The secret power of an American President

The Framers separated the power of the federal government into three branches for a number of different reasons.  In part, it was a way for a rogue President, Congress, or Supreme Court to be held in check by the other two branches.

The check on the power of the President and the Supreme Court is the Congressional power of impeachment.  There is no equivalent check on the power of Congress.  Congressmen can’t be recalled, and they can’t be impeached.  Presidential vetoes can be overridden.  And the Supreme Court is institutionally incapable of restraining a determined Congress.  Search “the switch in time that saved nine.”

Under Article V, the states do have the authority to control Congress, but they successfully used it only once, when the states forced it to pass the 17th Amendment.  The language of Article V contains no reference to the President, so he has no role to play.

Or does he?

As he runs for reelection, Trump will be forced to address the issue of trillion dollar annual deficits and a $22 trillion national debt.  What’s his plan to fix it?  If he couldn’t do anything with a Republican Congress for at least two years, why should anyone believe he’ll do anything about it in a second term?

We know what he wants  —  the line item veto.  But that requires an amendment to the Constitution, which Congress will never propose.  What’s he to do?

He could go to the six Republican-controlled state legislatures that have not passed an Article V Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution, and ask for these Republican state legislators to give him a line item veto.  They wouldn’t say no.  They’re the most pro-Trump politicians in the country.

Part of the problem with campaigning for a Balanced Budget Amendment is that nobody knows what it would look like.  Once the Amendment Convention is called, they can propose any amendment that helps balance the budget.

President Trump can make clear that he is only campaigning and supporting a line item veto.  That, in itself, will be sufficient.  He can make clear that he will work to assure ratification of the line item veto.  Not necessarily for anything else.

For the President’s secret power is political, not legal or constitutional.  He is the leader of the country.  He has the ability to explain Article V to the people, and describe how it is the only constitutional means to rein in Congress.

If the Democrats take the House, the logic of this argument becomes overwhelming.  Like Truman in 1948, he can run against Congress, and for the use of Article V to bring it under control.

And everybody hates Congress.

The secret pleasures of the Rosenstein mob

From The Bonfire of the Vanities:

An excellent feeling came over Kramer, in every cell and every neural fiber.  In that instant, the instant of that little swallow, his scuffed attache’ case meant nothing, nor did his clodhopper shoes nor his cheap suit nor his measly salary nor his New York accent nor his barbarisms and solecisms of speech.  For in that moment he had something that these Wasp counselors, these immaculate Wall Street partners from the universe of Currys & Goads & Pesteralls & Dunnings and Spongets and Leaches would never know and never feel the inexpressible pleasure of possessing.   And they would remain silent and polite in the face of it, as they were right now, and they would swallow in fear when and if their time came.  And he now understood what it was that gave him a momentary lift each morning as he saw the grand island fortress rise at the crest of the Grand Concourse from the gloom of the Bronx.   For it was nothing less than the Power, the same Power to which Abe Weiss himself was totally given over.  It was the power of the government over the freedom of its subjects.  To think of it in the abstract made it seem so theoretical and academic, but to feel it  —  to see the looks on their faces  —  as they stare back at you, courier and conduit of the Power  —  Arthur Rivera, Jimmy Dollard, Herbert 92X and the guy called Pimp  —  even them  —  and now to see that little swallow of fright in a perfect neck worth millions  —  well, the poet has never sung of that ecstasy or even dreamed of it, and no prosecutor, no judge, no cop, no income tax auditor will ever enlighten him, for we dare not even mention it to one another, do we?  —  and yet we feel it and we know it every time they look at us with those eyes that beg for mercy or, if not mercy, Lord, dumb luck or capricious generosity.  (Just one break!)   What are all the limestone facades of Fifth Avenue and all the marble halls and stuffed leather libraries and all the riches of Wall Street in the face of my control of your destiny and your helplessness in the face of the Power?

Lawyers vs. the Constitution

To the left, the Constitution is the enemy of progress.  Progress comes from government, and because the Constitution puts limits on government it stops progress.

This was all explained to me in a mandatory course for first year students at UCLA Law in 1971.  It was called, “Law, Lawyers and Social Change” and it was pure left wing political propaganda.  It was the only “D” I got in law school.

I’ve been waiting 50 years for the worm to turn, and at last it has.  Thanks to Trump the Improbable, and especially to Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society.  Since 1982 they’ve been working to  turn the Supreme Court around.  They’ve had to fight most of the legal profession the whole way.  With Kavanaugh, they achieve their highest goal.

They made a difference.

A useful fiction is not a lie

Saying something that isn’t true isn’t necessarily a lie.  I used to tell my grandmother that she was the best cook ever.  That wasn’t true, but it wasn’t a lie.  My grandmother knew it wasn’t true, and she knew I didn’t really believe it, but that didn’t make it a real lie.  It was a white lie, or, more precisely, bullshit.

A real lie is when you deliberately tell a falsehood, with the intention to deceive.

Trump didn’t want a pointless public confrontation with Trump, so he refused to acknowledge that the Russians were messing in our 2016 election.  He refused to call Putin a liar to his face.  That wasn’t a lie.  It was a useful diplomatic fiction.

Treason is what the Mueller/Rosenstein cabal did when they tried to set President Trump up.  By coming up with their indictment of the 12 Russians when they did, they were setting up the question which Trump was asked.

Why?  What were they trying to accomplish?  They wanted to blow up the summit.  They wanted to interfere with the President of the United States as he makes and conducts our foreign policy.

That sounds like treason to me.

 

Repeal Roe, and revive the Republican Party in California

I’ve lived in California for 40 years.  Both of my diplomas from the University bear Governor Ronald Reagan’s signature.  I’ve studied California politics since I was in high school.  For the first time in 20 years, I see hope.

There is one issue which has made Republicans unelectable here:  abortion.   Before Roe v. Wade, Republicans had a chance.  But once every vote for a Republican became a vote to overturn Roe, the Republicans no longer had a prayer.  Since Republicans became the anti-abortion party, California women  —  liberal and conservative  —  will not vote for them.

After Roe, the Moral Majority was formed, and became the new core Republican vote.  People in California were appalled by Jerry Falwell and the other Bible thumpers who joined the Republicans.  And that was all about abortion, and Roe v. Wade.

Some one in California needs to start an initiative campaign to put a pro-choice plank in the California Constitution.  Once Roe is overturned, each state will have its own abortion law.  California will already have one, in the Constitution.

Once Roe is overturned, abortion is no longer a live political issue in California.  California will have the most liberal abortion law in the country.  It will be settled law, and no longer a political issue.

And with abortion off the table (and the Moral Majority with it) the Republicans can compete in California.  During the decades of their one party rule, the Democrats have become hostages to their extreme left.  A no nonsense Republican will have a chance.