Tag Archives: checks and balances

‘I, alone … ‘ should have been given us a clue

Donald J. Trump’s time as president has lasted all of about 122 days — give or take — yet it seems like forever already.

As I look back on this man’s stunning political ascent, I am struck by one moment that I believe in hindsight should have given us a clue on what we might expect.

He stood before the Republican National Convention this past summer in Cleveland and declared that “I, alone” can repair all the things he said are ailing the country.

Setting aside for a moment or two the myriad problems that are bedeviling this man and his administration — and which might cost him his office — that particular statement suggested to me at that moment that this fellow really doesn’t get it.

He doesn’t understand one of the principal tenets of governing, which is that he is participating in a team sport. It’s so critical to understand that notion at the federal level, where the founders established a triple-layered governmental system where one branch holds no more power than the other two.

The presidency is but one branch; it must work in tandem with the Congress. Waiting in the wings to ensure that the executive and legislative branches don’t violate the Constitution are the federal courts, comprising actual judges, not the “so-called” types who render decisions that might go against whatever the president wants to do.

Donald Trump ignores political decorum, custom and practice. As some have noted, he does so either out of ignorance or does so willfully. I’ll take Trump at his word that he is a “smart person,” which means he is invoking a willful disregard for how the federal government is supposed to work.

The concept of governing by oneself does not work. It cannot work. The president is getting a real-time civics lesson in how the nation’s founders established this government of ours. He has vowed to run the country like his business. Yeah, good luck with that.

A business mogul can fire people at will. He can order underlings around, make them do this or that task. He can threaten, bully and coerce others.

When he takes the reins of the executive branch of the federal government, all of that prior experience gets thrown out the window.

How does the president tell Congress — comprising 535 individuals with constituencies and power bases of their own — to do his bidding? And how does the president actually defy the federal judiciary, which the founders established to be an independent check on every single thing the president and Congress enact?

Yes, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee gave it all away when he stood there in Cleveland and bellowed “I, alone” can fix it.

No, Mr. President. You cannot. Nor should you have ever tried.

Moreover, I believe his repeated efforts to trample over Congress and the federal courts are going to bite him hard in the backside as he seeks to defend himself against the other troubles that are threatening him.

Little to fear from Trump? Here’s why

checks balance

I’ll admit to being one of those millions of Americans who is horrified at the notion of a President Donald J. Trump.

The horror comes not so much from whether he can achieve all the idiotic policy goals he’s set out. It comes from the idea of this guy speaking his mind in public, of having his words heard around the world by people who expect high-minded rhetoric from the head of state of the world’s greatest nation.

Yep, by golly, we’re still the top dog on Planet Earth — and whatever Trump says to the contrary is just so much horse manure.

I’m going to offer, though, a view that might put your mind to rest at least a little bit over what makes some of us afraid … very afraid.

That stuff about building the wall and making Mexico pay for it? How about the notion of banning Muslims from entering the country because of their religious faith? How about the idiotic tax plan that economists say simply will not work? Or the idea that he’ll single-handedly bring jobs back that have been lost to Japan, China and Mexico?

Trump’s not going to get any of that done without help from Congress. Who controls the legislative branch of government? Republicans, that’s who.

Yes, the very Republicans who at this very moment are working overtime, behind closed doors, sweating bullets … trying like holy hell to deny Trump the presidential nomination of their party.

Imagine what might happen, thus, if they fail in their bid to deny him the nomination. Now imagine — and this is the real stretch — Trump actually defeating the Democratic nominee to become the 45th president of the United States.

The Democrats are almost certain to nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton. Sure, she’s got baggage of her own. However, she possesses a formidable political machine.

If hell freezes over and lightning strikes multiple times in the same spot — and the sun starts rising in the west — Trump could be elected.

If that happens, do you really think he’s going to have any easier of a time getting anything done in a Congress dominated by Republicans — presuming the GOP even manages to maintain control of the Senate? And that seems like a potentially tall order in any event, given the electoral matchups involving many potentially vulnerable GOP senators.

And if Democrats take back control of the Senate competing fiercely against a Republican ballot led by Donald J. Trump, well, then Trump’s myriad cockamamie ideas become even more remotely doable.

There. Do you feel better now?



No takeover is imminent

Jade Helm 15 is about to commence in Texas.

Despite what some nut jobs have put out there, the U.S. military is not about to take over the state and hand it over to international spies.

Do not listen to the goofballs who actually persuaded Gov. Greg Abbott to order the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the activities of the Army, Navy and Air Force special forces who’ll be conducting the exercises.


It’s going to be all right.

The exercise was announced some months back and the Internet then jumped to life with conspiracy theories about what it all meant to some individuals and groups. As the Dallas Morning News blogger Jim Mitchell notes, one of the nuttier notions involves the Alamo: the United Nations declared the old mission a Unesco World Heritage Site, which apparently sealed it for some. Anything that involves the U.N. has got to be bad news for Texas, they feared.

The founding fathers didn’t get it perfect when they drafted and then ratified the U.S. Constitution. One thing they got right, though, was to build in a checks-and-balances system that’s designed to prevent one branch of government from getting too powerful.

President Obama knows all of this. So does the Pentagon brass. Even the federal judiciary, which has come under fire lately because of some controversial Supreme Court rulings, understands it. Congress knows its place, too.

Let the troops come to Texas to conduct their exercises.

It’s going to be OK. Honest.