• A Radical Fix for Washington: Have Congress Do Its Job
    If Congress performed more of the tasks assigned to it by the Constitution, it also would feel compelled to act more responsibly

    ILLUSTRATION: ALEX NABAUM
    By Gerald F. Seib
    May 17, 2018 11:29 a.m. ET

    Here’s a simple yet radical thought on how to fix much of what ails Washington: Have Congress do its job.

    When attempting to explain the myriad problems that plague the nation’s capital, people talk of partisanship, polarization and a White House in perpetual chaos—and there’s certainly plenty of all that to go around. Yet every one of those problems is exacerbated by the way Congress has abdicated or shirked its duties.

    Maybe, just maybe, if Congress accepted and performed more of the tasks assigned to it by the Constitution, it also would feel compelled to act more responsibly—to find the compromise, to overcome the partisanship, to reach the durable solution. Like the young adult who leaves home and suddenly has to live with the consequences of his or her own actions, it would have to start doing the mature thing.

    Instead, we often are living with the opposite. For years, Congress has punted its Constitutional responsibilities down Pennsylvania Avenue to the president. It’s often unable to perform its most basic function, which is to pass spending bills, instead resorting to giant catchall spending measures that nobody has read and that leave the executive branch to fill in many policy blanks. In a similar illustration of its problems, a House crippled by intramural feuding on Friday failed to pass a farm bill, another piece of core legislation.

    On problem after problem, in other words, Congress has said in effect, “We’re not responsible”—which only liberates it to act irresponsibly. Read more …

  • Very interesting theory on Trump’s Success

     

    The mayor of Livermore California explains Trump’s popularity and success.   This is perhaps the best explanation for Trump’s popularity ….

    Marshall Kamena is a registered Democrat and was elected mayor of Livermore, CA.. He ran on the democratic ticket as he knew a Bay Area city would never vote for a Republican. He is as conservative as they come. He wrote the following:

    Trump’s ‘lack of decorum, dignity, and statesmanship’ By Marshall Kamena, Mayor of Livermore, CA.

    My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.”

    Here’s my answer: We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency.

    We tried statesmanship.

    Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain?

    We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney?

    And the results were always the same. This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob. Read more …

  • The question is why this high-energy president seems to have fallen for the media claim that his only proactive course is to fire Mr. Mueller. It isn’t. There are two very bold actions the Trump White House could take to reset the Russia dynamic. Both would aid Mr. Trump’s presidency and serve the executive branch and the public in the longer term.

    The first is an abrupt overhaul of the president’s legal team and strategy. Mr. Trump has talented lawyers, but not ones skilled at confronting the threat at hand. They continue to fret over his personal liability, when the real threat is to the Constitution—to this presidency and every future one. Mr. Mueller is by all accounts now focused on obstruction of justice. Mr. Trump needs constitutional powerhouses who can swiftly take that issue off the table.

    Read more …

  • Trump Keeps His Predecessors’ Promises

    He’s not the first to argue for tariffs, border security and an embassy move—only the first to deliver.

    President Donald Trump at the White House on March 22 shows a presidential memorandum targeting China's economic aggression.
    President Donald Trump at the White House on March 22 shows a presidential memorandum targeting China’s economic aggression. PHOTO:ANDREW HARRER/BLOOMBERG

    In response to Donald Trump’s election, Democrats have suddenly rediscovered the blue-collar voters and middle-class households left behind by technological innovation and global trade. Like a penitent fasting during Lent, liberal statesmen have confessed that they didn’t spend enough taxpayer money on new redistributive programs. If only they had done more of what they had wanted to do in the first place.

    What else could explain the sudden rise of supposedly nativist, protectionist and isolationist forces? Or Mr. Trump’s victory, which the self-proclaimed experts failed to predict? In this case America’s elites are uncharacteristically too humble: They do not give themselves enough credit for the politics they helped create.

    Mr. Trump’s populism is the direct result of the establishment’s hypocrisy. He is implementing policies that more-mainstream figures from both political parties have promised for years but then failed to accomplish. In this way, they built the demand for the actions they now denounce as destructive and even racist. Moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, pushing back against China’s unfair trade practices, securing the border—aren’t those are just empty campaign promises? No candidate thinks he can actually get them done, right? Somebody forgot to tell Mr. Trump.

    Read more …

  • Last fall, Oprah Winfrey spoke with 14 Michigan voters, seven of whom voted for Donald Trump. Winfrey sat down with the voters again to get their thoughts on Trump’s first year in office Read more …

  • The GOP’s Gun Temptation

    In Parkland’s wake, Trump and Rubio flirt with feel-good but ineffective solutions.

    Protestors gather at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee to push for stricter gun regulation, Feb. 21.
    Protestors gather at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee to push for stricter gun regulation, Feb. 21. PHOTO: COLIN ABBEY/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERS/EPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

    Republicans have held the political high ground on gun rights for decades, and they’ve done it by sticking together and sticking to the facts. Nothing will lose them that credibility faster than if they jump on the false-hope bandwagon.

    The Parkland, Fla., school shooting is rightly causing a new national debate. With astounding cynicism, Democrats rushed to capitalize on dead teens, while ineffectually dragging out the same fatigued arguments they’ve been making since the Clinton era. They are back again with the “assault weapons” cry—calling for an arbitrary ban on a handful of scary-looking guns, when millions of other firearms can kill just as efficiently. (The 1994 assault-weapon ban was still in effect at the time of the 1999 Columbine massacre.) They are back again with confiscation, even though they know it’s a nonstarter with the Supreme Court and the public. The Parkland community deserves real policy proposals, not more empty posturing.

    The GOP has excelled in recent decades in pointing out the barrenness of this gun-control agenda with statistics and common sense. And they’ve pointed out the unifying thread behind these mass-shooting events: mental illness. Former Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy spent three years pushing legislation to overhaul and bring accountability to federal mental-health programs, and President Obama finally signed it in December 2016.

    Read more …

  • Release the FISA Documents

    The public deserves to see the full record on the FBI wiretap request.

    Carter Page speaks with reporters following a day of questions from the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 2, 2017.
    Carter Page speaks with reporters following a day of questions from the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 2, 2017. PHOTO: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Trump Friday refused to declassify the Democratic memo on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), sending it back for negotiation with the Justice Department over intelligence sources and methods. This intelligence memo feud has become a frustrating political back and forth that needs to be trumped with more transparency.

    Mr. Trump claimed in a tweet on Saturday that Democrats laid a trap with their 10-page memo, deliberately adding classified material that they knew “would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency.” That may be true, but it worked. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quickly sent out a statement, “what is he hiding?”

    Our sources say the Democratic memo—six pages longer than the GOP version released a week ago—has three main themes. The first argues for the credibility of Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the dossier that the FBI used as the bulk of its justification for a wiretap on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The second is that the FBI had good reason to surveil Mr. Page, and third is that the GOP memo is partisan.

    Read more …

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