Over the years, I’ve often imagined that somewhere in Washington, maybe hidden under the Capitol dome, there’s a big switch, like the one in the lab in Frankenstein movies. Whenever the Party in power in the White House changes over, someone throws that switch, and immediately, all the standards change to the exact opposite of whatever they’ve been for the previous four to eight years.
Just a few of many examples: Under Democrats, the homeless problem disappears from the news. (Switch!) This uncompassionate Republican President is entirely to blame for the homeless population, even though they were there before he ever got the job…Bush was a “war criminal” for ordering bombing in the Middle East. (Switch!) Obama could order drone strikes that would kill dozens of innocent people and nobody cared…Obama built illegal immigrant detention centers on the border. Democrats yawned. (Switch!) Trump puts children in CAGES!...Obama weaponized government agencies against his political opposition and hey, they had it coming. (Switch!) Trump made a phone call and mentioned the guy who might be running against him in two years. IMPEACH HIM!!
The greatest example may be Hillary Clinton sucking up to Vladimir Putin, then (Switch!) becoming the biggest Russia hawk since Joe McCarthy after losing the election. Democrats who’d spent decades as Russia apologists suddenly started snarkily calling Trump voters “Ivan” and blaming Hillary’s loss on Russian skulduggery instead of her horrible record, awful personality and open contempt for the American people. What made this the ultimate metaphor for the changing double standard is that before the switch, Hillary once brandished a red “Reset” button prop to kowtow to Russia – an actual, physical “switch!”
I bring all this up because we have a new example of “The Switch” that rivals even Hillary’s “switch” from Putin sycophant to 1950’s style Russkie baiter. Throughout the Obama Administration, on my radio and TV shows, I chronicled Obama’s habit of legislating via executive order. Few in the Democratic Party or the media seemed to care, and even Republicans declined to challenge him, beyond public complaining. As one of Obama’s aides put it, “Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Pretty cool.”
Except it wasn’t cool: it was plainly unconstitutional. Duties like making immigration law or ratifying treaties are specifically reserved for the people's elected representatives in Congress. Then Trump was elected, and (Switch!) suddenly, the President had no power to issue executive orders. Every EO was challenged in court. He dosen’t even have the power to rescind an Obama executive order (DACA) that Obama repeatedly admitted he had no power to create before he did it anyway.
And then came this weekend’s executive orders to extend coronavirus relief when Congress deadlocked (remember, Obama justified his DACA order by claiming that if Congress wouldn’t act, he had to.) And what was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reaction? She was fine with Obama's end-runs around Congress, but now, she’s threatening a legal challenge because Trump's orders are “Absurdly unconstitutional!” (FYI: Trump had the DOJ vet his orders and determine that they are constitutional under the President’s power to allocate relief funds in the case of natural disasters.)
So (Switch!) now, the Constitution that was ignored for eight years suddenly must be followed to the letter, according to Nancy Pelosi. How long do you think it will take for the switch to be flipped back the other way if Joe Biden is (shudder!) elected President? Considering that he’s vowed to reverse Trump’s protections of First Amendment religious liberties in his first week in office, I think we all know the answer to that.