Sunday, November 18, 2018

We Spoke. Now It's Up to the Constitution

Do you get the idea that Donald Trump started reading the United States Constitution, got to "We," decided it didn't apply to him, and never went back to it? Of course, that assumes that you are giving him the benefit of actually starting to read the document. Or read.

Appointing an Attorney General without the consent of the Senate seems to me to be outside the realm of the president's duties. Never mind that the person he appointed, Matthew G. Whitaker, doesn't understand the sometimes fragile system of checks and balances upon which our government rests, having said that the judiciary is supposed to be the weakest branch. He also doesn't like it when the Supreme Court weighs in on the legality of laws. I suppose he thinks that's his job.

Of course, the real reason Mr. Whitaker was chosen was to try and shut down the Robert Mueller investigation into whether the president obstructed justice when he fired James Comey as FBI Director. I know that the press and the president are fixated on Russian interference in the election and the extent to which the Trump campaign played along, or worse, but the real issue is the obstruction. And the president knows that, which I think is why he keeps focusing on collusion.

Then there's the tale of Jim Acosta, the CNN reporter the president threw out of the press pool for asking too many difficult questions. Does anybody remember due process rights? (Does anybody remember laughter?) At least the hated federal judiciary is reading the constitution and ordered the White House to restore Mr. Acosta's press credentials.

And the elections? Immediately reaching into his vocabulary bag and finding the phrase, "voter fraud," (the only other words in that bag are witch, hunt, collusion, not, fair, I, me, I, me, and I) to describe the achingly close results in Florida and Georgia, demonstrates that the president has no real respect for the electoral system, nor can he even be respectful, call for a calm, judicious process, and work on a winning issue, such as repairing railroads and airports.

Clearly, the non-stop confrontational attitude is wearing thin as the other results of the election prove. The Democrats are poised to win more than 40 seats that Republicans held in the House, and it's possible that the Senate will be just as close as it was before. The president and his advisers will now need to answer for their actions in front of less friendly legislators. They'll put up a fight, but they'll also show how disdainful they are about the law.

In any event, the next two years will be difficult ones for the president unless he decides that he needs to get something done and works with the Democrats. If not, he will have a difficult time convincing people that he needs a Republican majority in order to succeed.

We've been there. And all we got was chaos.

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