Current Opinion, Here & There

The shabbiest U.S. president ever is an inexpressibly sad specimen—George Will, WASHINGTON POST

Trump Tries to Destroy, and Justice Roberts Tries to Save, What Makes America Great

Thomas Friedman, NY Times —Our institutions give us strength. Fortunately, people with civic courage are working to protect them.

NY Times, Maureen Dowd—By the time he was in his 40s, Donnie’s allowance was more than $5 million annually. No wonder he’s still an infant.

The Way to End the Standoff

WASHINGTON POST, Dov Weinyb Grohsgal—When it comes to legislation passed by Congress and sent to the president, the framers of the Constitution provided three options: The president can sign it, in which case it becomes law. The president can veto it, in which case it fails, unless Congress overrides the veto. Or a bill can become law through presidential inaction. Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution lays out the president’s role in legislation, including this provision: “If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he signed it.” (Section 7 is associated with a better-known practice, the pocket veto.   In that case, if the president receives a bill but Congress adjourns during the 10-day period while the legislation awaits a signature, the legislation fails.) Trump Tweet, 6:05 am, Jan 12—Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze! In response to a NY Times headline:

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working For Russia

David Brooks, NYTImes—Corporations, Then and Now.these days corporations see themselves as serving one purpose and one stakeholder — maximizing shareholder value. Activist investors demand that every company ruthlessly cut the cost of its employees and ruthlessly screw its hometown if it will raise the short-term stock price.

Peggy Noonan, WSJ—On Political Correctness...We have seen the political correctness of the social-justice warriors sweep the universities, hounding out those who would speak from an incorrect perspective, decreeing new rules of language and living. They do not understand that when you tell people, especially Americans, what they can and cannot say, can and cannot think, they don’t stop saying and thinking. They go underground, sometimes to the depths. And it is dark down there.

John Kass, Chicago Tribune—Donald, Chuck and Nancy...and so here we are, with Republican President Donald Trump and his two Democratic foils, seemingly trying to make sausage in public but making a steaming hash of it all.

Houston Chronicle, Editorial—Cruz, Cronyn and Trump…Too bad he (Cruz) and Cornyn weren’t taking advantage of their time with Trump to persuade him to end the government shutdown he has orchestrated to get Democrats — and some moderate Republicans — to bow to his wishes. Conservatives who accused President Barack Obama of acting like a king are ignoring Trump’s abuse of power to get his way on the wall.At least some Republicans representing border districts are speaking up. Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said he opposes an emergency declaration to build the wall. Rep. Will Hurd, whose district includes 820 miles along the border, has repeatedly spoken out against the wall. Paul Krugman, NYTimes—The Wall Standoff...How did we get into this sorry situation? A meltdown of this magnitude typically has many causes. In this case, the president’s inability to reach some sort of deal rests heavily on several basic failures of understanding by he and his team. These include:

1. A failure to grasp how divided government works. The president somehow came to believe that he’d have more leverage once the Democrats took control of the House…

2. A failure to understand the costs of playing only to the base…

3. A failure to understand Nancy Pelosi…

4. A failure to understand shutdown politics…

5. A failure to understand how the government works…

6. A failure to understand how members of Congress operate.