When George W. Bush expanded the unilateral powers of the presidency, Democrats called it a dangerous precedent. Republicans allowed it.
When Barack Obama expanded the unilateral powers of the presidency, Republicans called it a dangerous precedent. Democrats allowed it.
The growth of the Executive State and the abrogation of Congress’s authority are real and present threats to the Constitution’s balance of powers, and yet U.S. political leaders—and those voters who mindlessly follow them—stood mute while “their guy” grabbed power.
This selective outrage, this hypocrisy, got called out in the Senate on Thursday. Ben Sasse, a freshman Republican senator from Nebraska, challenged his fellow lawmakers to join him in a “thought experiment."
Imagine President Trump has been propelled into the White House. ... He signs an executive order to turn the Peace Corps into stone masons and build a wall. He shutters the Department of Education and, by executive order, turns the Department of the Interior into the classiest oil company the world has ever known.
So what happens next? ... After having raged against a supposedly lawless president, [would Republicans] suddenly find that they are actually OK with a strongman president, so long as he’s wearing the same color jersey that they are? He may be a lawless sonuvagun but, some would say, he’s our lawless sonuvagun. Would the ends justify the means?
Of course, that’s what would happen. Republicans would fall in line behind Trump or any other GOP president who gives lip service to bipartisanship before signing rafts of executive orders.