I get it. Trump did so in Trumpspeak, using Twitter and acting like a child who was just told he couldn’t have dessert. But the point is, as is typical now, I’m seeing reactions that suggest we are on the verge of a constitutional crisis because our president has dared go against the court.
Again, I understand. We were all shocked by Trump’s sudden revelation that the courts are there in order to provide a counter to the other branches. When he did that, I asked my boys why the courts can rule on legislation. “Wasn’t that Marbury vs. Madison?”, they answered. Maybe they should advise Trump.
The NY piece is the problem. It glosses over Obama’s stunning 2010 rebuke against the court. That was no small thing. In the day, I remember liberal pundits doing a Rodney Dangerfield with their collars as they tried to put the best spin on Obama’s, not only rebuke, but virtually unprecedented use of the State of the Union to do so. Consider the NYT take (and that from a source hardly antagonistic toward Obama):
It is not unusual for presidents to disagree publicly with Supreme Court decisions. But they tend to do so at news conferences and in written statements, not to the justices’ faces.
The sharp attack from the president, echoing those of other Democrats and their allies, suggested that the left has found a decision to rail against, even if there is not much that can be done about it.
“Not to the justices’ faces”, “The sharp attack.” In Times talk, that’s admitting to a pretty stunning turn of behavior from Obama. But compare that to this piece in the NY:
How sweet. As if there was barely anything worth noticing when it happened. Just Obama being awesome and, according to the piece, justified.
Obama acknowledged this norm in his carefully worded rebuke … Obama prefaced his remarks with a nod to the legitimacy of the court’s power, and then called on legislators to pass reforms that might mitigate the substantive harms of the Citizens United ruling.
Did Obama cause a Constitutional crisis? No. But it sent shock waves through the political discourse nonetheless. Conservatives objected, saying that Obama was out of line, challenging the role of the judiciary. And even Obama’s staunchest supporters could do little more than assure us that while it was shocking, it was nothing other than trying to right a wrong that the Court had committed.
Yes, Trump was out of the ballpark in his stunning disregard (or ignorance) of the role of the judiciary. And yet, once more, we have Trump merely doing in Trumptalk what we’ve already witnessed ourselves lurching towards in the first place. Those laughingly saying ‘this time we have reason to impeach Trump’ should have been making the same warnings when Obama did it, albeit in an Ivy league cant.
All Trump is doing now is a schoolyard bully version of what Obama did as a Dean’s list teacher’s pet.
Oh, and don’t for a minute think it all started with Obama. Just ask FDR about packing courts to circumvent the judiciary’s role. Criticize all we want. And Trump deserves much criticism, if not out right laughter, for his ignorance and boorish responses. But we also see the problem when the critics seize upon every gaffe and failure as ‘Impeach Trump! We’re all going to die!’ Especially if, to do so, they must rewrite the history to say ‘because for the first 240 years, the universe was a beautiful place, and everyone was happy and awesome, but now!!!!’
Then we’re stuck between two sides, one perhaps more flagrant than the other, but both ready to be wrong for the cause. And if everything becomes #impeachmentnow, eventually nothing will. Because those all important Independents and fence sitters eventually will grow tired of hearing the same hysterics on a thrice daily basis. Remember the Clinton years? Democrats should learn from the GOP’s mistakes, not think that this time they are justified in repeating them.