The criticism of Trump which few will utter

It is sad to see so many people, including those on the Left or in the Democratic Party, criticize the idea of a Trump presidency without ever uttering the phrase: “No man or woman should have so much political power over others.”  I agree with many of the moral criticisms of Trump as a leader, but don’t let them distract you from this broader truth.

It is strange but instructive how many Democratic criticisms of Trump circle back into criticisms of other, earlier, and now often irrelevant Republicans.  That is simply a language of attack they are more comfortable with.

The good news, if that is what one should call it, is that the best criticisms of Trump involve the concept of individual liberty and freedom from arbitrary legal authority and pure presidential discretion.  The bad news is that so few intellectuals have the relevant ideological vocabulary in that regard.


Surely this criticism can be equally applied to all of the present candidates?

I have no reason to want any of the others to have that much power over me (or anyone, for that matter).


In fact, it is a criticism of the very idea of electing a President.

No, such a position is a fundamental attack on the very Constitution so beloved by Justice Scalia - 'Dissenting alone, Scalia argued that the Constitution required that the president control all federal law enforcement because it vested him alone with all of the executive power of the government and gave him the duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed.'

Background here - - including this - 'In a 2013 interview with New York Magazine, Justice Scalia described Morrison v. Olson as the most wrenching case in which he had participated:

"Probably the most wrenching was Morrison v. Olson, which involved the independent counsel. To take away the power to prosecute from the president and give it to somebody who’s not under his control is a terrible erosion of presidential power. And it was wrenching not only because it came out wrong—I was the sole dissenter—but because the opinion was written by Rehnquist, who had been head of the Office of Legal Counsel, before me, and who I thought would realize the importance of that power of the president to prosecute. And he not only wrote the opinion; he wrote it in a manner that was more extreme than I think Bill Brennan would have written it. That was wrenching."'

Giving the executive branch too much power is different than giving the president ultimate power within the executive branch. Scalia's unitary executive theory is both correct and completely consistent with either a very powerful or a very constrained executive branch.

Also, gktscrk and libert, it's pretty clear that TC's point is consistent with what you're saying. Trump places in vulgar relief questions about the nature of unaccountable power that until he showed up very few people thought to ask themselves, probably because they're really excited for the next election, when "our team" will wield the unaccountable power.

Papist greaseball has authoritarian tendencies. I'm shocked.

Some quaint "anti-poppery" and anti-Italian xenophobic slurs in one sentence. How lovely

Ann Coulter taught me.

Regarding below, you couldn't hold Ann Coulter's jockstrap. As for your remarks regarding Justice Scalia .... epithets from a dunderhead are a compliment. You also couldn't hold Scalia's jockstrap either. Pffft.

How ironic that you would cite that case. The independent counsel law was a license for independent prosecutors to go on fishing expeditions and produced things like the Starr Report, which I assume that you fully supported because you are a principled supporter of limits on presidential power rather than a tiresome hack.

It's a criticism of giving a single person so much power, not a criticism of electing that person.

Although, FWIW, I'm told that parliamentary systems tend to be more stable than presidential ones.

How do you define instability?

not getting what you want!

I cannot see that Trump is distinct from the others in this regard. Also, he may be unscrupulous, but it is difficult to believe he can outdo Hellary. The problem, of course, for Cowen / Tabarrok and Sumner, is that Trump has prospered while speaking against OPEN BORDERS. (And it's amusing that these soi-disant libertarians have not the slightest interest in Ted Cruz).

Trump is less disconcerting than some of his supporters, who cannot seem to make the case for him without impugning Ted Cruz' character. Others are traders in birther memes.

It has been interesting to watch the rabid attacks that trump has had to endure for the media and academia.

Trump's platform afaik is the following:
1) anti pc
2) anti unchecked immigration
3) tax cuts

1 & 2 are a direct assault upon the Orwellian thought control which has been the key tenant of the left's platform for the last 40 years, and the left's surrogates have fought back harder than I have ever seen against this candidate. Fabricating blatant lie after lie in an attempt to discredit him. It has been appalling.

He is a smart, media savvy businessman, who would probably govern as a slightly rightward leaning centrist. However, from the media reports, one would think he was a buffoon who can not run his own affairs much less those of the US without calamity. It's shocking to behold.

The tax cut component of his platform is extremely mild. Michael Bloomberg would probably have had the same tax plan.

He's also not as close to Wall Street as Clinton. I'd expect both of them to rewrite the mess of regulation the powers that be pushed through post crisis, but I'd expect Trump's version to be less bank friendly. This is one of the things that inclines me to be pro-Clinton if I'm faced with that choice.

That's not even mildly accurate. He's proposed a huge tax cut for the middle and upper classes, more than Jeb Bush and close to what Cruz has proposed.

I very much doubt Bloomberg would be looking to further slash the rates for the top brackets given the state of the debt/deficit and overall economy

What about Trump's statement that we have to "Take out the families" of terrorists? Does that sound like just another Republican to you? You can say "Oh, he doesn't mean that" - which is exactly what people thought of Hitler, that he may have been anti-Semitic but in the extreme he was just using it to play to peoples' emotions/prejudices. I don't want to find out whether he means any of the crazy "stuff" he says. Best case, he's just an incredible loose cannon. Worst case, he's going to use prejudices/emotions to get even more power, constitution be damned.

The best criticism of Trump is that he's a loose cannon - impulsive and not thoughtful, and that that's a dangerous thing to have in the White House. I don't understand why people make stuff up or throw garden variety anti-Republican stuff at him. I have no idea what Tyler is thinking. Because your critique hits home.

I mean, who cares what he says in some stump speech? But I sure care what he does when he has command of an air force.

The current president apparently has no problem "taking out the families of terrorists" given the effects of the Hellfire missile's 50-pound explosive payload.

"The current president apparently has no problem “taking out the families of terrorists”"

The current president is at least discreet about saying so, and he appears to have thought it through. He might still be wrong about it, but you get the impression there's a process.

It is hard to tell when Trump has thought it through. It kind of looks like the immigration and trade positions are a lot more thought out than people initially perceived, but some of the other stuff may not be.

can you point me towards any speech or interview where trump appears to know what he's talking about on any policy issue? I mean perhaps trade but that's excluding ignorance of stuff like PPP

Oh for the days when we could call a spade a spade. /s

The dynamic here is that whichever party is in power finds themselves very comfortable with giving the president greater powers. The Democrats in Congress were broadly on board with the Obama administration's claim that the president can have US citizens killed on the president's authority alone, with no review by anyone else. Earlier, the Republicans were broadly on board with the Bush administration's claim that they had the power to disappear a US citizen off US soil and hold him incommunicado for several years, because they'd decided (on the president's authority, without any meaningful review by anyone else) that he was a terrorist.

Now, both these claims of powers sound absolutely nuts to me. But more than half the political and media establishment were on board with both claims. If the prospect of Trump gettting the presidency makes some of those people reconsider whether we should give the president the power to kill or disappear anyone he wants, anytime, with no oversight or review, that seems like at least one positive thing to come out of his candidacy.

Well said.

Yep, too bad it won't, though.

We the People who vote in every election are obviously in favor of the endless global war on scary people, who the president is required by that declaration to name.

Only Barbara Lee voted against it in the House, and every session introduces a repeal than never gets a committee hearing, ie., We the People who vote in every election want the president to have power over life and death.

And PL107-40 is short, so you easily see that it can be condensed to what I stated above. Ie, nations, groups, and individuals just means individual people acting alone of in concert.

The rules used since Obama for naming the scary people is thousands of times more words that the law requiring the president to name people to kill.

And if you think military force does not mean kill people, and war, then you are denying common sense.

Well, that's been my whole thought this whole campaign season.

In theory, Republicans should at least not be vehemently opposed to scaling back executive power. Democrats, on the other hand, would never advocate curtailing the excesses of administrative law.

So wouldn't it be fun to have Democrats leading the charge to drag regulatory power back into Congress, where it belongs?

The problem is that you'd have to have an executive who would cooperate. (a)

The executive would also have to scare Democrats out of their wits. (b)

Trump satisfies B, but not A.

Cruz, in theory, might satisfy both B and A. In theory, yes, because every president with power tends to use it. But if you had someone whose entire purpose in exercising power was to transform the country away from executive hegemony, then divesting one's own office of power would be tantamount to the ultimate exercise of power one intended to exercise by way of that office.

I should think accomplishing that in an enduring way would be deeply satisfying.


Trump has never advocated the use of extralegal means to achieve his political goals (correct me if I'm wrong), so I'm not sure how Tyler's argument even applies. It sounds like a strawman to me.

"Trump has never advocated the use of extralegal means to achieve his political goals..."

Really? Because I could have sworn it was Trump who claimed that he would force military commanders to do his bidding -- war crimes or no war crimes.

The President is commander-in-chief. It would be completely within his legal duties to give orders to military commanders.

Not so. This has been settled law since 1799:

That's a non sequitur. No one is talking about him ignoring laws passed by Congress.

The U.S. Is a party to the treaties that ban war crimes. Treaties are the law of the land:

A President might need Congressional authorization for certain military actions, since the Constitution authorizes Congress to make rules for the government and regulation of the armed forces, but the President and Congress collectively can direct the military to do anything they want. The United States is sovereign, and bound by treaty or custom only to the extent it chooses to be. I don't recall Trump getting into the specifics of which of the actions he proposed would need a Congressional imprimatur: presumably he would hire a "top lawyer" as Attorney General and let him figure that out.

And? That certainly didn't stop the Bush administration from torturing prisoners.

Top military brass said in no uncertain terms that they are not required to follow orders which contravene international law (treaties), and even more, pre-dedicated themselves to refusing to follow illegal orders.

"That certainly didn’t stop the Bush administration from torturing prisoners."

He tortured none. I think he stopped him from even asking for such.

I did hear Trump say he was willing to 'suspend the Bill of Rights' if doing so was 'required' to prevent a terrorist attack. To give him credit he said he would 'hate to have to do it'.

As for whether that's 'extralegal', I'll let you show me the 'suspension clause' in the Constitution that lets the Bill of Rights be put on 'hold'.

Lincoln did it with his habeus policy.

@Jim Sweeney

No such thing, since the executive has a legitimate long history of exercising necessary powers and there is no constitutional crisis unless the legislative does not endorse the action, and the executive then persists.

Congress endorsed Lincoln, and they did not shirk their duty in doing so.

Clinton has been the more hawkish on foreign policy. She's the one behind Libya and she pushed for the Iraq War, and has been a proponent of military intervention in Syria. Trump was against Iraq War and prefers that Putin clean up the Syrian mess. It sounds to me like Clinton is the more authoritarian leader to me, at least when it comes to foreign policy.

She's hanging her hat on her foreign policy stupidities.

The Libyan misadventure is Clinton's unauthorized war of choice. It was a debacle. And, she voted for the 2003 Iraq invasion before she was against it. The World is a more dangerous place: NK, Syria, Iran - brilliant!

Saying she's the smartest woman on the planet is an insult to women.

No one ever said she's the smartest woman on the planet. The most powerful one, perhaps, but not the smartest. I don't imagine that she's inclined to such delusions, although clearly she's pretty far above average.

'Trump has never advocated the use of extralegal means to achieve his political goals'

Well, advocate is such a strong word - '"I think you'd have riots," Trump said on CNN.

Noting that he's "representing many millions of people," Trump told host Chris Cuomo: "If you disenfranchise those people, and you say, 'I'm sorry, you're 100 votes short' ... I think you'd have problems like you've never seen before. I think bad things would happen."'

But Trump would not be to blame, of course - it would be his supporters doing the rioting, not him. And truly, New York values means that Trump is exceedingly unlikely to even have heard any jokes along the lines of 'nice convention you have here, it would be a shame if someone rioted during it, wouldn't it?'

Trump's support seem to be mostly old people. That might be something to see.

The lines at Hometown Buffet would be EXTRA irritable.

I don't understand why people don't talk more about history - lots of plurality winners haven't been the nominee, on both sides. Just not lately. Garfield wasn't even on the first ballot, I think - he came to the convention to give a nomination speech for someone else.

1. ignorance of history especially post civil war pre Wilson/Teddy stuff. 2. norms have changed dramatically. how legitimate do people feel a dark horse victory is? counterpoint: bush v gore

Surely, that has little to nothing to do with his unwillingness to ever articulate how he means to achieve his political goals.

I totally agree with you.

Though you may also consider his statements on what he intends to do to the First Amendment.

He said there would be riots if he did not get the nomination. Now you could say that is not a threat. And Don Corleone could claim in a court of law that he was not issuing a threat when he said: "I think you'll be killed if you don't give me what I want."

Isn't the more shocking thing the transparent effort by the Republican establishment to throw their own supporters under the bus? Any previous race and they would have rallied around the clearly preferred candidate by now.

The Trump-hating establishment is at least as cynical as Trump. Probably more so. But the media establishment radar is only ever pointed outward, never inward.

Isn’t the more shocking thing the transparent effort by the Republican establishment to throw their own supporters under the bus?

This naturally begs the question of whether Trump's support is drawn from traditional Republican supporters. Since most of the available data suggests that this is simply untrue, one can't really blame the GOP Establishment for resisting a hostile takeover that will so obviously destroy its institutional value.

It's easier to hate a super villain than a cabal of ordinary villains.

"This naturally begs the question of whether Trump’s support is drawn from traditional Republican supporters."

My progressive peers seem to think they're hyper-Republicans. From what I understand, they're actually fairly moderate Republicans or people who lean "independent." Haven't races always had elements like this? And while they're not free market/limited government zealots or Christian values voters, their interests - and the issue most salient for them, immigration - appear to be well within the Republican ideological orbit.

"Surely this criticism can be equally applied to all of the present candidates?"

Isn't it much more obviously applicable to Hillary who has a long record of that sort of thing?

60% chance of a Trump win. 20% chance of a Clinton win. 20% chance of someone who's not in the race now winning. Bloomberg, Romney, that sort of thing.

If someone in the range between Bloomberg and Romney enters the race, they'll get my vote. This whole thing is a disaster.

Your percentages are laughably off base:

Trump's latest idiocies (abortion flub, campaign manager arrest, etc) have started to really impact him. He used to be at 80% to be nominated. The antibodies in the body politic are finally starting to turn the tide against the Trumpian infection.

FWIW, I've come down from thinking it was a near-certainty.

Who's going to beat him? Clinton? It's getting late for a third-party to enter, and a Republican other than Trump will be viewed as illegitimate at this point.

Check the link. Clinton will clobber Trump in the general, if he gets nominated...something that seems less than certain now. You are correct that the Trump thing has pretty much ruined any chance for the Reps to win, because he can't and any others that get nominated will not be fully embraced by that party.

Trump is viewed unfavorably by *70% of women in America*.

And that's before swing state voters are bombarded, day after day, with ads that show Trump's disrespectful behavior towards women.

The last time women favored the Democratic candidate by anywhere near this wide a margin was 1964.

He cannot close the gender gap. He cannot win.

If the election were held today... we would all have been caught off guard.

I disregard prediction markets until after Labor Day. A scandal/indictment would instantly undo everything.

Around this time in 1992, Perot was already making headlines and had ground campaigns set up in 50 states. If some third-party seeks to run, he needs to get moving now.

Lord Acton: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Will the USA follow the Roman Republic to Empire example? Stay tuned.

I assume you tell your jailbait hookers that it also rocks absolutely.

Art, this is an unfair post. Ray is in his 50s, so the mistresses he hires are in their mid 20s. And I doubt they are common hookers on the street, although maybe he meets them that way. He surely can afford to keep them on retainer to exclusively sleep with him. Then he seems to try to get them to have children with him which they smartly refuse.

Are they really jailbait? In the US sure, but this is the Philippines we are talking about. Anything >10 yo is fair game.

Power may not always corrupt, but it always attracts the corruptible - Frank Herbert said some form of this, and told us that we should suspect any who seek it. Trump is the only non-politician running in this race and is in the twilight of his life. He is the least likely to be dangerous, in this regard.

How can you say with a straight face that someone is not a politician when he is running to be president?

What does someone have to do for you to call him a politician?

I misspoke. He's obviously become a politician, but wasn't until now. And he's still not a professional politician, someone who's done this almost all of his life to the exclusion of anything else, including a profession he may have trained for. He's a 70 year old businessman throwing his hat into the ring, He's not someone who has been running for office and accruing political debts all his life. To people who would like it if Trump were an endearing figure to them, the fact that he's obviously worked well with the seedy side of politics is a minus. To my mind, however, that just gives him the experience necessary to speak authoritatively on what's wrong with the US. Whether he'd actually do something worthwhile in office is another thing, but there's a bigger chance with him than with Clinton, or any of the others for that matter.

It is important to note that quote was not about the power-holders, but about their acolytes and enablers, groups that today we would probably just call journalists.

With that in mind, it is sadly dismaying to see how Trump has enthralled both the left leaning MSM and pretty large chunks of the supposedly "conservative" media, most notably Fox, Hannity and Breitbart. It is weirdly astonishing to watch.

Evidently most people want a *very strong Presidency* with a President who fits their ideal, and (for no good reason) they suppose that there is a high likelihood that the voters will select such President. It would be good if Trump's recent success caused them to reconsider this latter supposition.

Popular election(*) of a President certainly reinforces primal Big Chief thinking .. and equally certainly, true "there is no Tribe" libertarians are few.

* - yes slightly indirectly

Any structure that places powers in the hands of one encourages "Big Chief" thinking. Getting rid of popular election just changes who selects the chief.

I think parliaments are underrated. I think PMs are less obviously Big Chiefs. Perhaps especially with a token monarch.

Is Justin Trudeau any less a cult of personality than Barack Obama?

I can see the value in having a ceremonial head of state to prevent a popularly-elected executive from being treated as the moral compass, but I don't think it really detracts from that executive's role as the big chief.

It's very relevant that Justin Trudeau's rise to Big Man in Canada started with a 2012 boxing match in which TKO'd a conservative politician.

PMs are very obviously Big Chiefs.

Blame instead the mass media that has allowed the head of government in any kind of political system to talk directly to citizens since the days of the fireside chats. Bye local party bosses, hello powerful centralised authority.

Is Justin Trudeau any less a cult of personality than Barack Obama?

Nope. The thing is, Kennedy was the tragedy. Trudeau-pere, Obama, and Trudeau-fils are three rounds of farce.

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

The enemy of my enemy is insufficiently intellectual?

All those cries of "fascist" from the "left" are overblown hippie talk. Please rephrase as "No man or woman should have so much political power over others."

Anyone who supports the vile Hellary would need some brass neck to criticise the preposterous Trump. A bloodthirsty, crooked, lying traitor who's clearly unfit for office, versus a ludicrous loudmouth braggart and hustler who may or may not be unfit for office. Hold your nose and vote for the lesser evil.

Another view: Trump shares at least one virtue with O, to wit he was against the Iraqattack. Those who preferred O over Hellary on those grounds alone should consider preferring Trump on those same grounds.

Anyone who supports the vile Hellary would need some brass neck to criticise the preposterous Trump.

People who were supporting sometime lawyer / sometime academic / sometime state legislator / layabout Senator Barack Obama professed to be appalled by Sarah Palin's advent in national politics, her 11 years as a public executive notwithstanding. One of the most exhibitionistic was a professor at Harvard Law School named Charles Fried. It make sense if you realize that their understanding of 'preparation' has to do with mastering the proper idiom and having the proper biography, not actual expertise or experience. They manage the doublethink just fine.

As I remember it, the median voter liked the Palin story as she appeared out of Alaska. That only declined as they got to know her. Indeed by the time of the reality shows it was way too much information.

The key question should be:

"Why do we embrace & glorify a political system that delivers the likes of a Trump or Hillary as supreme & powerful ruler of the Nation ?"

The sorry output of our political system (highly flawed Presidents & Congressmen) routinely demonstrates that system is counter-productive to the fundamental interests of the citizens.

The original U.S. Constitution specified a much different political system than we experience today. Those 1789 Framers hoped to control the nature of government & corrupting course of its power. They failed.

Or succeeded temporarily.

Well, among other things voting back then was qualified by race (white), sex (male), age (21) and property ownership.

If you think that America's problems are caused by having blacks and women vote, I should point out that that problem is easily solved.

Or you could consider Kohlers point, which is that in spite of the ritual genuflection towards the Founding Fathers, the instituitions of government do not have the powers, and do not have their personnel selected, in the way they intended.

Perhaps most dramatically, they did not want the President to be selected by popular vote. They were afraid of some Trump-like (or Peron-like, or Chavez-like) populist getting the job. That is why the President is meant to be appointed by the electoral college.

A requirement the country has gamed simply by having the electoral college vote whichever way the popular vote tells it to.

Plenty of incompetent crooked douchebags got into office in the 1800s too.

Trump supported the Iraq invasion at the time.

" A bloodthirsty, crooked, lying traitor who’s clearly unfit for office, versus a ludicrous loudmouth braggart and hustler who may or may not be unfit for office"

Is this even serious? What does it even mean?

It means that the right can see the flaws in their candidates but you can't see the flaws in yours. It speaks to your character.

So unpacking that Hillary is 'bloodthirsty' but I just can't see that. What exactly does that mean?

That's the part that you have a problem with?

"Traitor" was the word that stood out to me. I don't think that word is fair.

>>“Traitor” was the word that stood out to me. I don’t think that word is fair.

I took this as an attack on her lesbianism.

I sort of view Hillary as Nixon without the competence.

But I think she plays for team America. Traitor is inappropriate.

"Nixon without the competence" sounds to me more like Trump than Hillary. The main point of this thread is, of course, that Trump is signaling very loudly that he is a shrill man who will use whatever means are available to avenge even the mildest of criticisms or slights. That was pretty much Nixon's fatal flaw. The whole Watergate episode happened, for example, because even winning re-election in a landslide wasn't enough validation for him, he had to put his 'enemies' down as much as possible no matter what. Without that flaw, though, Nixon was building an administration of competence esp. in foreign policy that could have been a long lasting positive legacy for himself and the GOP.

Does this apply to Hillary? Well not really. After decades of being accused of murdering people by conspiracy mongers, I think Hillary has relatively thick skin...of course having thicker skin than Trump doesn't require being very exceptional.

Competent is essentially Hillary's strength. Unlike Obama she lacks brilliance. Obama knew how to pivot both left and right allowing him to deprive the right of their favorite talking points (for example, by killing Bin Laden and regularly taking out major Al Qaeda and ISIS figures by drones) and putting them in spots where they have a hard time defending their positions outside of their base (for example, changing his mind on gay marriage and opening up relations with Cuba. At this point Obama is only at the base of his support and I would predict over time he will be seen as an exceptionally good President, the previous one makes that comparison more glaring of course.

Hillary lacks that spark of brilliance but those who like to carp about things like Libya should check themselves. Those who take on serious jobs run the risk of serious failure. Donald Trump never lose any lives running a TV reality show, selling junk products or scamming suckers out of their money for a fake university. That's not any evidence of that he could do a serious job where decisions actually matter to lives and safety well.

"Traitor" refers to her use of private e-mail to allow (presumably) many other nations to read US documents that were meant to be secret.

"Bloodthirsty" refers to her enthusiasm for wars, invasions, and the like.

I'm amused that no one queried "lying".

Her alleged lesbianism is the least objectionable aspect of her character.

"I’m amused that no one queried “lying”."

It's too well documented. You've got to be pretty deep into partisan territory to believe that she's "fundamentally honest" as Jill Abramson attempted to assert.

"“Traitor” was the word that stood out to me. I don’t think that word is fair. "

Yes, that's a stretch. Her private email server was clearly against the rules and would almost certainly have gotten a lessor individual charged with a crime, but it's absurd to think her motives were traitorous. She was trying to thwart FOIA requests and perhaps hiding corruption, but there's never been any serious evidence that she was committing treason.

"“Traitor” refers to her use of private e-mail to allow (presumably) many other nations to read US documents that were meant to be secret."

No documents 'meant to be secret' could have been read because secret documents are not emailed to begin with. Several emails were classified *after the fact* which makes your claim really stretched. It's one thing to email something you know is already classified but it's another thing to say you are committing a crime for writing an email that isn't now classified but may be deemed so by some future authority. You clearly don't know how any of this works or else you'd be aware just how huge and promiscuous the gov't is declaring documents to be 'secret'.

No nation or spy has ever been shown to have read any emails either. That is a hypothetical example of something that might have happened, but then we've had reports that China has hacked into actual gov't email servers so it is just as possible Hillary's server actually prevented emails from being read.

Most important, though, this is nowhere near 'treason'. At best it is sloppy IT and Hillary has a perfectly valid point that all previous Sec. of State and other high level officials have been little better with their 'documents'.

"Bloodthirsty” refers to her enthusiasm for wars, invasions, and the like."

It is true Hillary leans more hawkish than Obama. Obama is famously skeptical of interventions and leaned against Syria and Libya (but does support more surgical strikes like taking out bin Laden). I'm thinking to myself when I read this 'relative to what'? Certainly not relative to mainstream US Presidential candidates over the last decade. True Bernie is more dovish than her or Obama but other than that what do you have to show?

"Documents" aren't classified--information is. The documents containing that information are supposed to be marked classified to signal the sensitive nature of the information contained therein.

That Hillary's e-mails have been retroactively marked classified because of the information they contain--sometimes at the very highest levels of classification--is a damning failure on her part to anyone not died in the wool. Or have you never queried why national security experts have uniformly criticized her behavior, and the only surrogates she can find to defend her side are party flacks?

No documents ‘meant to be secret’ could have been read because secret documents are not emailed to begin with. Several emails were classified *after the fact*

Did you read the Washington Post report? This is from there:

“What you are talking about is retroactive classification,” [Clinton] said during a recent debate. “And I think what we have got here is a case of overclassification.” Her statement appears to conflict with a report to Congress last year by inspectors general from the State Department and the group of spy agencies known as the Intelligence Community. They made their report after the discovery that four emails, from a sample of 40 that went through her server, contained classified information.

These emails were not retro­actively classified by the State Department,” the report said. “Rather these emails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to IC classification officials, that information remains classified today. This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.”

It's the paranoid desire for such extreme secrecy and control that ends up backfiring that reminds everyone of Nixon.

Classified information and documents are used interchangeably but it essentially means documents since a document is information and it is possible to leak a document not by providing the actual text but by simply tightly paraphrasing what the document says. Nonetheless classification is done to documents not to generic 'information'. In 2011 over 92 million documents were classified. It is possible to have a classification system based on ideas but when you are classifying over 90M+ documents a year there is no library system in the world that could work off of ideas or concepts, instead documents are classified not 'information' in the sense of ideas/concepts/knowledge. It also makes sense that documents are often classified after they were made rather than classified at the moment of their production. You do not usually get to read your boss's or even coworkers email. If for some reason it became necessary to read their email, it would not be strange for the boss to first go in and make sure you couldn't get to a select few (say a discussion of the salaries you and your coworkers make).

Even more amazing, note that Congress has refused to even make it a crime to leak classified information. Only national defense information can be criminal to leak and even then it is up to a jury to decide if the information is in fact, sensitive...what the gov't declares its classification 'level' to be is irrelevant.

"That Hillary’s e-mails have been retroactively marked classified because of the information they contain–sometimes at the very highest levels of classification–is a damning failure on her part - "

This demonstrates you know little about classified documents and about email. The *only* reason Clinton's emails were reviewed for classification was because Congress wanted to see them. The actual servers used to store and send them wouldn't be relevant. Are you saying if Congress were to examine all emails sent inside the State Department the only classified information would be the 3 or 4 Hillary emails?!


"“I’m amused that no one queried “lying”.”
It’s too well documented. You’ve got to be pretty deep into partisan territory to believe that she’s “fundamentally honest” as Jill Abramson attempted to assert."

About what exactly do you feel Hillary has deceived you personally about? Take it a step beyond, who do you think is walking around today feeling deceived by Hillary? I know, for example, that you don't feel the slightest bit deceived or lied too about the intricacies of email servers in the State Department.

Boonton, explain the email where she tells how to remove classified markings from a document

"About what exactly do you feel Hillary has deceived you personally about?"

Well, I've never talked with Hillary Clinton in person. So, she hasn't lied to me personally, but then again, no President ever has lied to me personally. It's a ridiculous standard and the question comes off sounding a little desperate. As if you are straining to find any ground upon which to exonerate her obvious misbehavior.

Regarding the obvious lies she's told, just in regards to the email server:

"I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material," she said.

The statement was clear and unequivocal. It was also not true.

Since her initial statement in March, Clinton’s campaign has updated her story. Her claim is now that none of the emails were classified at the time they were sent.

In addition to falsely stating that there was "no classified information" on her email server, Clinton has also claimed that "vast majority" of her work emails went to government employees and email accounts and were thus "captured and preserved immediately" on the State Department’s records system—even though the State Department’s auto-archive system didn’t work until February of this year.

Clinton also claimed in March that she carried just one phone for "convenience," but weeks earlier said she carries two phones, as well as two iPads, describing herself not as a convenience-minded traveler but as "like two steps short of a hoarder."

Asked by a reporter about the firing of a State Department ambassador for his email use, she pushed back on the idea that he’d been let go for relying on a personal email account; a report on the firing describes his "nonuse of commercial email for official government business" as a factor.

Clinton initially refused to let an independent examiner have access to her email server, saying it contained personal communications between Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Yet Bill Clinton has, by his own account, sent just two emails in his life.

She declared that by turning over paper copies of emails from her server she’d gone "above and beyond" what was required, saying she "had no obligation to do any of that." This was not true either; she did have an obligation to hand over those emails.

She objected to a CNN reporter’s assertion that she’d received a subpoena regarding her emails, saying "I’ve never had a subpoena." You can see the complete subpoena right here.

It's absolutely clear that she has lied multiple times about this issue.

Even more amazing, note that Congress has refused to even make it a crime to leak classified information

That is hopelessly, hilariously incorrect. See generally


Well, I’ve never talked with Hillary Clinton in person. So, she hasn’t lied to me personally, but then again, no President ever has lied to me personally. It’s a ridiculous standard and the question comes off sounding a little desperate. As if you are straining to find any ground upon which to exonerate her obvious misbehavior.

Well not too long ago Trump said it was ok for his supporters to be rough with people protesting him and he would pay their legal bills. An old man sucker punched someone who was being escorted out, the next day cops arrested him and charged him with assault. Trump did not pay his bail nor as far as I know offer to pay for a lawyer for him. If I was that man I would feel personally lied too and while I'm not, I could take that as a personal lie.

So if you are saying Clinton lies a lot, I guess I'm asking for examples where someone serious counts on someone's assertion only to discover later it was untrue. I would imagine, for example, Bill Clinton's claims to not have had an affair would fit that bill. But most examples I see look more like the below:

Let's look at your lies:

"In addition to falsely stating that there was “no classified information” on her email server, Clinton has also claimed that “vast majority” of her work emails went to government employees and email accounts and were thus “captured and preserved immediately” on the State Department’s records system—even though the State Department’s auto-archive system didn’t work until February of this year."

So basically the lie is produced by nitpicking something to death. Think about this statement. Do you know the auto-archive policies of your work? Why does this even matter? Suppose Clinton had simply used State Department servers from the start. Well gee any email she send before February would have been deleted. And isn't this statement true nonetheless. If Hillary sent an email to another State Department worker, that worker's email would indeed 'capture and preserve' it. All email systems do that, so what if the auto-archive function wasn't turned on? Are there no backups of the servers? Are you sure the State Dept IT wonks are unable to pull email from before February?

So what do you care about here? Do you want a record of her emails so historians, investigators, and other interested people can study them? Then it seems like the personal server actually did you more good than the State Dept servers. Do you have a burning interest in the IT policies of the State Department and expect the Secretary of State to be able to speak very intelligently about auto-archive policies? Well then perhaps Clinton deceived you but somehow I don't think that describes you or any human beign in the US worth thinking about.

She declared that by turning over paper copies of emails from her server she’d gone “above and beyond” what was required, saying she “had no obligation to do any of that.” This was not true either; she did have an obligation to hand over those emails.

She does? To whom has the Sec. of States under George Bush turned over all of of their emails? Are these emails on State Dept servers. Uhhh no you said the auto-archive didn't start till Feb. OK were the emails printed out and saved in a box somewhere? Where? Have they been shared with reporters and members of Congress? Why not?

Is it obvious she has an obligation to turn over those emails or is it a matter of opinion? If it is opinion she might very well be wrong but that isn't in itself a lie.

Not that Bill...

That is hopelessly, hilariously incorrect. See generally

confirms what I said. Look carefully at page 10.

"4 A fine and a 10-year prison term also await anyone, government employee or not, who publishes, makes available to an unauthorized person,
or otherwise uses to the United States’ detriment classified information regarding the codes, cryptography, and communications intelligence utilized by the United States or a foreign government.55 Finally, the disclosure of classified information that discloses any information identifying a covert agent, when done intentionally by a person with authorized access to such identifying information, is punishable by imprisonment for up to 15 years.56"

Out of 90+M documents a year, only a tiny portion identify covert agents or directly discuss codes, cryptography and communications of the US or foreign gov'ts. But I agree, show me an email Hillary sent detailing the name of a covert agent and that would make her bad...well maybe as bad as Dick Cheney's office. Otherwise unless you are purposefully feeding classified documents to a foreign agent the gov't has to prove not that you leaked classified info but that it was classified info that fit the criteria above.

Or you could look at the paragraph above 'criminal penalties':

. No blanket prohibition exists to make it unlawful simply to disclose without authority any information that is classified by the government for national security reasons.52

So I guess by JWatts standards you are now a liar just like Clinton.

Here's a more market based question for the "Clinton is a problem liar" meme:

If Clinton telling lies is such a problem, then one would expect a market to produce a much more honest candidate as an option for voters who are turned off by that. Well Clinton has been the presumptive nominee for years now so whose the 'honest alternative'? At this point I don't think anyone here has the balls to even to argue that Trump pretends to be an honest sort of candidate. You at least have to do a little work to catch Hillary in a lie while Trump appears to make stuff up so quickly that it isn't even worth documenting.

Yet none of the other candidates on the GOP side are honest or even selling themselves as honest. So unless you're a big Sanders supporter, you have a market based problem with the assertion that Hillary is a problem liar, if she is why is the market not producing a competitor?

Competent is essentially Hillary’s strength.

Well, that's a damning indictment of your preferred candidate. And then the desperate clutching at straws to try to explain away her criminal acts regarding the email. Not your finest hour

The competent candidate is by far the best, if you have a field where everyone else is a joke.

As for 'criminal', you haven't established a single criminal act happened in regards to the email, in fact the very sources your side quoted supported my position. It's going to be amusing to watch people talk about crimes when their nominee is inciting riots on a weekly basis.

The competent candidate is by far the best, if you have a field where everyone else is a joke.

So you're saying you don't support Hillary?

OK keeping it brief, we had a presentation here trying to show Hillary Clinton lies all the time, that she's an exceptionally dishonest person. One piece of evidence was her claim that when she sent emails to other State Dept employees, they were 'preserved'...which was a lie because an 'auto-archive' system was implemented until Feb.....

On March 27, in contrast, Trump tweeted this:
Another radical Islamic attack, this time in Pakistan, targeting Christian women & children. At least 67 dead,400 injured. I alone can solve

So we have nitpicking over the archiving policies of an email server by a non-IT person versus a claim "I will stop all suicide bombings even on the other side of the world".

Now if anyone here feels that Trump can indeed stop all suicide bombings upon entering office, I'll exclude you from the discussion. For those who are left, can you explain to me again in simple terms how your position that Clinton is a noted liar works again?

I don't think executive authority will be the problem with Trump. It would be that the Republicans in the House would go along with a great deal of his nonsense on a purely constitutional and legal basis. Trump isn't popular because of his personality, he is popular because a plurality of the Republican's base agree with him and his policies, such as they are. The Republican elite and leadership will go along with any number of horrible policy ideas as long as the tax cuts roll in. The House will pass the great wall of Mexico, the banning of muslims, torture, indiscriminate bombings, abortion restrictions, sanctions on which ever Asian country Trump wants as long as they get their top end tax cuts.

Do Libertarians really think they wouldn't? Are we still not seeing the GOP clearly even after all of this?

Trump doesn't care much about abortion. Trump doesn't seem to be in favor of nationbuilding. Trump does want to ban muslims, but Muslim refugees from know terrorist hotbeds. Can you just be honest?

This is the opposite of the truth. Trump voters are entirely enthralled by his personality, I doubt many could even articulate his "policies". I know he barely can himself.

Completely untrue for the vast majority of us. I think 500 billion a year trade deficits out forever does mean we are getting the short end of the stick. That just can't happen naturally, Dean Baker has cautiously tip toed around sort of agreeing with Trump on this. I don't think China or Japan are even remotely fair in their trade deals with us and it does drain demand out of the economy.

I also think that we have enough people, that boat is full, and there is no reason to take any more immigrants from anywhere until we have successfully demonstrated that this present huge wave has assimilated at least as well as the last one. And H1b's etc are terrible corporate giveaways that should be stopped immediately.

Finally, I am really happy that Trump is a one man wrecking ball of marxist inspired political correctness speech shackles. You either like the marxist indoctrination going on in this country's educational system or you are not aware of it.

I sure wish he would use his considerable intelligence to learn something about policy.

He is very far from a great messenger for these causes-I sure wish this country produced a better one. But at least he has some patriotism and national pride in him. None of the other candidates care a whit for the country or its people. They are like Cowen- internationalists who want to destroy all borders and don't care what else gets bronken with them.

$350 billion a year. A man who overestimates his personal wealth by a factor of two and the size of the trade deficit by 50% has no business having anything to do with the finances or trade deals of the country.

Wrong again. 531 billion is the entire trade deficit, about 385 with china alone.

Dems and Reps should both remember that FDR put Japanese Americans into concentration camps.

The Japanese concentration camps were one of the darkest moments in American history. We should never support any candidate who advocates for similar policies against any minority group.

Well, the Japanese war was indeed a civilizational mobilization against a hostile powers with tanks and bombers and warships who were a present threat at the highest level to continental security.

Not at all similar to a situation of a handful of radicalized individuals a year pulling off some murderous stunts.

Let us know when ISIS is sending 1,000 war planes and a fleet of destroyers our way, and I might be open to talking about concentration camps which are dedicated to good feeding and education/health in the meantime.

I prefer to avoid ideological vocabulary in general. It convinces no one who isn't already a convert, and it constrains free thought to ideas which are already ideologically acceptable.

Here's my comment (in The Atlantic) to Friedersdorf's "broader truth": Of course, libertarianism has become equated with policies that serve the interests of the wealthy and the powerful by neutering government, or more accurately, neutering government when it comes to policies that promote the interests of the not wealthy and the not powerful. Friedersdorf praises laws protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. Who does he think is responsible for those laws, libertarians. Actually, they aren't, as many if not most libertarians believe it's an intrusion on liberty to force even biggots to respect the rights of gays and lesbians. That's the problem with libertarianism: it reinforces the allocation of wealth and power that already exists.

This is true. But then you have to ask, 1. is "the allocation of wealth and power that already exists" necessarily bad, and 2. how do you know that some other allocation will be better?

"Of course, libertarianism has become equated with policies that serve the interests of the wealthy and the powerful by neutering government "

Nonsense. The interests of the wealthy and powerful have been and are continually served by capturing and co-opting the great wealth and power of government (defense contractors, Solyndra executives, etc, etc). Libertarians would seek to put an end to that and make the wealthy and powerful earn their keep by producing stuff that people want (and are willing to pay for). That's very hard to do, consistently, year-after-year, decade-after-decade, and under such conditions, many of the currently wealthy would inevitably falter and decline -- which is why they greatly prefer the more predictable strategy of cronyism that is enabled by big government (and why big government enthusiasts are their best friends and allies -- even if unwittingly so).

This isn't an either-or proposition. Regulatory capture is a problem, but favorable treatment for the wealthy under a regime of government coercion is also a problem if your objective is procedural fairness.

Indeed. But the fewer things a government regulates/forbids and the fewer goodies it dispenses, the less concern there is about favorable treatment -- both because there are fewer kinds of government favors to be had (and people don't focus so much energy on getting their hands on them) and also because the less the government does, the better the press, citizens (and, if need be, prosecutors) are able to keep track of who's up to what.

"Who does he think is responsible for those laws, libertarians."

Well, libertarians have been advocating for gay rights for decades (long, long before President Obama's view conveniently 'evolved' just as majority public opinion had shifted):

The Libertarian Party endorsed gay rights with its first platform in 1972 — the same year the Democratic nominee for vice president referred to “queers” in a Chicago speech.:

(and, oh by the way, the Libertarian candidate in 1972 -- John Hospers -- was openly gay)

Gay rights is one of a few issues where libertarians should be in lockstep with Dems, but they typically gravitate to the Republicans overall, so they end up having to lie about their beliefs.

A weird thing to write in response to a post about how Democrats have always been to the right of Libertarians on gay rights

No, I don't think this is right at all.

1. Even (actually, particularly) the most left-wing Democrats attacked (to cite one example) George Bush's intrusions on civil liberties in exactly those terms (i.e. they have possession of that language and those concepts, and use them regularly);

2. As our system does not (properly) grant any individual such power, the Democratic (and to some extent Republican) fear is that an unfit personality type such as Trump's would attempt to *seize* that power illegally (for which historical precedents of nationlist/fascist/authoritarian leaders are cited); and

3. For those (many) who are objecting to specific (if vague) policies Trump proposes, it takes some real work to convert the straightforward objection against *what* Trump proposes to a veiled objection over the power our system (putatively) would provide him to carry out those aims.

In other words, Tyler, I think you are trying to fit a (mostly) square peg into a round hole.

When has principle ever governed politics--Washington's first term? In the end, it all comes down to whose ox is being gored. If you wanted principled libertarianism, you should have supported Ron Paul, which at the time you said you didn't on the grounds of practicality and moderation. Now that a Trump presidency looms, you become a card-carrying libertarian again.

Libertarians lose because they stay faithful to principle while everyone else stays faithful to their own power. In other words, you lose the fight because nobody else follows the rulebook. I support Trump because supporting principles doesn't stop my enemies. So I want a strongman who hates my enemies.

One problem with that strategy is that it's quite hard to know what Trump will do with power, if he gets it. He may hate your enemies, and many of his enemies (corrupt overpromoted elites, ideologically captured journalists) are indeed worthy of his emnity and contempt, but that doesn't mean he's going to be on your side more broadly, or good for the country.

He's the best I've got. I know the Democrats hate me and want to take my stuff and see me replaced because they say so. And I don't trust anybody else on the Republican side to protect my interests given their record of impotence and incompetency and support for mass immigration.

It's not surprising in the least that progressives wouldn't make that argument about Trump. The progressive political action plan is essentially to bypass Congress whenever they have to. That is to say that it is to amass almost unrestrained power within the presidency to implement a progressive agenda.

Developing a political philosophy that seeks to restrain presidential power within rule-of-law limits would effectively handicap the progressive agenda and make compromise with Congressional conservatives a requirement for enacting said agenda. And compromise is not something either side wants to do right now.

Sounds like the best libertarian argument in favor of Trump is his presidency might weaken the office.

Heh. The "government is too big and powerful" lobby might swell.

Freidersdorf article was good.

He will deport and ban foreigners who are anti-libertarian, so he will tilt the political environment in favor of libertarians.

Many of Trump's views on executive power are illegal and would be constrained by others (public choice is still a thing!). His xenophobia, on the other hand, puts undocumented immigrants, an unprotected class that is vulnerable to a totally lawful president, directly in his crosshairs. Democrats are right to be concerned by his racism at least as much as by his authoritarianism, since the second can do tremendous damage even if the first is contained or for show.

A totally lawful trump could also completely ruin our foreign policy. The tail risk here is extinction.

Tyranny is a concern, but not the only one or a clearly preeminent one. Most of America's worst crimes have been constitutional and legal under domestic law.

First even if second is contained, I mean.

If Trump becomes President, he might blow up Libya and arm revolutionaries in Syria and leave Iraq to twist in the wind, resulting in a Wahabbist insurgency even larger and more ruthless than Al Qaeda and unleashing waves of inassimilable migrants on Europe.

Go ask a Trump supporter how they feel about the anti-white, anti-male, anti-rural bigotry of the left. The last publicly accepted racism, sexism, and cultural hatred is directed at Trump supporters, so why should they care about the lefts crocodile tears over their bigoted coalition of identity groups?

Both major parties are dominated by white males. Nobody is buying your argument. Everyone feels persecuted.

The white males in the GOP represent white male voters. The white males in the Democrat party are oppressing women and minorities, by keeping them out of political power. So the white men who run the Democrat party focus minority anger on GOP voters.

Yeah, I think a similar criticism has been made implicitly, like when Trump was called out for saying he would order the military to commit war crimes.

The president has approximately zero power over citizens on an individual level. I think that's well understood to the point people don't bother talking about it except when a president breaches the boundary. On a more general level, having a president as chief executive seems to be a second-best way of doing democracy, but that's another question entirely and beyond the pale for most Americans...

Where was the Tyler Cowen advocacy for, lets say Rand and Ron Paul? However, I agree with the point he makes about Trump and one class of Trump's detractors, but it is surely diluted by Cowen's past.

I think it pretty clear there are two types of people in the US- those who want to put the right boot on the neck, and those who want it to be the left boot.

I can't agree with that statement as it stands. It would be much better - possibly even true - if...
'No man or woman should have so much political power over others to whom their personal welfare is only loosely coupled'

The essence of the revision is that people who have significant power over other should also be dependent on the welfare of
those others for their own welfare - social, psychological, and financial. The president is decoupled from the welfare of individuals
by the process of aggregation. As a result, the only sensible way for him to hold power over them is very indirectly and impersonally
(that punishments, for example, not be 'unusual' by being specific to individual cases). Despots, on the other hand, can reach down
to individuals and act capriciously without significant personal repercussion.

But removing all power of individuals over other individuals is just as bad. Responsibility must come with authority; and if someone is responsible for another person, they must have authority to match. The only way to strip the authority is to remove the responsibility;
and hopefully we've figured out what a disaster it is when nobody is responsible for the welfare of other people around them or bound by
lasting bonds of obligation (examples; children, the elderly, etc).

“No man or woman should have so much political power over others.”

Some billionaires are starting to get a bit petulant at how another billionaire is upsetting their costly apple carts, if not potentially goring their well fattened oxes.

Decades of work down the drain in one demogogic nightmare - and of all the attacks one can use against Trump, the tried and true ones fail spectacularly. Trump is not concerned about inequality, he is not a socialist, and is not a man interested in anything resembling social justice.

Instead, like many billionaires, he is selfishly concerned with nothing but his own goals and desires. With the dim awareness beginning to grow that Trump has no interest in actually governing if he becomes president.

And have the rationally ignorant median voter select the person who will have this great power.

John, above, is right.

It is laughable that Tyler is grasping at any way for his ideological enemies to be "wrong" in how they vociferously oppose a candidate, one who he also opposes.

How about being disappointed with the party that is about to nominate him, rather than directing your ire at the way the founders of this country structured our democracy? The most likely group to stop Trump is liberals, not libertarians or conservatives.

Trump's candidacy is a reaction to the hatred of Trump supporters by people like you. If the left could have just hated white, rural men and their culture a little bit less, Trump would be gone already. Unfortunately, the hate for the Trump demographic is so strong on the left that they would rather have honor killings, acid attacks, and marital rape imported from the third world than be associated with 'NASCAR culture.'

I totally feel this. I only took over a bird sanctuary because of those people too. If they had respected my right to write my own constitution, every thing would have been fine.

You seem to be a bit confused. Trump was created by the conservative dog whistle and he is also feared the most by those whistlers, because he took it quite literally and is taking down their party. He is hated the most not by the left, but rather women, understandably, and other conservatives, for the reason above. Go ahead and try to blame the liberal establishment for this. They're busy marching to the White House and retaking the Senate.

And it's ironic youre accusing others of hate, while your team is actually delivering it.

The left has been brainwashing themselves for so long that they don't think they're capable of hating anyone. Except of course, when someone, somewhere maybe kinda sort of hints at possibly not totally being in complete agreement that, for example, blacks are always and everywhere being oppressed, men walking around pretending to be women is completely normal, Islamic terrorism in pursuit of an exclusively Islamic empire has nothing to do with Islam, etc. As soon as they get an inkling of that, the shrill hysteria sets in and doesn't let up until dissent is buried. They didn't create Trump, the people pissed off about this lunacy did.

The founders' decisions, for good and ill, have only a very sketchy connection to the realities of executive power now. For example, we have fought several wars since WW2, but never declared war in congress, even though that requirement is right there in the constitution. Somehow, it turns out that the constitution doesn't actually require things that both ends of the ruling class don't want it to require.

Perhaps that is true. But the idea that liberals should be arguing against executive power--which would be big departure from current practic, if not a reinterpretation of the Constitution--just because they don't like Trump seems crazy.

Of course, Cowen's argument (that because right wingers would abuse the power of government, government can never be trusted) reminds me of the Republican argument that government is incompetent, an argument proven by the incompetence of Republican administrations.

The difference between Republican and Democrat administrations appears to be, they bomb different countries.

Also, the shower of Federal spending falls on different people.

'they bomb different countries'

Really? Libya and Iraq seem to be equal opportunity bombing targets over a generation.

As the first commenter said, we need to worry about all presidential candidates. The most frequently used vocabulary of a candidate portrays them as a Captain steering a ship. The president is powerful, but not that powerful. Presidents should neither be able to claim credit or absorb blame for a bad economy. Policy lags, separation of powers, independent agencies, and factors beyond their control are stronger explanatory variables. People have bought into the myth of the omnipotent president, and we are all worse for it. Trumps supporters think that he can operate like a CEO the way we used to think former generals would command from the White House. Donald is in for as big a let down as Ike. The bureaucracy will not support him, Congress will not support him, and the courts will not support him.

We would be in much more danger if Clinton or Graham were in the White House. Liberty is on the endangered list because we havent practiced it in quite a while.

Warren Meyer posted of this over at his Coyote Blog. Mostly what we are seeing are the ones who pushed to increase Presidential power from both parties freaking out at the prospect that power will be held by Donald Trump.

A lesson, that few seem to be able to learn.

"Republicans & Democrats Applauded When Their Guy (Bush and Obama) Grabbed for More Presidential Power; Now, They Are Terrified to Give it to Trump"

We have the military and CIA saying they will over the laws not the President. The Republican Congress and Senate have said they will exert their powers to limit the executive. Now the media is starting to come around to the idea that a powerful president is dangerous and must be constrained.

I fail to see any downside.

If this trend continues the Justice replacement will indict Clinton, the IRS and various police forces will give back the money they stole by decree.

Trump is a mirror of the political class. They look at their reflection in horror. Pompous know nothings who are universally held in contempt outside of a very small circle of bought hangers on.

You create moral hazard when someone breaks a law and you let it slide. Some will take the new "slide" as the new policy. No one was indicted, and certainly no one went to jail for

Should I take that as revealed policy?

Was hosting official government business, selling of favors from State for donations to the "non-profit" Clinton Dynasty Foundation, and classified information?

There was suspicion that emails were deleted to avoid their release in a federal grand jury investigation (the Plame affair, origins of the Iraq war), so parallels are rife.

Suspicion of wrongdoing on e-mail servers that were otherwise utilized to comply with federal law--it would have been illegal to use White House servers to conduct campaign business--could be considered comparable to flagrant violation of the law without any but the most bald-faced pretext only in a mind that's already made up.

If those servers had not been used for government business, there would have been no issue.

But the fact that you *like* reinforces my point.

Oddly, when the CIA and military were torturing prisoners (assuming that's stopped now as official policy), they were violating the written law but relying on presidential authority and legal opinions from the president's in-house legal department.

On one level, I certainly like the idea that the military and intelligence services ought not to violate the law on the president's say-so. On another, I am really uncomfortable with the idea that in practice, the military and intelligence services will follow the president's orders (legal or not) when they like them, but may refuse (legal or not) when they don't care for the orders. I mean, I understand that there are many countries in the world where the president doesn't dare cross the army or the secret police, but I'd rather not add the US to that list.

Boy, do you misunderstand Trump. You think Trump is running for Chief Executive, while his supporters are voting for him as Head of State. They don't even hear your policy, philosophy and practicability objections.

I think this is correct. In fact, I'd say a lot more voters are voting for head of state (on grounds of tribal identity and image) than for an executive (which would require evaluating what kind of executive their candidate would be). I would say that a substantial chunk of the support for Trump, Clinton, and Sanders this time around, and for Obama and Palin in 2008, was based on wanting a head of state with some tribal resonance, rather than selecting a competent executive.

Us Brits often find it amusing that when we had our revolution in the 1640s, we abolished the divine right of kings. But when you Americans had yours in the following century, you replaced a Constitutional Monarchy with an Executive that had far more extensive powers than the one they overthrew.

Come on kids, let's write a new constitution ... no one is using the old barn out back.

Sigh, so much mood affiliation in this post.

"It is sad to see so many people, including those on the Left or in the Democratic Party, criticize the idea of a Trump presidency without ever uttering the phrase: “No man or woman should have so much political power over others.” "

That would imply that there should be some limit on their guys. It's all Principals over Principles.

It is strange but instructive how many Democratic criticisms of Trump -

Maybe because these criticisms work great with Democratic and many independent voters. Calling Trump racist and sexist sounds like a good to consolidate the Party Obama coalition in 2008/2012. HRC has been running on this Day One. Also lumping the traditional D attacks on Trump makes sense to prove the entire Republican (as opposed to 30% of R voters) have these same views.

Otherwise, protesters are comparing Trump with mini-Fascism so they are attacking in a similar direction. And he is not running for the nomination for the Democratic Party so D's say matters little today. (In fact these attackers might have made Trump stronger in the nomination process.)

Additional thought, I assumed Trump was very top down from his experience as a successful CEO. (This also why I am not surprised Trump gives slightly different answers to different audiences.) This is how most successful companies are so are you suggesting the government should not be run like a business.

I feel like TC stopped short of the punchline: Anyone who thinks they should be President is by definition a narcissist and a sociopath.

Pretty much this. Does any normal person have any desire for that job?

I think most normal people would refuse the job even for truly vast sums of money.

It occurred to me the other night that if anyone could pull off a coup d'état, it's Trump. He'd have become very good friends with the military first. Has he made any speeches at, say, West Point?

That's a rather scathing indictment of our officer corps. I hold them in much higher regard to think they would initiate a coup for Trump. Besides, military officers want both respect and knowledgeable leaders. Trump would likely offend them, and remains woefully ignorant about what it is they actually do. The top officer corps would only have contempt for him.
It seems more probable that the coup would be against, rather than for trump.

True, a lot of current and former military officers, like me, are offended by trump. Despite many leftie misconceptions, most of us do take our oath seriously, of defending the constitution first, and obeying a prez only after that.

So let's elect another empty suit supported by billionaires like Penny Pritzker and company? Conservative billionaires bad. Liberal billionaires good. Baa, baaa, baaa...

Is there any evidence that Trump has the attention span or reading skills or low profile behavior to sneakily subvert the Constitution without anybody noticing?

That's what your staff is for. GWB didn't write the torture memos.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you concern troll. Breathtaking!

The issue is the embrace of torture by the Bush administration in contravention of the law, specifically the treaty on torture, and the Republican decision to thereafter embrace torture rather than moderate or chastise the executive.

In general, the head of state, and commander in chief of the military, will have broad powers. These are checked by the people itself in a democracy, and by the legislature. The failure is not that 'someone' has power, but that the people have chosen to invest bad men with that power and that those with the institutional power to confront that person choose not to do so.

It is sad to see so many people, including those on the Left or in the Democratic Party, criticize the idea of a Trump presidency without ever uttering the phrase: “No man or woman should have so much political power over others.”

why would they say that? it's exactly what they want. they just don't want anyone else but themselves to have it.

There's zero evidence that I can see that Trump will exert any more extra-Constitutional power than any other candidate. On the other hand, when it comes to nominating Supreme Court Justices who actually uphold the Constitution, Trump seems like the only candidate who is really interested and capable of making this happen.

No, if you want that, you should go with Cruz, theh constitiutional conservative. I have no idea at all what trump will do with his cult of personality authoritarian populism, but I definitely do not see a restrained executive branch, trump has never been restrained by anything.

the president is a problem the real issue is the overreaching of the unelected bureaucrats and the failure of congress to fix anything that doesn't line their pockets

"The good news, if that is what one should call it, is that the best criticisms of Trump involve the concept of individual liberty and freedom from arbitrary legal authority and pure presidential discretion. The bad news is that so few intellectuals have the relevant ideological vocabulary in that regard. "
Ironically many in the once despised and supposedly extremist Tea Party, many of us now backing Cruz, are making that very criticism, and nobody is listening. People forget that while being half conservative, the original tea party was also half libertarian.

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