The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Baton

During the last administration, it appears that both Democrat and Republican elites in Congress were perfectly willing to allow Barack Obama to rule by Executive Order. Little substantive legislation was passed, no meaningful treaties or international agreements were approved by Congress. Obama entered into the Paris Climate Accords and the Iran Deal unilaterally, without approval of Congress. The pontificating and often sanctimonious elites of both parties loved it ... they blathered on about whatever, but never had to take a vote that would hold them accountable.

And now, they furrow their brows and frown when a new president asks them to perform their constitutional duty and pass legislation, enter into international agreements or sign treaties. Victor Davis Hansen comments:
Trump is not avoiding controversial or substantive issues, but often he is shrugging that the problem was not his—and thus may belong to others to solve. DACA was illegal; even honest Obama supporters concede that. Trump wants it reformed and clarified—but by the Congress that alone should have had the legal authority to pass or reject the law.

Trump did not make the Iran Deal, but he knows that it is a de facto treaty that was never ratified by the Senate and could not be today. If it is such a good deal, then the bipartisan Senate now can either reform and resubmit it, or ratify it as is or reject it. Ditto the Paris Climate Accord. Cannot Chuck Schumer introduce a bill to reclassify the accord properly as a treaty and see it passed by the Senate with a necessary two-thirds majority?

The same is true of Obamacare, the Korean nuclear crisis, and ISIS. Trump loudly announces he will solve the crises that others caused. But if he is prevented by legislative logjams and the courts, then nature will take its course: Obamacare will fall by its own weight, more quickly once its Obama-era illegal executive orders are removed; any sane country will eventually have to shoot down an incoming Korean missile and do what is necessary to protect its people; and as ISIS grew and immigration to the West exploded, Trump simply understood, when faced with the real threat of an ISIS caliphate, the Western world would drop its past insistence on Marquis of Queensbury rules of engagement.
If the children of illegal immigrants (DACA) should be granted legal residency in the United States (I think they should be given that privilege), then why is there any hesitancy by Democratic leaders to pass legislation to do so? If the Iran Deal is such a boon to world peace, why don't the Democrats and the few GOP elites who prefer to keep it in place band together a ratify it as a formal treaty? Or alternatively, legislate harsh new sanctions against Iran?
If the Democrats think that Climate Change is the existential threat they claim it is, then why not pass legislation that would commit the USA to participate in the Paris accords? And if Obamacare just needs a few simple tweeks to make it work as promised, why have the Dems worked so hard to ensure that none are made?

Of course, the answer to all of those questions is multipart:

1. It's much, much easier not to take a position, particularly if the outcome may not be good. Kicking the can down the road is SOP for Dem and GOP elites.
2. It's much, much easier to be doctrinaire, rather than negotiated with the other party and being held a traitor by an unhinged base.
3. It's much, much easier to pontificate and much, much harder to take action.

By passing the baton to the Congress, Donald Trump has done what the constitution mandates. The representatives of the people (yeah, I know that the Congress actually represents themselves and their donors, not the people, but whatever) have a responsibility to act. And they don't like it one bit.