9.11.16

RETHINK THE CULT OF THE PRESIDENCY.

Betsy Newmark's morning roundup includes a lot of the early reactions to Dewey Defeats Truman, er, Clinton Defeats Trump.  She's in about the same place I am.
While I was a #NeverTrumper, I am enjoying the downfall of Hillary Clinton. She is a low, despicable woman and got what she deserved. And how typical that she wouldn't come out last night to thank her supporters and give a gracious concession speech. It just isn't in her make-up.
Yes, the Democrats could have found a symbol with the voice and stage presence of a leading lady from the Golden Age of the Talkies, a first class temperament, and an international reputation for probity at the bar, and that would likely have been enough.  But the whole symbolic politics thing is a distraction.  Does it matter if the sanctimonious technocrat with an excessive faith in Governance by Wise Experts and a willingness to be soft on foreign enemies is named Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis or Al Gore or John Kerry or Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?  No.  It's the Governing Habit that is in error.  Back to Betsy's Page.
While President Obama will probably blame the loss on Hillary, at some point he and his party need to look at what has happened to them since his Hope and Change victory in 2008. They lost both houses and many legislatures and governorships across the land. And despite all of his and Michelle's frantic campaigning around the country, they couldn't drag Hillary across the finish line even against Donald freakin' Trump! Obama's record of never being able to help elect anyone besides himself continues.

And now all those executive orders that he signed and his bragging about what he could do with his pen and his phone without Congress are at risk of being turned back by a President Trump. Just as the Senate Democrats set future landmines with getting rid of the filibuster so that Republicans will now be able to set about getting their nominees on the courts, he set similar road bombs by how blasted through the checks and balances of our system. I despised what Obama did to the Constitutional order as president. I don't want a President Trump to follow that model. I would prefer for a return to regular order in both Congress and among the branches of government. I have no faith, however, in Donald Trump's understanding or respect for our Constitutional system.
The good news is that in getting to the White House, Mr Trump has given the leaders of his party in Congress reason to check him.  To get the repeal of Hillary Care through the House, he's going to have to work with a Speaker he has referred to as a loser.  Imagine, dear reader, if the appropriation bill for The Great Wall doesn't get out of the Rules Committee because a coalition of the Hispanic Caucus and the Chamber of Commerce Republicans won't vote it out.  In the Senate, he's going to have to make great deals with the just re-elected "Little Marco" Rubio and "Got Captured" John McCain, plus among the senior leadership there's "Lyin' Ted" Cruz and "Crazy Bernie" Sanders.  And politicians, unlike businessmen, are quicker to bruise and slower to heal.

Here's Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review, recognizing that a president's Article II powers are checked by the Article I powers of Congress.
Obama failed. He is a failed president. This is his successor? We knew that Obama couldn’t sell anything but himself, but we didn’t realize how much that was true. Nor did we realize how much the Democrats’ coalition was really a transient Obama coalition; how unpopular Obamacare was; or how bad an idea it was to run a candidate as damaged as Hillary.

I am on the record as being opposed to Donald Trump, and I shall likely stay that way. But I have two hopes. The first is that he proves me wrong. The second: That the disgraceful progressive moment, which has spent years trying to dissolve the Madisonian system of checks and balances, will come finally to its senses. I cannot say I hold out much hope that, culturally, we will go from “opposition is racist” to “opposition is virtuous” in the space of just two months. But perhaps we will. Perhaps now separation of powers will be seen as a good thing. Perhaps now those who advocate it will be cast as something other than revanchists. Perhaps now Chris Hayes will realize — urgently — that “if Congress won’t act, I will” is not remotely acceptable.
Chris Hayes is young. Old bull Lawrence O'Donnell apparently is catching on.  "The Founding Fathers anticipated Donald Trump. They feared tyrants, they were overthrowing the rule of a king, and they designed a separation-of-powers government in which all of the true powers belonged to Congress, those can then be reviewed by the courts..."

As far as "opposition is virtuous," we'll likely see a reprise of "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."  Which it is, and if the Donks had listened to the dissent on the health insurance reforms and the stimulus, they might not be in the place they find themselves today.

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