Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Congress

So Far Trump Has Been No Worse Than Expected–It’s Senate Dems Who are the Problem

Immediately after the election of President Trump, I wrote a post about what Trump was likely to do once in office. Many people this week have seemed surprised by Trump’s executive actions, but they conform remarkably well with what I anticipated. In this post I want to summarize what we’ve seen so far and what it indicates about where things are going.

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How the Left Can Survive Under Trump

Over the last few days, many people have been panicking about what Donald Trump might do as president. There is a lot of fear. Because most commentators and academics are deeply hostile to Trump, many people writing about this are still deeply emotionally shaken by the result. This has tended to color the analysis and produce polemics. So today I want to take a step back and try to calmly, rationally assess what kind of threat Trump poses and what opportunities he creates. In this post we’ll focus on the threats, and in the next one we’ll talk about the opportunities

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The Strategy Behind the Nomination of Merrick Garland

President Obama decided to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Democrats and republicans are trying to turn his nomination into an argument about procedural principles that neither side is really committed to in the abstract–there have of course been previous occasions when some of the same democrats who today scold republicans for not “doing their jobs” tried to argue that nominations shouldn’t be made in election years, and there have of course been previous occasions when some of the same republicans who today scold democrats for trying to deny the people a say in the nominating process tried to argue that congress has a duty to consider the president’s nominee. We’re not fooling each other, so let’s stop fooling ourselves–we appeal to whichever procedural principles happen to advance our ideological objectives. Crying hypocrisy about procedure misses the point–both sides are consistent about which objectives they consider good, and they use whatever political means available to them to achieve those objectives. So instead of hiding behind procedure, let’s instead talk about the Garland nomination through an explicitly ideological lens.

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How Obama Can Replace Scalia

Today Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in his sleep after participating in a quail hunt. I extend my sympathies to his family and to the conservative movement, which has lost one of its titans. Nevertheless, I am a political writer, and my role is to write about politics. So what are the political implications of Scalia’s death?

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Why the Speaker of the House is a No-Win Situation for Republicans

This past week has seen quite a bit of drama surrounding the planned retirement of current Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Boehner wants to quit, but his republican colleagues cannot seem to find an agreeable replacement for him. The first consensus choice, Kevin McCarthy, has pulled himself out of the race. Some have alleged it’s due to an affair, but it’s also quite possible that McCarthy could not get the support of the “Freedom Caucus“, a group of 42 hardline republicans who together have enough seats to prevent mainline republicans from passing anything without the support of democrats. Now many republicans are calling on former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan to put himself up for the job, but to this point he has refused to do so. What’s the deal?

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