Don’t worry, we have checks and balances.
Except that we don’t.
We have them provided various conditions apply…but otherwise, we don’t. So they’re not really checks and balances in the sense we’ve always understood, are they.
Brian Beutler at The New Republic points out this obvious problem.
Donald Trump’s Thursday press conference was so meandering and deranged that it brought the basic ebb and flow of all politics to a halt, as power brokers across Washington, including Republicans on Capitol Hill, stopped what they were doing to watch along in amazement.
Amazement at what? It’s been obvious all along how mindless and malevolent he is, hasn’t it? So amazement at what? I guess the fact that no one stopped him, that he didn’t make any attempt to restrain himself, that he went on that way for so long, that it kept getting worse and worse? Something like that, I guess. I was amazed myself, despite the obviousness all along. I don’t really know why – maybe it’s just something about human psychology.
But as surreal as the spectacle was, it wasn’t disturbing enough to shake Republicans out of their determined obliviousness to the chaos of the Trump administration. We’ve seen the pattern repeat itself so many times, it’s grown tiresome: Trump becomes unhinged; Republicans pretend they didn’t see it, or say they won’t comment on every offhanded Trump comment, or just chuckle about his “unconventional” presidency; and everyone moves on.
Oh, no, it’s been tiresome all along – or rather, not tiresome, but disgusting.
Their ostrich-like reflexes have been a running joke in politics for months now. But in this case, a great deal of reporting indicates Republicans awoke to the frightening implications of letting an unstable man have free reign over the government, yet remained committed to the course they’ve chosen nevertheless…
Because he’ll do a lot of things they want done. That’s all. All we can do is try to make it so costly that they’ll draw some lines.
[T]he unexpected, and abrupt, transition between completely divided and completely unified government has revealed a fatal weakness in our systems of political checks, which Republicans are placing under great strain.
These systems and processes—congressional oversight, Justice Department autonomy, and legislative independence—weren’t designed to withstand a vengeful, lawless, id-driven madman taking over one party, and then the government, without popular support.
Weren’t they? Then they should have been. It’s not as if the founding dudes were not familiar with monarchy.
If congressional Republicans were going to use their power to check Trump, the way they would a non-partisan political or national security threat, we have a pretty decent sense of what they’d do.
In the policy realm, they might restrain his Muslim ban and deportation force designs; in the oversight realm, they would force him to sell off his assets, or at least release some of his tax returns, as well as launch a full inquiry into whether his campaign colluded with Russian intelligence to disrupt the presidential election. As a matter of basic governing competence, they would try to sideline reckless advisers like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and the now-deposed Michael Flynn. Republicans probably can’t stop Trump from holding destabilizing press conferences, but they could make life uncomfortable for him and his team unless and until they started to show some semblance of control.
Instead they choose to whine anonymously to the press.
In other words, they’re shits. Like this shit:
this press conference is insane but as long as donald cuts my taxes im cool with it
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) February 16, 2017
Representative Jason Chaffetz, the GOP’s chief investigator, has asked the Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges against a former Hillary Clinton aide who helped set up her private email server. The same man who continued issuing subpoenas at an impressive clip after the FBI shelved its Clinton investigation believes the appropriate number of subpoenas the scandal-plagued Trump administration should face is zero. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who called on his predecessor, Loretta Lynch, to recuse herself from the Clinton investigation for extremely flimsy reasons—is resisting demands, based on clear-letter rules, that he recuse himself from federal investigations of Trump’s aides and their potential ties to the Russian hackers who disrupted the election.
Kakistocracy as far as the eye can see.