The Corner

Politics & Policy

We’ll Regret This

President Trump delivers a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office about immigration and the border, January 8, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Mitch McConnell says the president will sign the budget deal and he will also declare a national emergency to build the wall, as I expected.

We’ll see the legal justifications he uses, but as a political and constitutional matter this is a long-term disaster. Oh, it might be good for Trump according to the metrics he cares about. But it will also be good for Democrats. That was my argument all along: The incentive structure on both sides made the declaration all but inevitable. Trump gets to say he fights. The fact that courts will likely stymie much from being done will give Trump the issue of the wall (and those horrible liberal judges), which he cares about more than the wall itself. It will absolve Republicans from most of the criticism that would have been heaped on them for having done next to nothing until now. And it will allow the Democrats to turn up the volume on Trump’s supposedly dictatorial and democratic-norm-bending tendencies.

The simple fact is that failing to get the budget you want from Congress isn’t a national emergency, regardless of how much you invoke national security and talk about invasion. And it is palpably obvious that most of the people cheering the news aren’t relieved that a pressing national-security threat is about to be averted. They’re cheering because they see this as a political triumph for the president. Again, the lack of a political triumph for a president isn’t a national emergency.

Meanwhile, this is a long-term gift to progressives. They hate the Senate’s legislative filibuster and now they have an easily exploitable precedent to declare an emergency when some future Democratic president doesn’t get what she or he wants from Congress and invokes the exact arguments already being used to justify the Green New Deal. Climate change is the new “moral equivalent of war” for progressives — and they believe it. What will senate minority leader Mitch McConnell say in opposition to a future emergency declaration beyond “The wall was different”? Good luck with that.

Nancy Pelosi just minutes ago, said “The Republicans should have some dismay about the door they are opening, the threshold they are crossing. She isn’t thinking Green New Deal, she’s thinking guns. But whatever.

I’m reminded of a line from Democratic senator Alan Cranston in 1973 during the Watergate hearings.“Those who tried to warn us back at the beginning of the New Deal of the dangers of one-man rule that lay ahead on the path we were taking toward strong, centralized government may not have been so wrong.” I fear Republicans won’t have to wait 40 years to come to similar realization.

And here’s Paul Begala:

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Yes, They Are Coming for Your Guns

At the Democratic-primary debate in Houston last night, Beto O’Rourke formally killed off one of the gun-control movement’s favorite taunts: The famous “Nobody is coming for your guns, wingnut.” Asked bluntly whether he was proposing confiscation, O’Rourke abandoned the disingenuous euphemisms that have ... Read More
White House

Politico Doubles Down on Fake Turnberry Scandal

It's tough to be an investigative reporter. Everybody who feeds you a tip has an axe to grind. Or, alternatively, you find yourself going, "I wonder if . . . ?" You put in your research, you talk to lots of people, you accumulate a huge pile of information, but you still haven't proved your hypothesis. A wise ... Read More
Culture

Four Cheers for Incandescent Light Bulbs

It brought me much -- indeed, too much -- joy to hear of the Trump administration's rollback of restrictions on incandescent light bulbs, even if the ban will remain in place. The LED bulbs are terrible. They give off a pitiable, dim, and altogether underwhelming "glow," one that never matched the raw (if ... Read More