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Checks and Balances

The U.S. system of checks and balances has turned back some of President Trump’s worst instincts, but in the long run America’s vetocracy poses other problems.

Published on: October 18, 2017
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  • Bankotsu

    Now that this site is relaunching, I think it is ripe time to get rid of the neo con writers here.

    Sick of reading the same old garbage day in day out from these clowns.

    U.S global hegemony, Pax American, destroy all threats to U.S. global hegemony, maintain and control Europe, middle east and Asia be a stooge to Israel, blah, blah, blah, we get your drivel. No need to repeat your garbage day in day out.

    Fuck off, fucking neo con scum.

    • Dale Fayda

      “…dirty filth”? Is there “clean filth”?

    • champ

      Sick of reading the same old garbage day in day out from these clowns.

      There’s a simple way to avoid that, don’t come here anymore…

    • Felix

      Please, correct me if I’m wrong, Bankotsu…
      After perusing “dirty filth”, you schlep on over the trodden path to CNN for clean, accurate, news and opinions?

  • Arkeygeezer

    “But in the absence of such large structural reforms, the only way to make the government work is to fashion a centrist coalition that cuts across party lines.”
    Our checks and balance system is working very well. There is no need for the “institutional remedies” suggested.

    Donald Trump’s actions as President have been very middle-of-the-road. Time will tell if a centrist coalition that cuts across party lines will develop either to support “Trumpism” or to oppose it. So far, it looks like it will be in support of the President.

    • John Schwartz

      You think a coalition will form to support the President’s agenda? Democrats loathe him, his party is in turmoil, and even his own Secretary of State called him a “fucking moron.” Trump is a joke, and the 38% of Americans who still support him and are a bunch of losers who can’t distinguish between the fantasy of “reality TV” and the reality of the current Administration.

      • champ

        OK, we get that your are a monumentally butt-hurt !Hillary supporter who can’t get over the fact that she lost to Trump, do you actually have anything to add to the discussion?

  • Anthony

    “Persistent government paralysis is what breeds demands for a strongman leader….” (Francis Fukuyama)

  • solotar

    I voted for Hillary, and I despise Trump, but … the idea that Trump has chosen to rule through a series of executive orders rather than reach out to Congress is a rather bizarre criticism in light of the way the prior guy ran the show. DACA? To Congress. Obamacare subsidies? To Congress? Iran? To Congress. What did Obama do on all of these matters? That’s right: he ignored the law and issued a series of executive orders.

    And if Fukuyama thinks the immigration rulings issued by the judge in Hawaii protect our checks and balances, well…

    There’s a thousand reasons to worry about this moron. The fact that he pushes crap through via executive order, well, that’s pretty weak.

    • Arkeygeezer

      I think that the centrist coalition cutting across party lines, that is building needs people who voted for Hillary. The fact that you despise Trump should not hinder you from supporting good policy, regardless of where it comes from.

      • champ

        And if it comes from Trump (but I seriously doubt that you would consider anything from Trump to be “good policy”)

  • QET

    He appears to have believed that he could run the U.S. government as he ran his own family business, that is, through a series of executive orders implemented by a small circle of trusted family advisers. Trump did not understand the primacy given to Congress by the Constitution, and the need to cultivate Congress if he was to get anything done. His understanding of the rule of law was limited to knowledge of how to use the law to promote his own interests, for example by forcing contractors to sue him if they were to receive the payment they were due. But the idea that the executive itself should be under the law was foreign to him.

    This is almost enough to make me want to cancel my subscription to this publication, relaunched or not. These remarks are not merely ignorant, they are outrageous. To speak, and think, and write as if history began on January 20, 2017; to willfully repress all memories of 2008 – 2016; to excuse Trump’s predecessor by terming the GOP Congress’s refusal to enact his preferred policies “paralysis” justifying executive usurpation (and where was this immigration reform during 2009 – 2011 when the Democrats controlled Congress as well????) while accusing Trump of failing to understand the primacy given to Congress by the Constitution and the need to cultivate said Congress is really beyond the pale for anyone considering himself to be a serious public intellectual. Hate Trump with your viscera all you like, but don’t rewrite history that is still well within the memory of anyone over 5 years old.

    • John Schwartz

      The quotation is about Trump not having any experience working in government, and this is reflected in his inability to get anything done. Your rant doesn’t address this criticism in any way. You’re pretty typical for a Trumptard. Too stupid to actually address what’s going on, so you just change the subject to Obama.

      By the way, immigration reform didn’t get done during the 111th Congress, but they did push through the ACA. Has Trump managed to get rid of it yet? Has he built his wall? Has he fulfilled a single one of his boastful promises? Why not?

      • Tom

        Well, given that Obama took office in 2009, Obamacare didn’t pass until early 2010, and it’s not even 2018 yet, I’d recommend that you hold your horses before comparing Obama and Trump’s accomplishments.

      • Ofer Imanuel

        Obama had 60 Dem senators to pass Obamacare. Trump has 52 GOP. As for running the government with his own cycle of colleagues – that’s exactly what George W. and Obama did. What is true, Trump is antagonizing the GOP congress more than is needed, or wise.

      • champ

        And how much experience did Barky have working in the government, given that in his two years in the Illinois Congress he voted “Present” on more than a third of the bills voted on?

    • petegross

      Excellent post. I’m glad I read your post before I went to the trouble of writing my own. You captured my reaction to this moronic article better than I could have myself.

      • QET

        Thanks, that’s very kind.

  • Bankotsu

    I feel that the writer has no credibility to criticise Trump because he himself anticipated Trump back in 1992.

    “One final thing. In describing the shallow celebrity culture, the essential emptiness, of the habitat of the last man, Fukuyama had a particular example in mind. He went to the same individual for illustration when looking for an archetype of megalothymia – who else but ‘a developer like Donald Trump’.

    Fukuyama didn’t predict that it would be that very individual who would crash through the comforts of the end of History, turning the certainties of the post-Historical world upside down. But he got closer than most. ”

  • Gern Blandersong

    Excellent article. I would also point out the 22nd amendment that limits the terms of the President are another great check and balance on executive power. We are currently seeing this with “executive orders”. Like you said, the DACA executive order and Obamacare executive orders are dubious and possibly illegal. Now with Trump in power, the executive orders are reversed. Likewise, any of Trump’s new executive orders during his term might be reversed or changed by the successor President. All of this is good and it is showing America that executive order power may only last as long as the current President’s term, thus there is a check and balance on this.

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    Oddly, the policies that those in favor of ‘bipartisanship’ or ‘centrism’ would enact are always exactly, without any modification whatsoever, what the Democratic party has long wanted.

    That’s a poor way to get Republicans and conservatives on board, which would surely be necessary were ‘bipartisanship’ or ‘centrism’ to have any meaning other than ‘what all we good liberals want.’

  • Felix

    Par for the course in Progressive liberalism, accuse the other party of what you yourself are guilty. And to think, Obama was a “Constitutional Scholar”.
    Yeah. Right.

    • champ

      He was an adjunct lecturer, but the regressives lied to inflate his credentials, just like everything else…

      • Felix

        Thank you, Champ. Few factual details seem to accompany BHO’s trail, so far as I know. As “Manchurian” candidates go, Barrack could easily garner nominations where his “sealed” records are concerned. Even his Presidential Library may be established (at record-breaking expenditure) sans any stack of first-hand, original copies of his writings and correspondence.
        Personally, I think he was/is a fraud, perpetrated on hopeful minorities and guilt-expunging whites. As history is written by the victors, my take may or may not be proven correct.

        • champ

          Still waiting for the LA Times to release the tape of Barky fawning all over Rashid Khalidi at that dinner talk…

  • Stephen

    The normal functioning of our check-and-balance system has been dependent on some degree of cooperation between the parties. It has seized up in recent years as the parties have become more polarized and ideological.

    “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

    My goodness. Polarization and parties rose up before the ink dried on printed copies of the Constitution. Washington famously urged his countrymen against parties. Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams and host of others found that a nice sentiment, but the reality quite different. They were all familiar with a very long history by then of politics in the Westminster system. Vetocracy is hardly new; that’s the design. Ceasarian desires of a President and the passions of the Mob alone were not the sole concern of the Founders. The system they designed was intended to frustrate the urge toward large all-encompassing “national” plans; the very sorts of things that so transfix the modern progressive. The assumption since Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson seems to be that the inability of our federal government to enact perpetual reform, if not revolution, is some manifest failing. I rather doubt that the Founders would agree. Their skepticism is well warranted. Perhaps more modesty as to goals would lead to greater success.

    DACA is held up as something that should be easy to fix. It might be, if you are willing to put aside history and all politics. The history, for at least 25 years, of faithless oversight and execution, by successive Congresses and administrations, of existing immigration law has earned the contempt and skepticism of a large plurality of voters nationwide. Nothing about changes in immigration law will be easy now. Proposals for comprehensive overhauls of the law from institutions and people who have earned the distrust of voters does not reflect self-awareness, is not a model of modesty, much less sensible at this time.

  • DougH

    Fukuyama advances a fundamental misreading of history, and then misapplies it. Julius Caesar did NOT undermine the Roman Republic — by the time he came to power the Republic was already dead, the corpse just hadn’t stopped twitching yet; Caesar merely followed in the footsteps of those that preceded him.

    Likewise Trump, to the extent that he hasn’t been rolling back Obama’s unconstitutional overreaches, has merely been following the path Obama and his fellow-travelers in Congress laid down in the exercise of executive authority and the relationship between Congress and the president (“I have a pen and I’m not afraid to use it” anybody?). The Democrats’ problem isn’t with Trump’s methods, but with the purpose those methods are applied to.

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