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How does he do it?

Yes, 'tis the president I have in mind. This week the honorable occupant of the Oval Office advanced a proposal for dealing with gun violence of such dubious constitutionality that even a staunch advocate of gun control such as I must take exception, and his ongoing treatment of Jeff Sessions is so abominable that I am compelled to speak up for the attorney general, a man for whom my regard is not of the highest order.

The president advocated that we take guns first and go through due process second when "savage sickos" and "insane monsters" come to the attention of the authorities. Whoa, Nelly, as inimitable sportscaster Keith Jackson used to bellow. There is not a doubt in my military mind that we should have stronger restrictions on who can buy what guns, how many and under what circumstances, and furthermore we should be talking about how to get some of the millions guns now "in the street" out of circulation. But take guns first, go through due process second? You can't just do that as a matter of course.

Suppose I report to the FBI or Homeland Security or Portland police that T-Bone is acting left of normal, I think he might shoot something up, you better take his guns. Okay, I exaggerate in a feeble attempt at gallows humor. At the least you must have some process for taking the guns without due process. Maybe it is expedited in circumstances that fall within defined parameters, immediate threat and the like, but you cannot just take the guns, however much I might desire to do precisely that.

My differences with Sessions are legion. He is extremist even by Republican standards on immigration, drugs, and mandatory minimum sentences, off the top of my head for starters. But not even Jeff Sessions should have to endure the humiliation and scorn that the president routinely heaps on him publicly and privately.

The skewering of individuals holding high public office is the province of pundits and self-styled intellectuals. We consider the source and take it with the proverbial pillar of salt. There is a qualitative difference when it comes from the president. Maybe I am not altogether consistent here, but it seems to me that it would be one thing for me to refer to the attorney general as Mr. Magoo and quite another when this is done by the head of the executive branch where he is an official, as is plausibly alleged (his repeated public belittling of Sessions is a matter of record). There is no bully pulpit at this White House, just a bully.

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