‘Increasingly, you’ll see citizens sour on the whole enterprise…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) While congressional Democrats launch constant attacks on President Donald Trump claiming abuse of power, already some 2020 hopefuls are promising to replace him with … the exact same thing.
A story by Politico on Saturday highlighted the emphasis that several Democratic 2020 candidates were placing on ambitious agendas they would likely need to enact by executive order.
All the while, they shamelessly overlooked their opposition to similar actions made by the sitting president.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., recently made headlines for promising that she would give Congress 100 days to “get their act together” before taking unilateral action to restrict Second Amendment freedoms if elected.
Former Rep. Robert Francis O’Rourke (“Beto”), unveiling a $5 trillion spending plan for climate change legislation, also promised to push it through without the help of legislators.
Meanwhile, both Harris and O’Rourke have vocally supported impeaching Trump for his firing of corrupt FBI Director James Comey, claiming it was obstruction of justice even though no underlying crime was committed.
In the duplicitous minds of Democratic strategists like Andrew Feldman, the flip–flop on overstepping constitutional checks and balances is entirely justified because Orange Man = Bad.
“That’s basically the only way to govern now—it’s kind of a way of life,” Feldman told Politico. “… You can actually get a lot done, and as we’ve seen with the Trump administration, you can do a lot of harm.”
Trump recently issued his second veto in response to Congress’s efforts to keep his executive authority in check.
His first veto overturned a bill to block him from declaring a national emergency and using Pentagon funds to build a border wall.
The second vetoed bill sought to curb the president’s authority under the War Powers Act in response to U.S. support of Saudi Arabian military operations in Yemen—an alleged terrorist safe-harbor and breeding ground.
Although the efforts failed to secure enough votes in Congress for a veto override, anti-Trumpists on both sides of the aisle—after acquiescing to years of Obama’s autopen fiats—have made much hay of their claims that Trump is overreaching.
Ironically, after decrying Trump’s authority, progressive leaders are now pivoting back to a more White House-centered vision of governance as they outline their own presidential ambitions.
Some on the Left dismissed those campaign-trail promises as simple talking points intended to fire up the liberal base.
But, inevitably, their contorted arguments about the scope of presidential authority always circle back to attacking the present office-holder, even when giving his ideological adversaries a free pass.
“I think it’s more to appeal to various segments of the electorate—to rev people up issue by issue,” said Les Francis, a deputy White House chief of staff in the Carter administration. “It’s against a backdrop of dysfunctionality and paralysis to be sure. But I think it’s more, ‘How do you get people revved up?’”
Among the other candidates included in Politico‘s list were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Both, like O’Rourke, promised immediate executive action to roll back Trump’s environmental policies.
But in the same breath as Warren promised to restore a massive land-grab of park lands in Utah—initiated by former President Barack Obama in the waning days of his Oval Office tenure—she feigned outrage that Trump had dared reinstate the original park boundaries by that exact method.
“With one stroke of his pen, President Trump shrunk our protected lands by more than two million acres in 2017 — the single biggest rollback of protected lands in U.S. history,” Warren wrote in a blog post via Medium.
Politico was quick to note that in 2014 Trump was among the many Republicans who criticized Obama’s use of executive order on a number of issues—most prominently by refusing to enforce existing laws related to immigration and health care.
Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit & because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2014
One obvious difference, though was that Trump was neither a public figure nor even a candidate for office at the time.
Another point to consider is that Trump has simply used executive authority largely to undo those things that Obama used it to do in the first place.
And in some cases, like the border wall negotiations, the current president has made every effort in good faith to negotiate with the obstructionist opposition.
Trump has since embraced—and even boasted about—the number of times he used executive orders to enact policy, although Politico noted it was only slightly higher than that of Obama or George W. Bush during their first two years in office.
Meanwhile, in their partisan opposition to Trump, Democrats have identified another method through which executive action may be stymied: using the courts to issue an injunction.
While many of Obama’s actions challenged in the courtroom wound up proving to be unconstitutional, Trump’s have, by and large, been cleared and validated after the frivolous deployment of lawsuits as a stall tactic.
Even so, one source told Politico that, eventually, the tit-for-tat use of executive authority to reverse one’s predecessor may prove to have a limited shelf-life.
“People will get thoroughly sick of that,” Bo Cutter, a veteran of two Democratic White Houses, told Politico. “… Increasingly, you’ll see citizens sour on the whole enterprise.”