When President Obama went rogue and used his pen and his phone to institute policies on immigration, healthcare and what they used to call global warming – policies he couldn’t get through a Republican Congress — conservatives howled. And they were right. The president has certain powers but they’re not without limits. Mr. Obama was elected president – not emperor with a mandate to do whatever he wanted.
And now, proving irony knows no bounds, we have Donald Trump, who has decided to employ Mr. Obama – whom he clearly doesn’t respect – as a role model. Really.
President Trump, fueled by an obsession with his wall, is following in Mr. Obama’s footsteps, resorting to national emergency measures to find money to build the wall, against the wishes of Congress.
Principled conservatives, like National Review editor Rich Lowry for one, have come out against what the president is doing just as they came out against what the former president was doing. But what about Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters, the ones who are so enamored by this president, so blinded by the light that emanates from his heavenly body, that they’d support him if he declared war on Cleveland?
These are the ones who blasted Mr. Obama for going around Congress, but now are in lock step with the current president, saying unconvincingly, “this is different.” Sean Hannity, a non-stop critic of Barack Obama, told his viewers on Fox that he could tolerate Mr. Trump signing the bipartisan spending bill to keep the government open — as long as the president also declares a national emergency to build the wall. Three days later Mr. Trump did just that.
Let’s just say the president and Hannity have a cozy relationship. But Hannity is hardly alone when it comes to being madly in love with this president. There are all those Trump loyalists who don’t have TV or radio shows who also endorse just about everything Trump. And that includes construction of the wall, by any means necessary.
For the record, none of this is an argument against the wall. But if President Obama abused his power and crossed a bright line to get his way in spite of Congress, isn’t President Trump doing the same thing?
But let’s say, for the sake of argument that Congress should have coughed up a few more billion to build Mr. Trump’s wall. The fact remains that Congress didn’t. And now – whatever the courts ultimately decide – Mr. Trump has set an example for future presidents just as Barack Obama set an example for Donald Trump.
So what happens in a few years when President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can’t get her way with Congress and declares an environmental emergency to pay for her Green New Deal? What happens if some other progressive decides that income inequality is an emergency and issues an order to confiscate the wealth of the upper economic classes?
Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters won’t be able to complain (though they would, of course) without being laughed at – just as Democrats can’t be taken seriously when they did nothing to stop President Obama but are now yelling when President Trump issues national emergency directives.
Mr. Obama had a slobbering love affair with the media (there’s a good book with that title, though I can’t remember the name of the author) which Mr. Trump surely does not have. That will keep him in the crosshairs in ways that Mr. Obama never had to worry about. So you can add a lot of journalists to the list of hypocrites who have abandoned principle for expediency.
Let’s end with a sage message put out on November 20, 2014 by a wise man who said this about President Obama and his end runs around Congress: “Repubs must not allow Pres Obama to subvert the Constitution of the US for his own benefit & because he is unable to negotiate w/ Congress.
He was right. The “wise man” who tweeted that, if you haven’t guessed, was none other than Donald J. Trump.
As the kids like to say, Hello?