On March 20, 2010, tens of thousands of Tea Party protesters gathered on Capitol Hill to oppose the imminent passage of Obamacare in the House of Representatives.
One of the more memorable signs was one that simply read, “Restoration Not Transformation.” It was a slogan that referred to Barack Obama’s declaration, days before the 2008 presidential election, that his goal was “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” In response, a grass roots movement emerged that aimed not only to control federal spending, but also to defend the Constitution of the United States from Obama’s designs.
The Tea Party fell short of its first goal — largely because politicians, right and left, find it impossible to cut spending on anything. (Most of the “cuts” of the dreaded “sequester” were merely caps on increased future spending.) But it succeeded in the second, thanks to the election of President Donald Trump, who has set about restoring the Founders’ constitutional vision.
He has done so in the following ways:
- Appointing conservative, constitutionalist, originalist judges
- Rolling back the heavy regulations of the administrative state
- Obeying the decisions of the courts (as Obama did not)
- Removing Obamacare’s most constitutionally problematic provision, the individual mandate
- Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords and the Iran nuclear deal, neither of which were ratified by the Senate
- Defending the Second Amendment against gun control hysteria
- Defending the free speech on campus
- Defending religious freedom by easing restrictions on political speech from the pulpit
- Defending the free press with a more accessible White House
- Granting states more power to decide social issues themselves
Critics of the president might counter by accusing him of attacking the free press because he slams the “fake news” media, for example, or attacking the law enforcement and intelligence services by accusing them of political bias. In each case Trump is criticizing the performance of these institutions — not the institutions themselves.
Would-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed on Twitter on Monday — in honor of Constitution Day, no less — that Republicans were “blocking the Congress from performing Constitutionally-required oversight of the Trump Administration.” Her comments came just ten minutes after House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) had announced that he would be investigating the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over allegations that he had misused government transportation. On that issue, as on others, Republicans in Congress have been aggressive in holding the administration accountable — certainly much more so than Democrats had been when they ran interference for Obama.
Some of Trump’s rhetoric suggests he is frustrated with the Constitution’s checks and balances. But he never disobeys them — unlike his predecessor, who did so brazenly with his “pen and phone.”
On this Constitution Day, Trump has given the nation something to celebrate again.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.