I’m not big on making predictions, because they can so easily be wrong. Race horses get disqualified. Sure-thing candidates are voted out. That chalupa from the food truck turns out to not be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.
But this week I am driven to prognosticate without fear: The Republicans are going to regret unchaining this President.
From the start, President Trump has tweeted his displeasure at the idea of Congress, the Justice Department, the courts, the media or anyone else scrutinizing his behavior. He has signaled overwhelming disdain for the very concept of limited Presidential powers. He scoffs at the mention of Congressional oversight. His administration proudly proclaims its lack of interest in cooperating with pretty much anyone raising ethical, legal, or uncomfortable questions. He ridicules lawmakers who dare mention that he is simply an elected leader, not a king or dictator.
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And lately his own party has become even more complicit in fostering these attitudes. Just like Trump, many GOPers are equating any opposition to nothing more than partisan gamesmanship. The President likens demands for accountability to treason, and his party mutely sits by. Trump rails against anyone who fact checks his weekly fountain of falsehoods, and his allies – who know he is spreading fake news like weeds in spring – refuse to admit it.
Can you even recall the last time Congressional Republicans stood up in any substantial way to challenge anything Trump said or did?
I understand that political parties support their leaders, so I expect them to back his ideas about immigration, or judges, or military strength. But this is not a matter of bolstering Trump’s programs. This is, to all appearances, a political party accepting the idea of a completely unfettered Presidency; essentially a fundamental shift in the balance of powers; a rules change that would leave Congress neutered.
And of course, that’s why it’s dangerous – even for those Republicans. Because one day, perhaps soon, their party will not hold the Oval Office. And then – with the record showing they abandoned the entire concept of Presidential accountability – who will listen when they howl to get it back?