With the Mueller investigation discredited, Frank Bruni suddenly realizes that Trump used America’s winner-take-all system to enact conservative policies.
Frank Bruni’s latest opinion piece at the New York Times — Robert Mueller, You’re Starting To Scare Me — is a fascinating window into the Progressives’ narcissistic mindset. Superficially, the column has a single point: the Mueller investigation is sucking so much oxygen out of the room that nobody is paying attention to what Trump is actually doing. In reality, though, it presents a world in which there can be only one point of view and one way to do things. All other viewpoints aren’t just different, they are unacceptable, even in a two-party democratic republic.
Before I get to the “Trumpian horrors” that Bruni lists, I want to take a minute to comment on his overarching thesis (that Mueller’s investigation sucked all the available oxygen out of D.C.’s news reporting). Much as it pains me to agree with Bruni, I have to. He’s perfectly correct that the Leftist media’s obsessive focus on the elusive Russian collusion theory has left them without time or energy to talk about the other things that Trump is doing.
However, while I’m always happy to blame Mueller for lots of things, the reality is that the silence on Trump’s other activities isn’t Mueller’s fault; it’s the media’s fault. Just see my reference, above, to the media’s “obsessive focus” on Mueller. Nobody is making them devote 90% of their time to that story; it’s their choice.
Bruni’s plaint probably explains why Trump didn’t exercise more executive authority over the past year to constrain the Mueller investigation. It wasn’t just the bad optics of doing so or the fact that Trump is a law-abiding executive and therefore was unwilling to interfere with a process he knew would reveal him to be innocent anyway. It probably suited Trump just fine to have the media off screaming about Mueller’s investigation, leaving him free to govern.
Just because Mueller is right about his major thesis, though, doesn’t mean he’s right about the minor thesis, which is that Trump has been committing governing atrocities all over the place. Apropos governing atrocities, when I think of them, I think of acts that violate the Constitution or the law of the United States. Some examples would be (1) allowing administrative agencies to legislate, as was the case with Obama’s HHS and EPA mandates; (2) weaponizing the IRS to shut down conservative groups during an election year; (3) spying on reporters; (4) entering into multi-million and billion dollar deals with foreign governments (the Paris Accord and the Iran Deal) without getting Congressional approval; (5) going into war in Libya without Congressional approval; (6) illegal gun-running into Mexico; (8) unilaterally changing Congressionally-legislated immigration laws to align with the Democrat Party platform, etc.
In all the examples I mentioned above, the problem for me is not that I disagreed with Obama’s policies. That’s a given, because Obama comes from a political ideology I oppose and, with him in the White House, I knew that his executive acts would run counter to my desires. However, that’s the way things happen in a “winner takes all” two-party democratic republic. The real problem for me is that each of the above acts exceeded Obama’s executive power under the Constitution or out-and-out violated federal laws. It’s one thing for an executive to pursue legal and constitutional ends that jive with his political ideology, even if I disagree with that ideology; it’s another thing entirely for him to go rogue. Continue reading