Spend anytime at all in the vicinity of political Twitter today and you undoubtedly were subjected to some commentary on the Hatch Act being purportedly violated at the Republican convention last night.

The primary gripe involved Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in he address delivered while he was travelling abroad in Jerusalem. The pundits on the left — in other words, ”the pundits” — have been in full throttle mode complaining about the illegalities last night. Except, probably not.

The Hatch Act, while limiting the influence an office holder can have on an election, runs into a small issue with that edict — the First Amendment. So what you are left with is a curious bit of contortion needed to properly address this distinction. Over at National Review Jim Geraghty walks us through this maze, and then gives us some harsh perspective.

While covering the convention last night at the RedState liveblog I noted how stiff and stilted Pompeo sounded in his address to the convention. Having seen him speak in person and being as engaging and personable it was a noted downshift, but this was due to him verbally walking a tightrope.

He could not make a speech as an official State Department event, and he had to refrain from using his office title. This was why he opened his speech by declaring his job was as a husband and a father. It was a possibly silly but also legally required distinction he was making; he was speaking as Mike Pompeo, not speaking as Secretary Of State.

Now for some distinctions, made for the benefit of the hyperventilating press members. Any journalist who is barking in print today about Hatch Act violations need to address why they were not in such a dander when President Barack Obama ran for reelection. Turns out he had a number of his secretaries and cabinet members speaking at his 2012 convention.

Goodness. When it comes to Hatch Act violations Obama is looking like a recidivist. Ree-Peet O-fender!

But wait – there’s more! If you act now you can also get —

Now there is the built-in excuse that rears up, when these all too common parallel occurrences from the previous administration – such as immigrant children held in cages — that being the media was on an 8 year vacation when Obama was in the White House.

That hardly changes the fact that what they watched last night was hardly a novel occurrence. Note this dichotomy of coverage from Politico, who today is ruminating over the possible violations yet were providing glowing coverage of the Obama officials stumping for their boss.

So yes, once again what we are mired in at the moment is the convenient double-standards being applied in the media. Mention how they missed this offense two conventions back and the likely response is ”that’s whataboutism!”, the preferred deflection applied to pointing out their hypocrisy.


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