accountable for their crimes? The Dividist concludes, appropriately, with a call for divided government:
The need for a check on the President and to ensure that our constitutional checks and balances function as intended justifies a divided government voting heuristic - always voting to maintain a divided government state at the federal level. Always.Unfortunately, however, government divided between the Democrats and Republicans does not ensure constitutional checks and balances. On the contrary, government divided between the Democrats and Republicans is the primary means by which the ruling political class systematically avoids political accountability. Indeed, it provides them with an ideological shield behind which they wage their outright war on constitutional, democratic-republican government. Divided government between Democrats and Republicans means never having to take responsibility, for they will always claim partisan hypocrisy and partisan immunity.
As in the past, I will see the Dividist's call for divided government and raise him one. Government divided between Democrats and Republicans is not divided government at all: the ruling parties work in concert to subvert our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If Democrats and Republicans refuse to hold a president accountable for his crimes when he is a member of their own party, then the only way to ensure full accountability in the executive branch is to elect a third party or Independent president.