Listen to me on KTRS/St. Louis Mondays and Fridays, 3-6pm CT

Monday, February 06, 2017

Best Thing I've Read Today

Tom Nichols explains why Trump-haters and even media outlets have to stop being outraged when he does the kind of things every president does upon taking office, from firing political appointees, to issuing executive orders, to changing the board members of Voice Of America:

There is plenty of fuel for the president’s critics in these actions, yet Trump’s opponents — especially in the media — seem determined to overreact on even ordinary matters. This is both unwise and damaging to our political culture. America needs an adversarial press and a sturdy system of checks and balances. Unmodulated shock and outrage, however, not only burn precious credibility among the president’s opponents, but eventually will exhaust the public and increase the already staggering amount of cynicism paralyzing our national political life.

Much of this anxiety is rooted in the public’s tragic ignorance of civics and government. For younger Americans, this is somewhat understandable. They may have no firm memory of any president taking office other than Obama, and it’s unlikely that they were overly concerned with the statutory membership of the National Security Council eight years ago. Even citizens who remember earlier transitions would have to go back to the chaos of the 2000 election to recall a more divisive transfer of power.
Later, Nichols adds:
The abuse of presidential power is a continuing risk in a system of separated powers, requiring the greatest vigilance on the part of the media, Congress and ordinary citizens.

But a continual state of panic serves no purpose and will eventually numb voters and their institutions to real threats when they inevitably arise. Trump is, without doubt, the most unusual chief executive in American history. He has promised to do many things, some of which are almost certainly impossible and a few of which are probably unconstitutional. In the meantime, he won his election fairly — as determined by the electoral college and certified by Congress — and he is thus mandated to staff and run a superpower.

Whether he will do so wisely or constitutionally remains to be seen, but the legitimate concerns of the president’s critics are not well served by attacking the normal functions of the executive branch merely because those powers are being exercised by someone they oppose.
Read Nichols' full piece here.