Lately, the liberal media has had two mutually-exclusive narratives on Donald Trump going at once. The first is that he’s what Keith Olbermann calls a “dictator in training” who runs roughshod over American liberties and our system of government with his executive orders and his disdain for the press. The second is that he’s failed in his responsibilities as a leader, instead kicking important legislative matters to Congress. Um…those two don’t go together, guys…
The truth is that the second narrative is closer to reality, although we wouldn’t say that deferring to Congress makes President Trump any less of a leader. Quite the contrary. It makes him beholden and respectful to the Constitution. We admit, that takes some getting used to, considering what we saw for the last eight years. And in fact, the broadening of the powers of the president has been a phenomenon happening for decades, through many chief executives from both parties. One of the biggest hopes we had for the Trump administration is that he would begin the slow and painful process of giving up some of that power, putting it back where it belongs on Capitol Hill. And from everything we’ve seen thus far this year, he’s tried to do just that.
Yes, President Trump has signed many executive orders since taking office in January, but it’s important to realize that the majority of those orders did nothing more or less than roll back the ones signed by Obama. From that perspective, even Trump’s use of unilateral executive power has been in service of restoring our constitutional democracy after eight years of Obama’s tarnishing influence. Other than that, we have orders like the travel ban, which were wholly and indisputably within the scope of the president’s constitutionally-prescribed role. (Don’t tell the liberal judges on the West Coast.)
So we arrive at the present. On Friday, President Trump decided to end his predecessors unlawful attempt to keep the Affordable Care Act afloat through a system of federal grants to the insurance industry. Already declared unconstitutional by a federal court, this $1 trillion giveaway had no precedent in American law. Trump’s decision now forces Congress to take another look at repealing, replacing, or at least FIXING the ACA, because the markets will no longer be illegally subsidized by the executive branch. That’s not the work of a dictator – that’s the work of someone who actually respects our government system of checks and balances.
And so it also is with the Iran deal. Obama didn’t bother to go to Congress to seek approval for this deal, so Trump would have been within his rights to take the U.S. out of the agreement altogether. Instead, he merely chose not to re-certify Iran’s compliance, sending the matter to Congress for further review. This is not an abdication of his presidential responsibilities, this is a recognition of what those responsibilities are and WHERE they should end.
Conservatives – even those who are furious over the ineptitude of this Congress – should be cheering Trump’s moves to share the balance of power with America’s proper lawmakers.