They say that foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Sometimes, however, consistency is not foolish; in fact, it should be a priority of a conclave of little minds. Specifically, consistency should be the hallmark of Congress. The behavior and beliefs of a party should be consistent. The ethics and behavior that is demanded of the President and his executive officers should be the same independent of the party of the President — or of Congress. Further, the electorate should be demanding this consistency, because otherwise, they are wasting taxpayer money doing investigations of one official that they wouldn’t pay for another. To put it another way, we shouldn’t be paying for partisan witch hunts. So I’m dismayed with what I’m seeing from our new Congress. Here are some examples:
Going back to the days of Ronald Reagan, one consistent thing about the GOP is that they are concerned about deficits. Hell, they’ve shut down the government because they didn’t want to increase deficits or the debt ceiling. They have been constantly harping on the Democrats because they feel their actions would increase the deficit, and have passed laws requiring that any new spending be covered by revenue. So why is the GOP suddenly abandoning this mantra, wanting to keep the expensive parts of the Affordable Care Act while remove the parts that pay for them?
When President Obama submitted cabinet nominations, then minority leader McConnell insisted on a set of requirements for each candidate. These requirements included appropriate vetting, submission of appropriate paperwork, elimination of conflicts of interest, and so forth. Yet now McConnell is seemingly abandoning those principles — for what purpose. Why should our cabinet officials be any less ethical?
For past Presidents, there has been a custom for them to put there assets in such a trust that it wouldn’t influence their actions. If that didn’t happen, Congress would make a fuss. Yet they seem to be rolling over and letting President-Elect Trump retain the conflicts under some light promises. Would they have let Obama or Clinton get away with this?
Imagine there were unverified claims of Russia having compromising information on President Obama — oh, like there were unverified claims about Benghazi or emails. Or there were claims about Russia interfering with the election to influence it in favor of Obama or Bill Clinton. Wouldn’t Congress be hopping to investigate that? Yet there is no move afoot from Congress to do so? Why wouldn’t they investigate this?
With any of these claims, the question should be simple: If this was a Republican Congress with a Democratic President — such as Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, would Congress act this way? If the answer is “no”, then why is it acceptable to act this way for President-Elect Trump?
Congress’ responsibility is to be a check on the President and the Executive Branch of the government. They certainly did so during the administrations of Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. Why are they rolling over and giving in to President Trump (who many did not support until it looked like he would win)?
President Trump has promised to do many good things for segments of this country that have not benefited from the economic recovery or the actions of the Obama administration. I understand that. From listening to the conservative side, I’ve learned what we missed — that agendas were promulgated that helped some without helping others. That the notion of “Social Justice” has drastically different meanings throughout the country. I also understand that new leadership is coming in that plans to address those deficiencies. But these things must be done legally and within the constraints of law, and our President must set the ethical example for the country with respect to leadership.