The Jan 6th Commission

The January 6th Commission is doing valuable work unpacking the details of the events that led up the attack on the Capitol. And it offers Congress a chance to reassert its authority. Congress was violently attacked while carrying out its constitutional responsibilities. If it does not demand answers, and use its constitutional power to get them, it will seem more feckless than ever. But will this matter politically in the short term? That seems highly unlikely.  As Quinta Jurecic argues in an essay in The Atlantic: “These details, if they bear out, are valuable—but they are details. The main facts of what happened … Continue reading The Jan 6th Commission

Sounding the Alarm

This morning The New Republic and The Bulwark simultaneously published an Open Letter (linked here to each publication). This effort, organized by Todd Gitlin, Jeffrey Isaac and Bill Kristol, brings together an array of writers from the left to the right, from Noam Chomsky to Mona Charen, from Michael Walzer to Max Boot, from Dahlia Lithwick to Damon Linker. I am honored to be among them and joined by fellow contributors here, Laura Field and George Thomas. This is a moment of democratic crisis and the reasons to call attention to it this way are well described in the letter … Continue reading Sounding the Alarm

To Mitigate or to Resign?

Matt Bai has an excellent column at The Washington Post on the dilemma Dr. Deborah Birx faced during the Trump Administration, especially in the early days of the pandemic: Unvarnished truth would have made her unable to mitigate the worst impulses of the president and his yes-men, while her participation gave a scientific veneer to policies she now says may have killed hundreds of thousands of people. The dilemma is genuinely difficult, and casual condemnation of Birx is a bit too easy. But I think Bai (who treats the dilemma seriously) ultimately has it right: Birx should have resigned. The … Continue reading To Mitigate or to Resign?

A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0

As some of my colleagues here know, I was a bit frustrated throughout the second impeachment that there wasn’t more focus on Trump’s dereliction of duty on January 6. It seemed clear to me at the time that the dereliction charge would have been more intuitive than the incitement to violence charge, because everyone knew at the time that, in the very least, Trump failed to protect the Capitol when it mattered. It seemed to me that setting the bar low like this would have made conviction more likely. Jeffrey Tulis and Bill Kristol wrote about this in the lead-up … Continue reading A Common Script for Dislodging Trumpism – Retrospective Thoughts on Impeachment 2.0

The Danger of All-or-Nothing Elections and the Claremont Message

Milikh’s message might still make Laura uncomfortable but, to the extent that it is political rather than doomsday-ish, I think it a very important advancement. Our democracy depends on an intelligible conservatism that isn’t flirting every four years with rhetoric about the death of all civilization. Continue reading The Danger of All-or-Nothing Elections and the Claremont Message

Maybe a Trump-led failed coup wouldn’t be the worst thing?

I strongly suspect that the military, who he’d need on his side in order to pursue this path, would balk. Since Trump doesn’t understand really how these things actually work, he’s likely declare martial law prior to determining whether the military is on his side. After all, he thinks those below him in government simply work for him and so will do anything, no matter how crazy, that he tells them to do. If he declared martial law and the military refused to follow, there would be no more clarifying event than this. Continue reading Maybe a Trump-led failed coup wouldn’t be the worst thing?

Trump’s Anti-Constitutionalism

              I’ve said before that, although this site will try to be balanced politically, Donald Trump poses difficulties in maintaining that balance.  On a site whose very title indicates its commitment to constitutionalism, it is hard to defend Trump’s anti-constitutionalist behavior throughout his presidency.  There are political defenses of Trump’s policies.  To be perfectly honest, I generally prefer Republican policies, ie. deregulation, lower taxes, etc.. I also support the kinds of judges that Trump appointed while in office. I think yesterday’s SCOTUS decision against Texas’s ridiculous lawsuit illustrates well why these judges are good. Much to Trump’s apparent surprise, these … Continue reading Trump’s Anti-Constitutionalism

Supreme Court Rejecting Texas Case

In his post today about the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the Texas lawsuit without so much as an explanation, Jeffrey Tulis wishes that the Supreme Court had written a more extensive statement explaining why they threw it out. Tulis cites a similar piece by Tom Goldstein making roughly the same argument. Both Tulis and Goldstein want the Court to have written a more extensive opinion which, to use Goldstein’s words, “decimates” the lawsuit. Although I agree that this lawsuit was not only ungrounded but dangerous, I would suggest that a more lengthy “decimation” would have been a serious … Continue reading Supreme Court Rejecting Texas Case