Color Me Pleasantly Surprised

As I previously noted:

Regular readers of Wizbang know that I was not a supporter of Donald Trump during the 2016 Primary and General Elections. That lack of support does not mean I was not thrilled to see Madam former Secretary go down to defeat in an electoral landslide, quite the opposite.

Comes now Jonah Goldberg with some words of faint praise.

We’re on an Unusual Path to a More Functional System

So here it goes: Maybe things are getting better.


I do not fear much correction when I say that my columns of the last few years have not been characterized by an overabundance of cheerfulness and optimism.

For instance, about a year ago, I endorsed a Twitter personality for president. No, not that one. I backed SMOD, the “Sweet Meteor of Death,” whose sole presidential campaign promise was to deliver an extinction-level event upon impact with earth. But SMOD, like so many politicians, disappointed me, which is why my refrain of the last few years has been, “Cheer up, for the worst is yet to come.”

SMOD did seem a better choice than the clowns we were presented with.

Yet I could not quite bring myself to either endorse SMOD nor to vote for either clown (not that it made any difference here in CA). Jonah it seems felt much the same:

I bring this up for two reasons. First, to acknowledge for the reader my misanthropic biases, and second, to beg some indulgence, as I’m unaccustomed to describing the light at the end of the tunnel as anything other than a locomotive’s headlamp.

So here it goes: Maybe things are getting better.

The standard brief against the president, from the left and much of the desiccated center, is that Donald Trump is a threat to the constitutional order. I do not dismiss this view out of hand, and if President Trump were much more popular, I’d worry about it more. But to date, things aren’t working that way.

The Fourth Estate has become the opposite of a band of intimidated courtiers and lickspittles.
The press, by its own self-aggrandizing account, is enjoying some new golden age. Newspaper subscriptions are up. Web traffic is through the roof. The Washington Post’s new motto — “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — may be a bit grandiose, but a few right-wing platforms notwithstanding, the Fourth Estate has become the opposite of a band of intimidated courtiers and lickspittles.

No thanks to the White House’s own efforts, this really is the most transparent administration in history. Leaks — some outrageous and illegal, others amounting to shabby gossip — make it almost impossible for the White House to keep anything secret. And when it does, the president’s Twitter account serves almost as a live feed into what he is thinking.

Obviously, liberals despise the president’s agenda, but most of what he has accomplished, almost entirely through executive orders, has actually been entirely defensible — and from a conservative perspective, laudable — on policy terms.

If you don’t like him rescinding so many of President Obama’s executive orders, perhaps you should have pushed harder for Obama to get things done the proper way — through the legislative process.

If, say, the Paris climate change accord had been treated as a treaty — which it was — Trump couldn’t pull out with a stroke of a pen. Of course, if it had been sent to the Senate as a treaty, it would have failed, which should tell you something about the underlying merits of the agreement.

If you don’t like him rescinding so many of President Obama’s executive orders, perhaps you should have pushed harder for Obama to get things done the proper way — through the legislative process.
Then there’s Congress. For decades, under Republican and Democratic presidents and Republican and Democratic majorities, Congress has been a feckless doormat for the president, ceding ever more authority to the executive branch. This is not how it’s supposed to work. Congress is the “first branch” of government precisely because the founders saw in the presidency the threat of despotism, or what Edmund Randolph called “the foetus of monarchy.” That’s why Congress has all the real power under the Constitution: the sole authority to declare war, levy taxes, ratify treaties and craft legislation.

Most of the Republicans in Congress have little experience in crafting serious legislation, never mind asserting their first branch prerogatives. Thanks in part to the president’s incompetence and in part to his laudatory desire to delegate the tough decisions to Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have had to step up, filling a breach that began under Woodrow Wilson and became a chasm at the end of the Obama years.

Indeed. We seem to be lurching back towards having a Federal Government that works (or fails to work) as specified in the Constitution.

What a refreshing change!

The Revolving Door Of Political Operatives And Journalism
Democratic Party in Disarray
  • ohio granny

    I have to say I’m surprised by this article. This is the first time I have clicked on this site since around the time of the republican convention. I may start checking in a few times a month as long as I don’t encounter any Trump bashing.

    • Retired military

      Don’t read David Robertson’s columns

  • pennywit

    On the subject of the Fourth Estate:

    I firmly believe it is best when the press and the politicians they cover have a thinly veiled contempt for each other. Also, I was glad to see Trump skip the White House Correspondents Dinner, and I hope future presidents follow his lead.

    • Retired military

      Currently we have the Press hating Trump more than Hitler and loving Obama/Hillary/ INSERT Democrat here more than their own children.

    • Walter_Cronanty

      “I firmly believe it is best when the press and the politicians they cover have a thinly veiled contempt for each other.”
      You must really feel bad when a D is President.

      • pennywit

        You’d be surprised, actually. There is more tension than you’d think between Democratic politicians and the press (and I’m not just talking about Fox News). But not nearly enough of it … and I’ve never cared for the spectacle of our politicians and the press yukking it up at things like the Gridiron Club or the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

        • Walter_Cronanty

          The adoration of Obama by the MSM was indicative of its overwhelming progressive slant. It acted in a fashion that was totally unworthy of the 1st Amendment protections afforded it.
          I suppose that some major publications, like the NYT and the WaPo, have at least tacitly admitted that they are no longer trying to hide behind a shrinking fig leaf of claimed neutrality; thus, lessening their hypocrisy. But that is damning with faint praise.

          • pennywit

            A highly partisan press is actually MORE consistent with the Founders’ vision than a press that professes allegiance to neutrality.

            Of course, early in the Republic’s history, you also saw officials use patronage (in the form of government printing contracts) to reward newspapers they liked. I don’t want to see that practice return.

          • Walter_Cronanty

            “A highly partisan press is actually MORE consistent with the Founders’ vision than a press that professes allegiance to neutrality.”
            If the vast majority of the MSM admitted that they were “highly partisan,” my disdain for them would lessen.

            For example – if the WaPo would come out and state that its true goal is to get Trump out of office, no matter what it takes, then one could put its constant attacks in their proper context.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    I, too, was not a Trump supporter. But his Supreme Court nominee and his withdrawal from that loony Paris power grab/mass money redistribution scheme is enough for me to feel good about my vote – plus, Hillary still isn’t President.

    • yetanotherjohn

      That to me is the Trump presidency in a nut shell. He isn’t Hillary, Sanders or Warren and the Supreme Court Justice, Paris Treaty exit, etc are gravy. The bombast is the price to be paid for him not being one of the democrats three stooges (apologies to Larry, Moe and Curly).
      Imagine if the dems had nominated a Lloyd Bentsen or a Zell Miller in 2016. First you have to imagine a democratic party diverse enough to have either of these senators in their ranks. Second you have to imagine the members of the democratic party mature enough to accept either of them as their nominee. But once you get past those two impossible things, you are left with a third impossible thing, namely would you have voted for the democrat in a presidential election? I think I would have if at least one chamber was sure to remain in GOP hands.
      Fortunately, the left believes the answer to their defeat lies in violence and turning harder to the left, both of which strengthens the center-right.

  • Vagabond661

    Welcome aboard, Rodney.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    Reality slaps virtue signaling in the face – and another reason I’m happy with my vote:

    Virtue Signal – Back in January, right after President Donald Trump issued his original executive order on immigration, Trudeau took to social media to signal his coded response:

    “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada”.

    Reality – Thousands of people who fled to Canada to escape President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal migrants have become trapped in legal limbo because of an overburdened refugee system, struggling to find work, permanent housing or enroll their children in schools.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    And another reason I’m happy with my vote:
    “The Supreme Court is letting a limited version of the Trump administration ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

    The court said Monday the ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could be enforced as long as they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The justices will hear arguments in the case in October.

    A 120-ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a limited basis.”

    • Good news for a change!

      Also note:

      Three of the court’s conservative justices said they would have let the complete bans take effect.

      Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said the government has shown it is likely to succeed on the merits of the case, and that it will suffer irreparable harm with any interference. Thomas said the government’s interest in preserving national security outweighs any hardship to people denied entry into the country.

  • PBunyan

    The right wing’s opinion about Ronald Reagan in the early 80’s was almost exactly like the right wing’s opinion of Donald Trump today. Now the right wing considers Reagan to be one of the greatest Presidents…