I can think of few things more sad and absurd than attending a Heritage Foundation meeting at which Jonah Goldberg, John Goddamn Yoo, and Ed Fucking Meese debate the depths of their irrelevance, but covering this meeting is how Kelefa Sanneh makes his money:
The speakers at Heritage that day differed in the degree of optimism they allowed themselves. All of them believed that Trump would likely nominate a suitably conservative judge to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court. But when the host asked whether Trump might be “more sensitive and self-restrained” than Obama in the use of executive power, the room erupted in laughter. Yoo didn’t dismiss the idea. He imagined Trump, on the first day of his term, repealing all of Obama’s executive orders and agency regulations—an imperious way to make the Presidency less imperial. Goldberg, by contrast, insisted that, despite Trump’s declarations of partisan fealty, he was at heart “a lifelong Democrat from New York who likes to cut deals.” He argued that conservatives should make it their mission to keep President Trump in line—to insure that “he has to deal with us and get our approval on the important things.”
I have to imagine this Legion of Doom cackles the moment Sanneh’s out of the room (and that Sanneh’s aware of it). They can’t be so dense to imagine, first, that the GOP will stick its mitts into every corner of the federal courts and, well, that Donald J. Trump worries about having to “deal” with them and get their “approval.” It’s like salmon getting approval from a bear. The president-elect’s appeal, as Sanneh correctly concludes, “is based on his being the kind of guy who would never feel the need to explain himself to a bunch of scholars, no matter how supportive they were.”
So either this group is being played for suckers (hi, Jonah!) or it doesn’t mind looking like it’s being played (Meese and Jim DeMint).