Who among us could possibly take seriously Nancy Pelosi’s protests about the constitutionality of President Trump’s actions on the 2nd Coronavirus relief bill? Daniel Hansanyi discusses in NRO how former President Obama spent eight years “normalizing this kind of behavior” without any complaining from Democrats or from most of the political pendants.
Marvel the Hypocrisy
When a national political reporter at the Washington Post feels compelled to ask readers to “ponder” and “imagine” what would have happened if “Obama had broken up a congressional stalemate over funding by simply signing an executive order and saying it was so,” one can only marvel at the lack of self-awareness.
Living in a World of Executive Overreach
We’re living in the world his executive overreach — which, for what it’s worth, was far more egregious than anything Trump is doing here — helped create.
Remember that it was Obama who simply declined to enforce mandates and taxes in the Affordable Care Act — legislation he had argued for and signed into law — simply because those provisions turned out to be unpopular.
Obama Embraced Politically Expedience
(President) Obama didn’t delay or defer collection of Obamacare taxes.
What Obama Did Not Do
- Work on legislation to make his Obamacare changes permanent.
- Come up with a bogus emergency to rationalize his disregard for the law.
Obama just did what was politically expedient.
Nearly every elected Democrat, liberal pundit, and major editorial page defended this lawlessness using two rationalizations that Trump could now easily adopt himself.
Progressives Aim to Consolidate Dictates from Washington
As a practical matter, executive legislating disincentives congressional compromise and incentivizes partisanship. As we saw after Democrats lost the presidency in 2016, it often leads to erratic, see-saw governance, in which one party undoes what the other one did unilaterally as soon as it retakes power. It empowers bureaucrats to govern the country. It undermines national consensus and solidifies centralized governance from Washington, which is what progressives desire.
The debate will almost surely revolve around how executive power should be utilized rather than the abuse of the power itself. Sadly, idealistic process arguments don’t much move the needle with the average voter.
Biden Will Govern Unilaterally
But there were once practical reasons to oppose executive overreach: namely, mutually assured political destruction. Were Joe Biden to win in November, Democrats would fully expect him to govern unilaterally as Obama did when they lost Congress.
And Trump defenders, who are now embracing all the familiar rationalizations for (Trump’s) overreach, would have a tough time arguing against Biden’s abuses.
Who Will Fight Against?
Will there be no one left in American politics to “offer any effective philosophical, practical, or political case against rank executive abuse,” Mr. Hansanyi also asks.
That then is a disaster that “isn’t worth a second coronavirus-relief bill, no matter how badly such a bill is needed,” Hansanyi continues.
COVED Relief Necessary, but …
“Proper legislation should for an extension of the heightened unemployment benefits but also for their gradual tapering off as the economy recovers,” the editors in NRO admonish.
No Props to President or to Congress
Who is manning the ship, we all wonder.
The legislation should at the same time undo the president’s abusive orders. Congress should for once bestir itself to defend its constitutional prerogatives.
Once the Preening is Complete
Suddenly, both Pelosi and Schumer want to revisit the bargaining table?
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