by Conrad Black
It is time for the president to take his opponents by surprise, as Richard Nixon once did. In 1971, President Nixon astounded his critics with the announcement of the trip to China and later his call for wage and price controls to prevent inflation. Similarly, in 1972, he caught his Democratic opponent, George McGovern, off guard when he revealed that North Vietnam had already rejected terms Senator McGovern said he should offer Hanoi.
With an opposition so smug and unimaginatively conducted as the Pelosi-Schumer pantomime horse, this should not be a great challenge for President Trump.
Obviously, this impasse over government funding cannot continue and obviously, the administration must not be defeated by these partisan mountebanks, play acting while the Democratic wings fill with crypto-Marxist nonentities aspiring to their party’s presidential nomination.
A four-pronged-attack is called for: first, have the Republican House leadership introduce a bill to pay the unpaid federal employees 60 percent of their pay while this foolishness continues. At the same time, the president should declare a national emergency and let it be known that when the Democrats go judge-shopping and get their injunction from a district judge, the administration will ignore it until the entire issue—including the jurisdiction of federal district courts to instruct the president in fields reserved to the president by the Constitution—has been determined by the Supreme Court. (This last question of national injunctions was raised by Justice Clarence Thomas in recent obiter dicta—it is high time it was adjudicated, whatever happens with border security and the partial government shutdown.)
At the same time, the Republican Senate leadership should introduce a comprehensive plan to fund construction of the entire border wall, approve the deportation of those who entered the United States illegally and have been convicted of serious offenses, revive the president’s DACA plan from 2017 for those who were brought into the country illegally as children, and offer the naturalization of those in the country illegally who are otherwise law-abiding and constructive residents.
This would be a fair and as nearly representative of the collective will of the Democrats as can be ascertained when they are in sober mood—in other words, a bipartisan effort at comprehensive immigration reform.
In the past, that phrase has generally been a sanctimonious euphemism for doing nothing as millions of unskilled people, including appreciable numbers of hardened criminals, pour into the country, enabling Democrats to reap the illegal votes and foster future ones while allowing mainly Republican employers to enjoy the cheap labor. The media, until the last two years, soft-pedaled the whole gigantic scam and illegal immigration has become the greatest failure of American public policy since slavery.
And as the last element of his attack on the problem, while all this is being sorted out and border security is being erected on an emergency basis, the president should dispatch at least two brigades (8,000 to 10,000 soldiers) to needed border points and authorize them to round up members of what may correctly be designated as an invasion of the United States. Those stopped and detained could be transported back to Mexico, or put in camps that, though hastily erected would be sanitary. All would receive adequate shelter and nourishment but they would all be returned to Mexico by the joint work of the army and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, which the Democrats are no longer seeking officially to abolish.
Anything less than an overwhelming attack on this problem and on the political and media cowardice and hypocrisy of those who give lip service to border security but purport to address the problem by deploying more drones and cameras to estimate more accurately the teeming numbers of this invasion, will be a confirmation of the break-down of American constitutional government.
A Failure of Law and Politics
The last resolution of a fundamental national political crisis was Lyndon Johnson’s masterly imposition of civil and voting rights for African-Americans who had been deprived of those rights for a century after the Union victory in the Civil War abolished slavery and reaffirmed racial equality. Since then, national infrastructure has deteriorated beneath the level of a prosperous country, health care has degenerated into a national scandal of inadequate care for a third of the population, and Congress has cravenly fumbled abortion into the clumsy hands of the judiciary.
As a society of laws, modern America is a failure, and a failure compounded by a criminal justice system that is so repressive of the rights of the accused and of the convicted, it does not bear comparison with the criminal justice system of any other prosperous democracy, from Australia to Finland, from Israel to Japan. President Trump has his lacunae, but he is an effective and courageous chief executive. Even Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), possibly the most bilious and fervent of all the president’s senior elected antagonists, has proclaimed that she will not “relitigate” the election. Halfway through his term, Trump is the president after all.
The current border security crisis is seen by the Democrats as an opportunity to dismiss the issue, escalate their decades of pandering to the illegal Latino community (now the vertiginous total of 22 million people), and completely humiliate and defang a president who is a mortal threat to them in a way that the amiably beatable Republicans of the Bush-Dole-McCain-Romney and even Gerald Ford stamp never were. Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan were too popular and successful to be defeated at the polls or bloodlessly assassinated. Richard Nixon was one of the most successful presidents in history, but the complexities of his personality and his refusal to submit his office and the country to the indignity of the impeachment process enabled the Democrats in Congress and the media to drive him out and congratulate themselves for their republican virtue in doing so.
The criminalization of policy differences in the Watergate debacle was always going to lead here. Nixon was too patriotic to fight it through and mishandled it so badly that he was a long way down the well legally—though there is still no reason, after all these years, to believe he committed crimes. Reagan was elderly and popular and Iran-Contra was piffle in his second term. He smiled and shrugged his way through. The Republicans had their try with Clinton, who should never have been impeached, and, commendably shameless, he bucked his way through.
The Likely Response
If the president declares a national emergency and ignores the lower court orders against him, the Democrats will have to choose to move impeachment in the confident (and doubtless informed) hope that Mueller will bring in as unflattering a report as he can, promptly. Indeed, this may be the only way to get his contemptible Star Chamber to an end in the next six years of the likely Trump incumbency.
Palsied and pompous and generally over-stuffed with undeserved deference though the constitutional American system is (and blustery and sometimes inelegant though the president sometimes is), this is the showdown the nation needs. Let the Democrats stop creeping around in the dark, feeding malicious falsehoods to the jackal media. Let the president address the illegal immigration issue squarely. Let those who would try to undo the electoral verdict of 2016 with spurious legal casuistry and media manipulation come out from the dark and try to make their case.
The president has broken no laws and has delivered on his promises; he will win, and then the many officials of the Clinton campaign and the Obama Justice Department who have lied under oath or misled officials should go before the grand jury, which in America today means conviction, and usually imprisonment. Let’s make this the climax that reforms criminal justice, ends the criminalization of politics, and pushes the nose of government on to the grindstone of dealing with the country’s problems.
The whole American system is perilously close to Oliver Cromwell’s address to Parliament: “You came here to address the nation’s grievances, and you are now its greatest grievance. In God’s name go!” Bring it on, Mr. President; you, and the country, will win.
First published in American Greatness.
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