President-elect Donald Trump turns a very memorable phrase. His “Make America Great Again” helped launch his improbable run. “Build the Wall” became an early signature chant by his routinely massive rally crowds – predicated upon Trump’s promise to do exactly that between the United States and Mexico.
And perhaps nothing did more down the home stretch to deliver Trump to the White House than his promise to “Drain the Swamp.”
Washington, D.C. is a $4-trillion-a-year cronyism-infested cesspool. Where elites operate on our money – but by their own rules. And with that the American people have had it. And Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” was a catchy pledge to address it.
These statements and sentiments helped deliver Trump an unprecedented, historic victory. And his electoral coattails saved several down-ballot Republicans from what appeared to be certain defeat.
So certainly the Republicans have finally, once-and-for-all learned that cronyism-as-usual must end, right? Right? Sadly, no.
Ryan Halts House GOP Attempt to Restore Earmarks: “Former House Speaker John Boehner imposed a moratorium on earmarks in 2011 after they became associated with boondoggle projects and corruption….‘We just had the ‘drain the swamp’ election,’ (House Speaker Paul) Ryan said, according to a senior House GOP source. ‘We don’t want to turn around two weeks later and have earmarks.’”
You think? So what – you’ll wait a month before bringing in the swamp-refill fire hoses? Out of some sort of sham deference to We the Electorate? Earmarks are dead – they should stay dead.
But that’s the end of these lame attempts at monster cronyism, right? Right? Sadly, no.
Senate Republicans Revive Legislation to Ban Online Gambling: “The day after it became public that billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave $20 million to a super PAC with close ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), three GOP senators introduced legislation that would effectively ban online gambling – a measure Adelson has long pushed for.”
I’m sorry, but what the holy heck are these Republicans thinking? So blatantly throwing a monstrous campaign donor a giant bone the day after his massive payoff?
Adelson runs brick-and-mortar casinos. Online gambling is an alternative – a competitor to his brick-and-mortar casinos. So he wants his bought-and-paid-for crony elected officials to ban it.
There is absolutely zero legitimate argument to be made for Adelson’s personal legislation. In fact, it violates several key less government tenets.
There is no enumerated Constitutional power that grants the federal government any authority over this. So Adelson’s personal legislation would be a violation of the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Different states have passed very different laws with regard to online gambling. Many of them allow it, to varying degrees. Adelson’s personal legislation would steamroll them all. The Tenth Amendment and its federalism? Blithely thrown out the window.
Adelson’s personal legislation also opens up some new cans of worms that we would do well to keep tightly shut.
Allowing the government this far into the Internet here – allows them to go this far into the Internet anywhere. Trying to chase around and shut down gambling websites requires a LOT of government intrusion into the Web. And that ain’t great (just ask: China, Iran, North Korea,…).
And many states have gun laws that are more (traditionally) liberal – i.e. closer in tune with our Second Amendment. Adelson’s anti-federalism steamroll puts those too in jeopardy. As an anti-Second Amendment federal government could cite Adelson’s crony gambling law as precedent – to roll right over those state laws and strip gun rights nationwide.
And on, and on, and….
And they are considering passing Adelson’s personal legislation in a very Swamp-like way – during a lame duck session. Where it would be voted on in part by legislators We the People just voted out of office – because we no longer want them voting on legislation.
Some Republicans – after this historic “Drain the Swamp” election – appear to have learned very little. As they try to continue pressing ahead with all of this business-as-usual Swamp Thing cronyism.
The GOP ain’t called the Stupid Party for nothing.
This first appeared in the Washington Examiner and Red State.