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.

By JONAH GOLDBERG, the Stream

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