Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Checks And Balances

Trump has suffered a temporary setback on his ridiculous ban on travel from certain countries.  His order is likely illegal and/or unconstitutional.  But Trump cannot be defeated.  It is his weakness, not his strength.  He can't back down, can't admit that "maybe that was a bad idea."  If, as I expect, judges continue to erode his executive orders, he will have to lash back at them.  It's entirely central to his character.

Andrew Jackson - another nakedly populist demagogue - once famously said, "Justice Marshall has made his opinion, now let us see him enforce it."  Trump's inability to "lose" means that I could see a constitutional crisis sooner rather than later surrounding Trump and the Courts.

This transfers the arena to Congress.  Congress has the power to impeach presidents and judges or pass laws that either overturn executive orders or enshrine them into law.  They can launch investigations or sweep things under the rug.

Needless to say, Congress has not shown much backbone this week.  That does not mean that they won't, however.  Could you find two-thirds of both Houses requiring that the Director of National Intelligence attend National Security Council meetings?  You might.  Or at least launch an investigation into Steve Bannon?

As I've said before, the GOP Congress have a delicate balance to strike.  They can't destroy the GOP to save Trump, but the Trumpenproletariat represent a sizable portion of their base.

The key for Democrats is not to allow any daylight between the GOP and Trump.  Force them to decide if they support Trump or the ideals and institutions this country was founded on.

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