It’s a good thing that left-wingers are typically deficient in the sense of shame (just as they tend to be deficient in the sense of humor). If they weren’t, they would be finding it hard to live with themselves just now.
When President Donald Trump announced four executive orders at the hastily called presser at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Aug. 7, the press looked down at its collective knickers and found them in a twist.
The president had been negotiating for weeks with Congress to address the suffering and economic displacement caused by the coronavirus. (Actually, truth in advertising requires that I emend that. The suffering and economic displacement were caused by the drastic overreaction to the disease, which overreaction on the part of governmental agencies was itself sparked by the cynical politicization of the disease, its reformulation into an anti-Trump weapon.)
Hewitt goes on to point out that the reverse is not true because Trump is relying on the precedent Obama set, which has yet to be overturned. Consequently, he concludes, if you encounter outrage over Trump’s “unilateral and unprecedented executive actions,” and so on, “understand the writer or speaker is either ignorant or deceitful” (or, I might add, both).
As a matter of principle, I am not at all sure that I think Trump’s executive orders are good ideas—except, that is, for the payroll tax “holiday.” I’d make it permanent, but then I would also abolish Social Security, a “temporary” government program instituted in a time of crisis but which, like most government initiatives, took on a life of its own. What started as an emergency expedient came in time to be an expected “right.”
At the end of the day, however, I think that Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff got it exactly right. Perhaps Trump’s executive actions exceed his authority. Perhaps. (Certainly, plenty of things Lincoln and FDR did exceeded their authority.)
But the real issue here is practical, and I think history will agree with Mirengoff. The executive actions, he wrote, were a “political masterstroke.”
“Since the days of FDR, the public has always seemed to approve of presidents who act to ameliorate suffering while Congress diddles. A flurry of activity, even of the futile or potentially counterproductive kind, makes a president look energetic and caring," he wrote.
“In this instance, Trump’s move might well force congressional Democrats to reach a deal. That outcome, too, would be a political win for the president.”
Mirengoff is right, too, that the flailing displeasure of outlets such as The Washington Post at Trump’s executive orders is another sign that the president did a politically smart thing.
Such things are possible. But possibility is cheap. It is much more probable that the trends we observe now will continue.
The coronavirus threat will continue to recede. The stock market will continue its rise even as unemployment continues to fall. There may be saber rattling, and there will certainly be teeth gnashing, by China, Russia, North Korea, Democrats, the media, and other enemies of America. But it will all be sound and fury, signifying nothing.
His calm and compassionate actions on Aug. 7 make his reelection all the more likely. They really were a “political masterstroke.” It will be interesting to see what happens when the Dems wake up to that fact.