Monday, January 2, 2017

No, Mr. President. Don't Do It

The latest flap is the idea that President Obama might put his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, on the Supreme Court during the five minutes between the moment of "intercessionary recess" of the Senate between the last gavel of the 114th Congress and the first gavel of the new 115th Congress.

That's because the president has the power to appoint federal officers temporarily without the advice and consent of the Senate when the Senate is in recess.

You can go read the article at the Washington Times where the experts hash over whether this gambit would work. Apparently Teddy Roosevelt tried it in 1903, although not with a Supreme Court appointment.

I guess my reaction would be: Go ahead, Mr. President, Make My Day.

Because this sort of in-your-face phoning and penning from President Obama destroys the comity between the parties and between the lefty culture and the righty culture. It makes us mad. And it takes us another notch towards civil war.

Think that's a bit overdrawn? Maybe. But my Greek-American friend George Maroutsos explained it all to me years ago. It was during the aftermath of the Greek colonels episode from 1969-74 when democracy had been restored to Greece. The key, George explained, was that both the left-wing party should lose an election and give up power to the right-wing party, and that the right-wing party should lose an election and give up power to the left-wing party. That would prove that both parties accepted the right of the other party to exist.

The problem with Obama's executive actions and his transition ukases like putting vast areas of the continental shelf off-limits to exploration and declaring huge parts of Utah as a National Monument -- not to mention Harry Reid's gambit to prevent the use of the filibuster to oppose most federal nominations -- is that it signals to the other side that "these guys will pull every trick in the book" to get their way.

My judgement on the left is that they believe that the rules don't apply to them because they are on the right side of history and represent the oppressed and the marginalized that have been exploited and kept out of the full enjoyment of their human rights. So it is right and proper that young Obamas should act as community organizers and lead the people into the streets in "peaceful protest."

The left might have had a point, back in the day when the workers didn't have the vote, back in the day when Jim Crow disfranchised the blacks of the South.

But the whole point of votes and elections and legislatures is that every significant voice gets heard. So there is no warrant to take to the streets to advertise your grievance. Instead, you can form a committee and talk to your local representative. Mostly, representatives are very responsive to organized committees because they understand that organized groups tend to swing weight at the next election.

The problem with our liberal friends is that their whole political ideology says that only they are on the right side of history, and only they have the right to protest and to demonstrate. If anyone else does it it's fascism.

I'm here to tell my liberal friends that it is this liberal attitude that has brought us Trump. If you are an ordinary middle-class person that doesn't fit into the magic circle of "traditionally marginalized groups," then liberals don't care about people like you. Eventually, you get the message and vote for Trump.

So if President Obama pulls a trick and puts Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court for the next two years, then it will just firm up the growing sentiment in non-liberal America: no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Look, it's right there in the iterated Prisoners Dilemma. You trust everyone the first time, and keep trusting them as long as their actions are trustworthy. But as soon as a counterparty "defects" you stop trusting them. Period.

That is something that our liberal friends don't seem to understand.

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