Last week New York Magazine published an article that exposes the blatant hypocrisy of the American Left in a way no conservative column ever could. In a piece titled “Don’t Forget George W. Bush Had Authoritarian Tendencies, Too,” writer Ed Kilgore writes that “the good news is that many of the same forces that helped rein in Bush are at hand today, and Trump’s open contempt for norms has put them on high alert.” Kilgore’s entire article is dedicated to pointing-out how Republican presidents are tyrants, dating at least back to Richard Nixon. There is no mention in his piece about President Clinton keeping F.B.I. Files on his political enemies, or that President Obama allowed the I.R.S. to single-out conservative groups for undue scrutiny.
It’s an amazing phenomenon to behold when the Left’s selective memory machine kicks-in. They wax poetic about preserving the Republic, and the near-perfection of our constitutional system, and then they clobber the Constitution when they gain control. After eight years of President Obama governing with his “pen and his phone,” to the point that even liberal law professor Jonathan Turley said that Obama has “become the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid,” it is rich that writers like Kilgore look to Bush for evidence of tyranny.
The American Presidency has become too powerful, and this is true regardless of which party is in power. Congress has removed itself from its messy, albeit constitutional, role of writing law. Fearing political fall-out that may jeopardize reelection, Congress now passes largely symbolic pieces of legislation, or legislation that doesn’t fully flesh-out how a law should be implemented (think healthcare and banking regulations), which gives too much leeway to federal agencies that then write thousands of pages of regulatory code and claim that Congress authorized it. The abdication of the legislative has aided the rise of the executive. Courts then overstep their bounds in their ongoing feud with the executive, and yet Congress does nothing to reign them in, either.
Congress is responsible for this trend toward an imperial presidency, but to claim that only Republican presidents are too powerful is ludicrous. President Bush’s use of executive orders paled in comparison to Obama’s, and the Left said not a word. From unilaterally changing immigration policy to imposing regulations on public school restrooms, the Obama Administration issued edicts more than orders. Liberals in the media praised their thoughtful president, without ever giving thought to what would happen when a Republican occupied an Oval Office with so many usurped powers.
Liberals and conservatives, alike, should always worry about maintaining the separation of powers that is the cornerstone of our Republic, but liberals live in a glass house on this issue and shouldn’t throw stones. If Ed Kilgore, Chuck Todd, Nancy Pelosi, and other liberal leaders want to see the source of their newfound fear, they should look in the mirror before they go start pointing fingers at George W. Bush.
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