We commenced this series and pursued its theme to draw attention to Senator Dick Durbin’s letter to 300 supporters of the American Legislative Exchange Council. A copy of one such letter (to our friends at the Center of the American Experiment in Minneapolis) is posted online here. The letter is a none too subtle instrument of intimidation in the Democrats’ misuse of the Zimmerman case for ulterior political purposes.
The letter has elicited some strong responses from its recipients. See the letters to Durbin posted by Cato’s John Allison here and by the Center of the American Experiment’s Mitch Pearlstein/Kim Crockett here.
The letter has also elicited the editorial opposition of the Chicago Tribune (“Durbin’s enemies list”) and the Wall Street Journal (“Durbin wants a list,” unfortunately behind the Journal’s subscription paywall). See also the post by Cato’s Ilya Shapiro (“Cato makes Dick Durbin’s enemies list”) and the concise condemnation posted by Bradley Smith (“Dick Durbin doesn’t understand who is serving whom”). The editorial commentary evokes the shades of Richard Nixon and Joe McCarthy, but they lacked the complicity of the mainstream media.
Durbin has responded, perhaps most notably with the column published by the Chicago Tribune here (“Durbin stands his ground”). Durbin’s column is at once inane and disingenuous, something akin to a New York Times editorial for dummies. Like Times editorials, it ought to come with a warning that reading it may kill brain cells. I would add that Durbin’s column is stupid, but Durbin is worse than stupid and, more precisely, his column counts on, and seeks to exploit, the stupidity of readers who don’t know any better.
His letter demonstrates that Durbin is a bully and a thug. In the era of Gangster Government brought to us by Barack Obama and named by the prescient Michael Barone, Dick Durbin is the capo.
If Dick Durbin were a Republican, his letter would be big news. We would hear a lot about it. It would be a political scandal of the page-one variety. But he is a Democrat and the Assistant Majority Leader in the United States Senate. So what else is new? One has to be something of a news junkie or political obsessive either to know about it or have any idea what he is up to. The Chicago Tribune’s editorial opposition to Durbin’s thuggery is nevertheless in the best tradition of a free press and deserving of special note in this context.