Normally, I reserve my tit for tat arguments for political elites. In this case, I’ll make an exception. It started with a Matt Lewis article that is getting lots of play on CNN and the lamestream express.
Oh, remember the days of Matt Lewis on Townhall and conservative circles? Anyway, he writes a Moonbat-bait piece and Libs compliment his intellectual acumen for daring to raise all the pertinent questions. They love that.
See the article here “Should You be Afraid of President Trump?”
For the first time in my lifetime, however, people seem to be wondering if the system is self-destructing.
This debate was on full display today on Morning Joe when Anand Giridharadas squared off against Joe Scarborough. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Donald Trump’s election and subsequent rhetoric (his baseless suggestion that voter fraud cost him the popular vote, his attacks on media figures and outlets, and his recent suggestion that the penalty for flag burning should be jail or loss of citizenship) has alarmed people like Giridharadas who worry he has the kind of authoritarian tendencies that might flout the rule of law. /…
In the past, there have essentially been two things stopping American leaders from dictatorial powers: Character and the system. Ideally, we would elect the kind of people who would, like Washington, serve two terms and then (voluntarily) go back to the farm. But in the event this did not occur, our system would prevent the seizure of power (anyone who tried would fail miserably—and go down in history as an ignominious figure). It’s worth considering whether (A) Donald Trump’s character or (B) the ability of the system to contain him are adequate safeguards?
Lewis goes on in his intellectual quandary. Though I grant his questions may be real ones, his manner of handling, or explaining, the paradox is not. What I mean is he references Joe Scarborough who intimated ‘checks and balances’ should be enough to deter Trump — or anyone for that matter. Understandable. But Matt fears that may not be enough.
That is the beauty of our whole system; or at least it always was until Barack Obama blew it up and proved otherwise. (…he had a little help) Lewis adds:
These fears are not entirely irrational. According to a study reported in today’s New York Times, “signs of democratic deconsolidation in the United States and many other liberal democracies are now similar to those in Venezuela before its crisis.” For example, “researchers found that the share of Americans who say that army rule would be a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ thing had risen to 1 in 6 in 2014, compared with 1 in 16 in 1995.”
More sanguine observers, such as Joe Scarborough, assure us that the American system (with its balance of powers, federalism, and checks and balances) pits ambition against ambition, thus containing the ambitions of any one strongman.
See, Lewis’ problem predates Trump the politician. But in some ways Trump is made to order for our predicament. Like Joe, Libs refer to checks and balances. (Cue those cartoons for the filibuster.) What about checks to the power? We are lectured on the three branches of government. Matt worries about how anyone can hold Trump accountable? But that is the same problem we already have, unaccountable power.
How have these 3 divided branches or checks dealt with the abuse of power thus far? Now therein is the problem. We finally got down to the ‘who gives a damn?‘ stage in our self-government evolution. We proved that we can allow abuses to go on, in some cases without a whimper of protest. We have the first unimpeachable president in history.
Then we showed Obama that Congress would stand as no opposition to him. The Court did basically the same. Should we rerack the tape of the High Court rewriting and passing Obamacare? Where were all the fretful liberals and nail biters then…or abusees?
The point is profound: we the people found there was no check and balance to Obama. Our greatest hope or guarantee was the two-term limit as the sole check and balance. And we can’t say Republicans did not have a majority to do anything, They did. The one time we stood up to face a government shutdown, we blinked and basically gave Obama what he wanted anyway. And Obama was adept at using those circumstances to his benefit.
To Lewis’ assertion on military power, respect, or possible coupe: well, what would you expect? I mean look what we’ve been through. The trust of the Congress is MIA. This is not the people’s fault. We tried every other means to rein in the power. In fact, it was widely accepted that this was our last chance to right the ship, at the ballot box.
So the fact that Military or police — which he claims are both associated with the right — are considered more credible with the people than our government is not so out of the ordinary. Note that the press/media is on the discredited list as well.
Then came Trump who is no fix-it man. However, he is the best disrupter we could have. The first step to correction must be to break this symbiotic relationship that has avoided any accountability thus far. They worry about accountability now? Where were these people? “Trust and verify,” they say? Nothing with Obama was verified… except that he lied to us often. (Obamacare) After we all knew it, still it meant nothing.
It was not working; people were not held accountable, no one was fired, no one went to jail. We had no active checks and balances to out of control power. At least with the military there are some repercussions for actions. Police have accountability. So the point is this system was busted from we the people’s perspective. We don’t see that in the military.
And it was not a case of party politics. That played a role but is not the enabler. We had institutional breakdown. IRS ran amok in politics and abused its power to target political enemies. No one stopped it or held them accountable. The checks and balances went unchecked and unbalanced. Dep of Justice operated as the Injustice Department.
Now I have no fear that Trump would be granted the same latitude Obama had. That’s not going to happen. Press will not do latrine detail for Trump as they did for Obama. So this is better than what we had. But we got something more, even better. We now have someone who voices the concerns of people. Someone who is on the side of the people — a fighter. (he carried their message through the election) Someone as fed up as they are with status quo. We didn’t have that before. The people had no voice. That matters.
In the end, Matt Lewis postulates that he personally believes democracy is preciously fragile enough that one must presume it could be lost. Well, it doesn’t hurt to be vigilant but it requires action, not hyperbole and inaction. In other words, deeds matter more than theory which is exactly why we elected Trump.
Trump is no savior, but at least he is willing and able to do what others wouldn’t or couldn’t. Yet the critics, overwhelmed by fear, are more worried about what he will do than the cause that brought him to bear and made him essential to our cause.
(Note: Lewis’ book Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Betrayed the Reagan Revolution to Win Elections (and How It Can Reclaim Its Conservative Roots) was published in January 2016)
RightRing | Bullright