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Tags: Barack Obama | Donald Trump | Presidential History | eisenhower | korean

Left's Trump Hysteria Can't Defend Our Constitution, Republic

Left's Trump Hysteria Can't Defend Our Constitution, Republic
In July of 2014, President Barack Obama signed executive orders to protecting LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination. In January of that year, Obama declared "I've got a pen and I've got a phone." (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By    |   Monday, 11 June 2018 02:52 PM

Democrats’ inability to understand or sympathize with what President Donald J. Trump is doing appears to be growing stronger rather than diminishing. One would have thought that with unemployment down, the stock market up, the economy growing at the best rate in years, the president might receive a bit of credit.

Truth be told, there are very few spokespersons in the opposition who do acknowledge this— but for the vast majority — it is Trump loathing as usual.

Much of this takes the form of extraordinarily exaggerated warnings about the dangers the current president purportedly poses to the Constitutional order.

Thus, for example, in an amazing piece in the New York Review of Books warning that our conditions are similar to those of Weimar Germany during the time of the rise of Adolf Hitler, one of our most esteemed constitutional scholars, Harvard’s Cass Sunstein (who was an adviser to Barack Obama and served for several years in his administration), declares that Mr. Trump "may not be sufficiently committed to constitutional principles of democratic government."

This is striking, since it was Mr. Sunstein’s former boss who seemed to make light of the separation of powers indicating that he could, in effect, govern with this declaration, "I've got a pen and I've got a phone."

It is Barack Obama's administration which saw an almost unparalleled expansion of the federal government, one all but ignoring the basic constitutional norm of a national polity of limited and enumerated powers.

The irony is compounded by the fact that professor Sunstein is a champion of something he calls "libertarian paternalism," an oxymoronic notion that the federal government needs to correct its citizens’ failure to understand what is really good for them, in order to channel their behavior in a manner their bureaucratic betters deem wise.

Similarly bizarre Trump disparagement came this week from HBO host Bill Maher who actually declared, "I think one way you get rid of Trump is a crashing economy. So please, bring on the recession. Sorry if that hurts people, but it’s either root for a recession or you lose your democracy."

The hatred of the current occupant of the Oval Office is apparently so powerful that removing him by any means, even if the economy and Mr. Maher’s fellow Americans suffer, is fully justified.

This sort of disparagement is, as been suggested, more like derangement.

The extent to which it was the prior administration, rather than the current one that departed from "constitutional principles," may become clearer when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the current challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate brought by 20 state attorneys general.

The ACA mandate, in a deft piece of judicial legerdemain, was upheld as a "tax" by Chief Justice John Roberts, but the "tax" was recently repealed by Congress, and the act, also known as "Obamacare," is now vulnerable to attack as an unconstitutional stretch of congressional powers. This is because rather than a "regulation" of interstate commerce, the mandate, which orders that all Americans must have health insurance, requires citizens to engage in commerce.

Recognizing this, the Trump justice department has declined to defend the constitutionality of the act.

Similarly appropriate recognition of the Constitution has been displayed by Mr. Trump in his exercise of his pardon power. Mr. Trump has indicated that he is seeking to correct some of the prosecutorial abuses of the prior administration, as occurred, for example in the case of Dinesh D’Souza, a noted conservative pundit and activist, who was vigorously pursued, convicted, and incarcerated for arcane campaign finance violations which are rarely prosecuted and usually result simply in the payment of administrative fines.

With justification last week, Mr. D’Souza lamented "the gangsterization of American politics" during the Obama administration, but noted that "What I like about Trump is that he fights on the political and the cultural front both."

Happily acknowledging Mr. Trump’s correction of the acts of the prior administration against him, D’Souza stated that "My hope is that we will get back to a better America in which politics will not be used as a political weapon against political adversaries, but I think that the way we get there is all of us need not only powerful Christian conviction, but a little bit of Christian toughness."

That this is precisely what Mr. Trump is doing also clearly appears from his behavior at last week’s G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada, where Mr. Trump excoriated Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for failing to acknowledge the unfair trade treatment of United States dairy products exported to our Northern neighbor, which were the cause of Mr. Trump’s proposed tariff on Canadian steel.

Mr. Trump quite properly refused to join in the joint statement at the end of the G7 meeting, a document which embodied policy positions adverse to those of the U.S., and which Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, described as a "socialist communique."

Questioning Mr. Trudeau’s veracity (as did President Trump), Mr. Navarro obesrved, telling Fox News, "There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door."

As President Trump begins his meeting with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un this week, he has a chance further to polish his skills as a diplomat, and, indeed, if he is successful at putting in motion an end to the technical state of war still existing between the two Koreas — and a beginning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — he will achieve something eluding all our presidents since Eisenhower.

This week will concurrently see the release of the report of the Department of Justice Inspector General which many expect to reveal improper efforts both to exonerate criminal conduct on the part of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and improper surveillance of the Trump campaign by Obama administration officials. This promises to be a climactic series of events which should help us understand who really are the better guardians of the Constitution and our republic — Mr. Trump or his critics?

Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was recently appointed as a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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It is Barack Obama's administration which saw an almost unparalleled expansion of the federal government, one all but ignoring the basic constitutional norm of a national polity of limited and enumerated powers.
eisenhower, korean
Monday, 11 June 2018 02:52 PM
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