16 Nov 2016

Time For the Left to Love Checks and Balances

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Kevin D. Williamson, with a certain unholy glee, predicts that the Left will not love living with its own precedents.

For eight years, Democrats celebrated the aggrandizement of the already inflated presidency left to Barack Obama by George W. Bush. You remember the greatest hits: “If Congress won’t act, I will.” “I have a pen and a phone.” “Elections have consequences.” And, my personal favorite: “I won.”

Somebody else won this time around. The pretensions of the imperial presidency are going to haunt Democrats for the immediate future, but they’ll quickly rediscover their belief in limits on the executive. While they’re rediscovering old virtues, they might take a moment to lament Senator Harry Reid’s weakening of the filibuster, an ancient protection of minority interests in the less democratic house of our national legislature. They might also lament Senator Reid’s attempt to gut the First Amendment in order to permit the federal government — which in January will be under the management of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and — incredibly enough — President Donald Trump — to regulate political speech, deciding who can speak, about what and when, and on what terms. Perhaps they’ll thank those wicked “conservative” justices on the Supreme Court for saving basic political-speech rights. If they are smart, they will rediscover federalism, too, and the peacemaking potential of a school of thought that says in a diverse nation of 320 million souls, there is no reason that life in rural Idaho must be lived in exactly the same way as it is in Brooklyn or Santa Monica.

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2 Feedbacks on "Time For the Left to Love Checks and Balances"


It seems the perception is it is a liability of the left to come to terms with itself now that conditions have changed not to their liking. The perception is that this is a deficiency on the part of the left.

I argue it is not. It is not an inability to come to terms. And it is not a deficiency. Rather, it is them still controlling the narrative. Rest assured, it is all about the narrative, but I digress.

In many ways, it can be seen that with a Trump presidency, the party of the Perpetual Victim is living it’s dream. While the attention is given to calling the left out for being childish, they are looking to gain the sympathy vote. Already I have seen admonishments on various social media from one Trump supporter to another that we need to be more because of feelings of sympathy, even remorse.

It would be ill advised to think the left is out of control or acting too temperamental due to a dearth of direction. What we see now is how they process and regroup. It is not a Kubler-Ross moment as much as a power play, as inelegant as it appears.

Seattle Sam

Nonetheless, one of the lessons from the Obama administration is that when you do something far-reaching without sufficient consensus (e.g. zero Republican support for Obamacare and more than 50% of the population against it), your victories may not be very enduring. It may be wise for Republicans to pass things that are 80% “correct” with some consensus rather than trying to ram through something 100% “correct” without it.

At the same time, history suggests you have only about a year to get important things done — with or without help from Democrats.


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