Today’s GOP: Forget principle, ignore the separation of powers. The important goals are to divert military funds and seize private property if it helps the GOP.
The border wall debate is a reminder that Republicans have largely abandoned any semblance of principles in support of Trump and partisanship. During the last administration, Republicans screamed about Obama’s use – they called it abuse – of executive authority. That was then, and this is now. But sometimes what goes around, comes around.
A POLITICO piece entitled, Judge stymies Trump’s border wall by invoking GOP law targeting Obama, notes:
President Donald Trump’s border wall is facing a surprising new legal hurdle down in Texas: an obscure legislative provision crafted by House Republicans in 2014 when the GOP was targeting then-President Barack Obama’s budget powers. The amendment, carried forward into current law, has resurfaced with a vengeance in El Paso, Texas. U.S District Court Judge David Briones has been quoting back its words in a series of rulings against Trump’s decision to take $3.6 billion from military construction projects to expedite his wall.
… The triggering event was a relatively narrow dispute in 2013 over funding for space exploration. But when they were enacted in Jan. 2014, the restrictions applied government-wide. And a year later, under full Republican control, Congress added the word “increase” alongside “eliminate or reduce” funding. What goes around, in other words, comes around. But what’s most remarkable is how much the legislative phrasing — aimed squarely at Obama — applies directly to the current fight involving Trump.
A Washington Post editorial from the weekend – entitled, Trump’s border wall wouldn’t stop most illegal immigration or drugs. So what is it for? – highlights why the border wall is a dumb idea – wasteful, offensive and ineffective:
…the government will have to fight court battles with private land owners to take much of the land where the wall would be built. Other impediments include objections arising from the wall’s environmental impact; opposition by congressional Democrats, who are in no mood to appropriate the $5 billion the White House is demanding for the wall in the current fiscal year; and, most recently, a federal court order blocking the administration’s plan to divert $3.6 billion for wall construction from funds approved by Congress for projects on military bases at home and overseas.
Those fights may intensify as the wall’s overall cost, which Mr. Trump once put at $8 billion, turns out to be several times that amount
… The president has convinced many of his supporters that the wall, which Mexico is not paying for, is worth any expense or funding method. The rest of the American public is justified in its skepticism.
Syndicated columnist Max Boot captures the meaning of all this with his observation that, The only principle Republicans have left is partisanship:
Oh, I know this looks bad. It looks like Republicans have no principles and no core beliefs. But there you are wrong, my friends. They do have a principle. Here it is: Whatever helps the Republican Party is good. Whatever hurts the Republican Party is bad. To understand the modern GOP, you don’t have to study unitary executive theory, supply-side economics, Burkean philosophy or anything else. All you have to do is remember those 14 words. Once you understand that is Republicans’ sole philosophy, everything else clicks into place.
… It explains how Republicans could excoriate “King Obama” for ruling by executive order and yet vote to uphold Trump’s decision to declare a “state of emergency” so he could spend money on a border wall that Congress didn’t appropriate. It explains why Attorney General William P. Barr can advocate nearly unlimited presidential power when Republicans are under attack but not when Democratic presidents are being targeted.