INDIANAPOLIS—There’s a good test to determine if partisan bias clouds your thinking.

John Krull mug

John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.com

That test involves asking how you would feel if the other side did what you’re defending.

I hear many people justifying conduct by their candidate or their party they would condemn with every breath they possess if an opposing candidate or party did the same thing. They determine whether an act is right or wrong based on who commits it and what partisan jersey the actor wears.

This must be both a tiring and a confusing way to view the world.

I hear, for example, people making excuses for former President Donald Trump’s conduct after he left the White House. They argue that he bears no responsibility, either legal or moral, for the Jan. 6 insurrection that left several people dead and many, many others scarred for life. They also contend that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s raid on his Florida home to recover classified documents was unjustified and the fact that he had such sensitive materials in his possession was no big deal.

I have difficulty taking such arguments seriously.

That’s because I know that if either Joe Biden or Barack Obama had done similar things, they would scream bloody murder.

If Obama, for example, had summoned his supporters to Washington, D.C., in 2017 and urged them to march on the Capitol to prevent Trump’s election, would these folks be as eager to absolve the 44th president of the United States from responsibility as they have been with the 45th? How about if Obama had put intense pressure on then Vice President Biden to refuse illegally and unconstitutionally to certify the election results, even going as far as sitting by quietly, patiently, while the mob he summoned threatened to kill the vice president simply for performing his duty?

If, come Jan. 20, 2025, we have a new president—one who is a Republican—move into the White House, are the GOP stalwarts now rationalizing Trump’s actions going to say “fine with us” if Biden walks out with classified materials relating to national security and ignores or defies all requests and demands that he return them? Will they be as eager to look the other way as they are now?

Somehow, I doubt it.

The folks who screamed that Hillary Clinton should be locked up because she sent some emails from an unsecured computer don’t seem inclined to overlook transgressions, even inadvertent ones, from their political opponents. The partisans who want to see Hunter Biden executed without a trial do not seem to be devoted to the idea of dispassionate justice.

For the record, I would have had a problem with Obama trying to prevent Trump from taking office by summoning a mob and sending it to intimidate members of Congress and even his own vice president so they wouldn’t perform their constitutional duties.

I also won’t like it if Joe Biden carries any sensitive documents out of the Oval Office when he leaves. The law is clear on that point. Once he’s no longer president, he’s no longer president and has no right to possess such papers.

I felt and feel the same way about Hillary Clinton and Hunter Biden.

The investigation into how Clinton handled her emails was perhaps more partisan than it needed to be, but perfectly justified, nonetheless. In a self-governing society, public officials are obligated to answer to the public they serve. When there are questions about how they do their jobs, they have a duty to answer them.

Which she did.

As for Hunter Biden, there’s an investigation into the ways he may have traded on his father’s name and what he might have traded if he did. So far, to my knowledge, no one in the Biden family is trying to quash the investigation or has invoked the Fifth Amendment to duck questions about the younger Biden’s actions.

If it turns out that Hunter Biden is guilty of some crime and must suffer the consequences of his actions, I won’t weep. If he did violate the law, he should be punished.

Because the law is the law.

And wrong is wrong.

Regardless of who does it.

Just wish more people saw things that way.

John Krull is director of Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. The opinions expressed by the author do not represent the views of Franklin College.

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