Presidential Power

Rejecting Biden's Threat of a Nationwide Mask Mandate, Trump Suddenly Respects Limits on Presidential Power

Both major parties defend the Constitution only when it's convenient.

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Democrats, who routinely complain about Donald Trump's power grabs when they do not like the results, quickly change their tune when they see presidential orders as the easiest way to impose a nationwide policy they favor. Trump, meanwhile, never hesitates to assert authority he does not have, except when it comes to policies he opposes.

That utterly unprincipled approach to executive power is vividly illustrated by the debate between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden about face mask mandates, which yesterday led Trump to utter these words: "If the president has the unilateral power to order every single citizen to cover their face in nearly all instances, what other powers does he have?" This is the same man who last April asserted "total" authority over COVID-19 lockdowns, saying "the president of the United States calls the shots."

Trump's sudden respect for constitutional limits was inspired by Biden's suggestion that as president he would require Americans to wear masks in public. "These masks make a gigantic difference," he said in a June 25 interview with a local TV reporter in Pittsburgh. "I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask." When asked if he would "use your federal leverage to mandate that," Biden replied: "Yes, I would. From an executive standpoint, I would….I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public."

At a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware, yesterday, Biden reiterated his support for face mask mandates. "Every governor should mandate mandatory mask wearing," he said. "It's not about your rights. It's about your responsibilities as an American."

This time around, Biden did not mention the possibility of a presidential order. But in comments to reporters yesterday evening, Trump argued that there is no legal basis for such a mandate.

"He wants the president of the United States, with the mere stroke of a pen, to order over 300 million American citizens to wear a mask for a minimum of three straight months…no matter where they live," Trump said. "He does not identify what authority the president has to issue such a mandate or how federal law enforcement could possibly enforce it or why we would be stepping on governors throughout our country, many of whom have done a very good job and they know what is needed."

While "we have urged Americans to wear masks," Trump said, "we've entrusted the governors of each state, elected by the people, to develop and enforce their own mask policies….We will continue to urge Americans to wear masks when they cannot socially distance, but we do not need to bring the full weight of the federal government down on law-abiding Americans to accomplish this goal."

That federalist approach is strikingly different from the position that Trump took last spring, when he said he alone had the authority to decide when COVID-19 lockdowns should be imposed and when they should be lifted. That was a gross mischaracterization, since states have broad authority to combat communicable diseases under their general "police power," while the federal government is limited to public health measures derived from its power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce. Even if Congress were inclined to cite the Commerce Clause as a justification for lifting state lockdowns, the president would have no authority to act without new legislation.

As the Princeton political scientist Keith Whittington noted at the time, "The governors issued their shut-down orders based on their own statutorily granted emergency powers that are in turn grounded in the constitutional police power of the states to make such regulations as might be necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community. That constitutional authority of the states is independent of the federal government's. States do not need to ask permission from the president or any other federal official before they make use of that authority. Moreover, having issued orders that in their judgment are necessary to protect public health in the midst of an epidemic, governors do not need to seek the president's permission to lift those orders or to keep them in place."

Biden—like Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who last month urged Trump to impose a nationwide mask mandate—surely would agree with that assessment in this context. Biden does not want the president to override state restrictions on social and economic activity aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19. By contrast, he does want the president to override state decisions about whether to require face masks, on the assumption that it will lead to the outcome he wants. Yet if the president has broad authority to dictate public health policies throughout the country, he could just as easily use it to negate mask mandates. He also could use that authority to loosen or eliminate other disease control measures that Biden and his fellow Democrats support.

That's the thing about constitutional limits: They do not guarantee any particular outcome, but they do say who gets to make the decisions. The president can do some things on his own, but others require congressional action. Congress can legislate in certain areas, based on its enumerated powers, but everything else is "reserved to the states respectively, or to the people," as the 10th Amendment makes clear. States have a broad police power, but it is constrained by the constitutional rights they are bound to respect.

Politicians who feel free to disregard these rules whenever they prove inconvenient not only undermine a system that is designed to restrict government power and protect individual freedom; they set a precedent their opponents can use in ways they will not like. The fact that people like Biden and Trump routinely fail to anticipate that possibility reflects an alarming shortsightedness that should disqualify them not only from the presidency but from any public office.

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  1. I am having a hard time thinking of anything Trump has done that would be as widespread and intrusive a violation of both rights and the sovereignty of the states as a mask mandate. If someone can come up with one, I would be curious to hear it.

    The mask mandate is horrible. And that is the story here. Who gives a shit about whatever unrelated things Trump has done? That has no bearing on the merits or lack thereof of Biden’s proposal.

    Reason can never write an article that is straight up critical of a Democratic position. Reason either defends the Democratic position or, if the position is indefensible like this one, makes the story about the larger issue of “both sides being just as bad”. It is so transparent. I am not sure what is more annoying, that they do it or that they do it in such an obvious way that it insults the intelligence of the reader.

    1. Thanks for validating my decision to not actually read the article and go straight to the comments.

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    2. The best guess I can think of is Trump threatening to withhold funds from states for various things (sanctuary cities). But that is long standing precedent. I hate it, but it isn’t like it is novel.

      Other than that, I can’t think of one actual case of Trump attempting to break federalism.

      1. “… I can’t think of one actual case of Trump attempting to break federalism.”

        You can’t think at ALL, is your basic problem!

        How about, respecting the rights of the states to actually have their tax money GO TO PURPOSES BLESSED BY CONGRESS, as per the USA Constitution, which gives taxing and spending power to Congress, not the POTUS? To give just ONE example of many that could be mentioned, how about money allocated for rebuilding facilities on US military bases, diverted by POTUS for walls, instead, to fence out illegal sub-humans?

        Your BIGGER problem is your addiction to Trump-dick!!! A-dick-tion, we might call it!

        https://reason.com/2020/02/07/michael-bloomberg-and-the-imperious-presidency-2/#comment-8120734

        JesseSPAZ comment: “He can fire political appointees for any fucking reason he wants.”
        Jesse’s over-archingly lusting after the super-powers of the Trumptatorship YET AGAIN!!!
        Trump can fire them for not assigning their entire paychecks to Trump… For not licking Trump’s balls as much as JesseSPAZ does… For turning down Trump’s requests for then to perform personal murder-for-hire… For having fucked Stormy Daniels out of turn, when it was Trump’s turn… For Air Force Captain-Sir-Dude-Sir-Pilot-Sir refusing orders to go and bomb Nancy Pelosi’s house…

        Just when I was rooting for JesseSPAZ to turn from his evil ways, he doubles down on Trumptatorship-worship AGAIN!

        Meanwhile, JesseSPAZ regards theyself as a brilliant intellectual genius, right up there with “Stable Genius” the Orange-Haired!

        Stable Genius Junior keeps right on advocating more and more and MORE POWER to the Trumptatorshit, NEVER EVER being smart enough to realize that sooner or later, said new POTUS-powers will end up in the hands of the BidenFuhrer or other political enemy of the oh-so-smart JesseBahnFuhrer!

        So JesseBahnFuhrer… 1 or 2 days before the likely upcoming inauguration of the BidenFuhrer, next January, will you STILL be advocating more power for the Trumptatorshit? Just HOW arrogantly stupid and short-sighted ARE you, anyway?

        1. Fuck off freakshow.

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                  2. “Yes, much worse.”

                    Hihn wasn’t spastic.

        2. So in a question about federalism, you talk about separation of powers at the federal level.

          Do you even realize when you say dumb things?

          1. Do you even realize when you say fascist lying things?

            Readers, beware! Do not be deceived by JesseAZ! JesseAZ does NOT believe that LIES are bad in ANY way! Only ACTIONS matter, ethically or morally! See https://reason.com/2020/01/01/trumps-inartful-dodges/#comment-8068480
            “Words are words dumbfuck. Actions are where morals and ethics lie.”, says JesseAZ. When confronted with offers of hush money, illegal commands (from a commanding military officer), offers of murder for hire, libel, slander, lies in court, yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, inciting riots, fighting words, forged signatures, threatening to kill elected officials, false representations concerning products or services for sale… these are all “merely” cases of “using words”. Just like the Evil One (AKA “Father of Lies”), Jesse says lies are all A-OK and utterly harmless! So do NOT believe ANYTHING that you hear from JesseAZ!

            Also according to the same source, JesseAZ is TOTALLY on board with dictatorship (presumably so long as it is an “R” dictator that we are talking of).
            With reference to Trump, JesseAZ says…
            “He is not constitutionally bound on any actions he performed.”

            I say again, this is important…
            “He is not constitutionally bound on any actions he performed.”
            We need a BRILLIANTLY persuasive new movie from JesseAZ to “Wake Up, America!”, to flesh out the concept that “The Triumph of The Will of The Trump, Trumps All”! Including the USA Constitution. In fact, USA military personnel should start swearing allegiance to Trump, NOT to some stupid, moldering old piece of paper!
            Previous Powerful People have blazed a path for us to follow here, slackers!!!

            1. “Readers, beware! Do not be deceived” credo of a fascist, “I know what’s best for you”

              1. So here is Jimmy Jazz telling the readers to NOT read (or believe) what I have written! (And what I have written, was merely to show (quote) the past writings of the fascist known as JesseSPAZ). Jimmy Jazz must be a fascist! For telling you not to read me! AKA, Jimmy Jazz commands, do NOT believe me and my negation or questioning of JesseSPAZ’s fascism!

                Ye be hoist by your own petard, hypocrite!

              2. “Readers, beware of the lies of Adolf Hitler! Fascism destroys lives and nations, for no good reasons! Do not be deceived”

                So then the above is a credo of a fascist, “I know what’s best for you”?

                Do you have a brain that can actually THINK?!?!

          2. Look, moron, you can’t think of bad things (about Der TrumpfenFuhrer) because you think of Him as Your Perfect Savior!

            Try …trump violates states rights… (no quotes) as a Google search-string… Does Trump’s little baby know how to do that? … And I get “About 4,610,000 results”

            First (topmost) hit =
            https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/02/trump-states-rights-education-sanctuary-drilling-492784
            Trump endorses states’ rights — but only when he agrees with the state
            It’s not just Democrats who are pushing back at what they see as federal intrusions.

            From there:
            “The Trump administration is all in favor of states’ rights. Except when it’s not.

            Attorney General Jeff Sessions brushed aside state autonomy to sue California over its so-called sanctuary policies that shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. He also unleashed federal prosecutors to go after marijuana businesses in the states that have legalized cannabis sales.”

            And more…

            1. Nope. You don’t realize it.

              1. I realize that you are a moron and are PROUD of it, and will NEVER apologize for ANY mistakes or lies that you make!

        3. How about, respecting the rights of the states to actually have their tax money GO TO PURPOSES BLESSED BY CONGRESS

          Gosh, if only Obama had done that, right?

    3. It is a fundamental premise of our governing system that people suck and we must rely on political opponents to call out the objective failings of our leaders.

      So, I agree, it’s lazy bullshit to “shoot the messenger”. Only self-serving opponents can be reliably counted upon to deliver the important messages. That’s why it’s such big news when someone is criticized by their own party.

      We are fucked if Biden is so bad that he transforms Trump into a constitutional scholar.

    4. Reason still hasn’t learned that sometimes Trump says random shit off the cuff, and treat these statements as actual executive orders.

      1. Even his questions are orders.

      2. Obama got harassed for years for his off-the-cuff statements. Guess we’re done with that game now? Or do you think it might pick back up now Biden is in the picture?

        1. Did he? I missed it. Any examples?

          1. The fun bit is how Obama saying “57 states“ was used for literally years as evidence that he’s an idiot, while Trump saying idiotic things every time he speaks is somehow not. Idiot fatigue. You can’t say he doesn’t have a sort of low cunning in this way.

            1. I don’t recall Obama ever getting any flack over “57 states”. Most of the talk I remember was about how the media (rightfully) ignored that simple mistake, when they would never give the same courtesy to a Republican.

        2. Obama got harassed for years for his off-the-cuff statements.

          And rightfully so: the man was an ignorant blowhard.

          But that’s not the point. Trump is being accused of abuse of executive power, and all you can point to is off-the-cuff remarks.

    5. Biden: “I would make everyone wear a mask.”
      Trump: “I don’t think, as President, you have that authority.”
      Sullum: “In April you said, and I quote

      The President of the United States has the authority to do what the President has the authority to do, which is very powerful. The President of the United States calls the shots.

      . How do you square that with your current stance against the Constitution?”

      It’s not even bad reporting, its bad propaganda.

      1. “The President of the United States has the authority to do what the President has the authority to do,”

        An uninformative tautology.

        1. Unless the question is a bit of an existential oxymoron like “Do you think the President has the authority to do things he can’t do?”

      2. “No, I don’t take responsibility at all.” — March 13

        “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that’s the way it’s got to be. It’s total.” — April 13

    6. He has done nothing, but that’s not the point. Jacob has the reasoning skills of a child, and incapable of rational discourse in any discussion that may or may not involve Trump. I’m embarrassed for him.

    7. You are so on target. I activated my membership just so that I could respond to the super-weird compulsion this so-called Libertarian outlet has for bending itself into pretzels to view every issue through a “pox on both houses” lens–when, manifestly, one party (Blue) has embraced and promotes a quasi-fascist, totalitarian, anti-capitalist ethos. It’s fucking nauseating.
      Should Biden and vile/phony/woke Harris prevail, Reason will find itself shit out of luck and deeply in chagrin.

    8. Every objection to the Left must always include some bothsideism throat clearing, while Orange Man Bad can always proceed while ignoring that the Dems are 10 times as bad.

      Welcome to Reason, post the Marxist Long March Through the Institution.

      1. Honestly, I’m stunned. They really need to get past Trump’s buffoonish personality, and tout de fucking suite.

    9. Agreed.

      “The president calls the shots” is tantamount to advertising puffery. When push came to shove, Trump didn’t use his position to micromanage the states. For the most part, he didn’t even do so when cities were burning and rioting.

      “I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask” is literally unconstitutional tyranny.

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    11. Reason can never write an article that is straight up critical of a Democratic position.

      Presumably that is because the responsibility for a partisan puff piece is the PR dept of the RNC or DNC. I understand that is sort of shit you prefer to read but the fact is that this article IS critical of the Dems – meaning Biden. And they should be critical of that.

      So what the fuck are you on about you little two-bit partisan whore.

    12. Reason tries to be subtle in its opposition to The Don,
      but can’t con any real free thinker with this stinker.

    13. Did not know that the Constitution was a suicide pact,

      What Demented and Deluded Donald had done, on top of his evil and incompetence when it comes to hi smany failures in properly dealing with the virus, that is “as widespread and intrusive a violation of both rights and the sovereignty of the states as a mask mandate” IS “the lack of a national mask mandate by Demented and Deluded Donald.”

      Wanna-be domestic virus suicide bombers have no more rights than their radical Islamic counterparts.

    14. Indeed John, it’s the same thing every time. Even tough any of Trump’s overreach is a tiny, tiny fraction of what Obama did, and what Biden has already promised to do.

      Reason Magazine is now part of the problem.

    1. It seems that Aussies and Kiwis used to have a reputation as fierce individualists. Turns out that the land of giant reptiles, bird-eating spiders, and even meaner giant birds breeds a bunch of panty-waisted victims of global warming too pussified to own handguns.

  2. >>Both major parties defend the Constitution only when it’s convenient.

    both major parties serve one class and of course they only use when convenient. T has done nothing equivalent to “cover your faces and under your beds or we’ll jail you in a nursing home”

    1. And even if he had, so what? That doesn’t make this any better or worse. So, why include it in an article talking about the mask mandate other than to try and diminish the resulting criticism of Biden?

      1. you’re correct above. liberty-aryans posing as libertarians.

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  4. Everything from the left is a demand for compliance and fealty to the powers that be. They honestly believe you are not an individual with rights but that you are a tool to be used or tossed away. Eat your gruel and don’t complain or else.

    1. And the right believes that it doesn’t matter how many hundreds of thousands of Americans die as long as they don’t have to exercise any adult responsibility whatsoever.

      1. Hey, Tony’s here making up bullshit again! Hi loser.

      2. And the right believes that it doesn’t matter how many hundreds of thousands of Americans die as long as they don’t have to exercise any adult responsibility whatsoever.

        You need to pay attention to the science, it’s not complicated. Masks are supposed to flatten the curve. Even if they reduce transmission, wearing masks doesn’t save lives. All it does is drag out the epidemic months longer and damage our economy further.

        1. You are the one who needs to pay attention. I challenge you to cite a source that says that masks will not save lives. Because I can find about 4 million that say otherwise.

      3. And the left using any possible excuse to infringe on our natural rights.

        We need our natural rights. We do not need progressives. Get rid of the progressives.

      4. And you refuse to acknowledge that the lockdowns also have a cost in human lives. One that may be greater than the number of lives they’re saving. How would anyone know, when asking the question is verboten?

      5. Tony,

        I’ve read your diatribes long enough, and I’ve finally decided to address your arguments. You are constantly using strawmen arguments, (like right now,) to make it seem like people don’t care about others dying. This is a false claim. Not wanting to mandate masks does NOT mean you have to disagree with them helping to save lives. I, and many others, do not want to mandate masks because we have no right to do so. Just because masks are not required, does not make it illegal to NOT wear one; you are free to do so, and I wore mine before they were mandated if within six feet of another person.

        You don’t seem to understand the libertarian position, so let me enlighten you:

        -Just because YOU don’t like drugs, doesn’t mean I can’t choose to put them in MY body.
        -Just because YOU hate guns, you can avoid them, but that doesn’t mean I should be banned from buying them.
        -Just because YOU think we should all be FORCED to wear masks, doesn’t mean WE should have to.

        Responsibility means doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, NOT because the government is some sort of benevolent god, and their word is morality. It means doing the morally correct thing without being forced to. I’m against mask mandates not because I would have to wear a mask, but because I would be forced to. If something’s a good idea, people won’t have to be told to do it, but choose to do it because it’s a good idea. You don’t seem to understand what website you’re commenting on.

  5. First we are going to need to get widespread use of face masks for the near future. If we don’t we are likely to continue to cycle through outbreaks. Businesses realize this an more are getting on board asking for customers to compile voluntarily. I can think of a local business, among the most conservative and yet the first to require masks . I think that Joe Biden leadership wearing a mask in public will likely go farther in getting compliance than a mandate will.

    1. Get back under your bed.

    2. Maybe you could wear my mask for me and those of a couple of other people. You go put on 5-10 masks and then we will talk in 15 minutes.

    3. asking for customers to compile voluntarily.

      Oops. I replied to what is obviously a spam-bot.

    4. I think that most people would prefer to not care what Joe Biden does with his face.

    5. Hahaha! Remember when you at least pretended you’re a moderate, you lefty slug?

      1. He was never very good at it. He’s always been a Marxist slaver to his soulless core.

    6. Are you a troll? You DO realize this is a libertarian publication, right? So that a pro-federal-mandate position (especially a baseless one) makes zero fucking sense here? jesus christ…

    7. First we are going to need to get widespread use of face masks for the near future. If we don’t we are likely to continue to cycle through outbreaks.

      And why would you want to prevent outbreaks? What is the objective?

      I think that Joe Biden leadership wearing a mask in public will likely go farther in getting compliance than a mandate will.

      Biden was a joke of a politician even before he became senile; the idea that people are going to take him seriously is ludicrous.

    8. The basic problem with understanding these viruses is that very, very few people understand what 120 nanometers means. That is the approximate size of the coronavirus. Hmm.. A human hair is about 80,000 – 100,000 nanometers in diameter.

      That still is hard to understand. Let’s move up a bit. A rice grain is a bit more than a tenth of an inch in diameter. An aircraft carrier is about 1,200 feet long or 14,000 inches or 144,000 tenths of an inch. Now we can see why the masks are completely ineffective. It’s not trying to filter out a mosquito with a chain link fence. It’s trying to filter out grains of rice with aircraft carrier size fibers!

      That’s why no clinical studies have produced statistically significant results https://wattsupwiththat.Com/2020/07/25/does-universal-mask-wearing-decrease-or-increase-the-spread-of-covid-19/ .

      1. The CDC recommends masks because worldwide data shows that mask mandates slow the spread of the virus. You wouldn’t need to go to a fringe contrarian blog to get your information if the information was what you wanted it to be.

        It’s not about filtering viruses, but minimizing the release of respiratory droplets containing virus. Common sense says masks do this, and data confirms it. It’s by no means a panacea, of course, and distancing is just as important.

        1. The CDC recommends masks because worldwide data shows that mask mandates slow the spread of the virus.

          Worldwide data is inconclusive on whether masks have any effect at all. Furthermore, slowing the spread of the virus doesn’t save lives, it likely costs lives.

          1. We are at full fucking retard and it didn’t even take that long.

            Because Trump has bungled this response beyond mere incompetence, beyond actual maliciousness, but out of sheer pathological narcissism and maniacal wishful thinking, you have to spin this yarn:

            That deadly disease the entire planet is in lockdown for? Everyone should actually get infected, and that will result in the least death. It’s just science.

            If Trump is failing st anything, it’s that he hasn’t killed nearly enough.

            1. That deadly disease the entire planet is in lockdown for? Everyone should actually get infected, and that will result in the least death. It’s just science.

              Mostly correct. I suggest you go back to the “flattening the curve” presentations from a few months ago to understand why.

              Because Trump has bungled this response beyond mere incompetence, beyond actual maliciousness, but out of sheer pathological narcissism

              Wrong. Deaths per million in the US from COVID are far below Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Sweden, so claiming that Trump “bungled it” is absurd. Across countries, government interventions had no consistent effects either.

              Furthermore, COVID response is the responsibility of state governments, and the worst performers are NY, NJ, CT, and MA; their governors screwed up badly. Trump had nothing to do with that.

              1. Regardless of your convoluted “only Democrats are to blame” mind-numbing tribal horseshit, Trump will get the blame. Sorry. You can console yourself with the fact that he wasn’t actually doing anything for you but occasionally owning a libtard with some kindergarten name calling, and that’s not actually much in the way of governing, if you think about it.

                1. Regardless of your convoluted “only Democrats are to blame” mind-numbing tribal horseshit

                  I didn’t mention “Democrats”; I simply listed the states with the worst per capita death rates.

                  Trump will get the blame.

                  Of course. Because that’s how you people operate: lie and shift blame.

                  ou can console yourself with the fact that he wasn’t actually doing anything for you

                  Fascinating: your view of government is “what can my president do for me”. My view of government is “the less it does for me, the better”.

        2. “…..mask mandates slow the spread of the virus.”

          Well then, more mandates, princess?

      2. There’s a little more to it than simply the mechanical filtration aspect. For a particle the mass of a virus (on the order of 10^-18 g) electrostatic attractions between the cloth’s surface charges and the particle’s dipole moment will likely dominate. However, I agree that non- respirator face coverings are worse than useless.

    9. Comply voluntarily is the key phrase.

  6. Trump Suddenly Respects Limits on Presidential Power

    LOL. He has been saying it is a local/state government for most of the response since day 1, that he was just facilitating transfer of items and coordination above them.

    1. Which is 100% the proper response to this.

  7. Forcing people to wear masks: that’s violence.

    1. I thought silence was violence.

      1. Apparently everything but violence is violence now.

        1. violence is peaceful protest.

          1. And if your property is insured, then arson isn’t really violence.

      2. It is hard to hear a person in a mask, and you run out of breath. That is the silence part.

    2. Infecting other people with a disease is what?

      1. Depends. Nature in most cases.

        1. What about when you do it deliberately by ignoring sanitary measures for crass political reasons?

          1. I’ve already told you: lets keep AIDS out of this. No need to be homophobic. Gay people weren’t inflicting violence on each other in the 80’s. Don’t be a bigot.

            1. If only the gays had known that the best, nay only, way to eradicate AIDS was for everyone to fuck each other as much as possible. In fact, it’s still around. Hurry along and apply your COVID “herd immunity” logic and become some bath house’s resident cum dumpster. For the herd.

              1. Don’t stop; tell us more.

                1. It’s fun to watch him go full retard and embarrass himself.

                  1. He’ll always find something to say, even when he can’t.

              2. So Tony, instead of you homos practicing ‘social distancing’ with each other’s assholes, you still fuck each other with wild abandon. Adult homosexual males in the western world are notoriously and provably non monogamous. You also spread GRID at a higher rate than any other group because of that. Don’t even get me started on those two minute ads for Prep (the HIV/GRID pill that is supposed to let homos rawdog each other).

                You’re just for all this WuFlu shit because it lets you progressives erode our individual rights, which you despise so much.

                1. Envy is an ugly emotion.

          2. Google “pozzed.” It’s trendy.

  8. Biden can do whatever is necessary. He has a phone and a pen and a rubber ducky.

    1. Once again, that’s a Donald Duck souvenir eraser. Joe likes it because Donald doesn’t wear pants, either.

  9. Serious question here. I know that people who hate Trump keep claiming that he is acting like a tyrant and operating outside the constitution (usually all while complaining Trump isn’t doing enough – not sure how to resolve that irony). However, I really never get actual evidence of this. Instead it’s almost written as an accepted “truth” rather than based on fact.

    What has Trump done that goes beyond the limits of the constitution or is comparable to ordering a nationwide mask mandate?

    1. He tweeted a question about delaying the election. If that isn’t literally Hitler, I don’t know what is.

      1. No, he asked if people thought the elections should be postponed. He was trolling the democrats.

        1. Welcome to Hit & Run. Don’t get me killed, new guy.

    2. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I’m not a Trump hater, though being a libertarian who isn’t a fan of his immigration policies or his trade war, his supporters assume I hate the guy.

      1. Or it could be the numerous times you’ve gone into a thread with a terrible strawman attack against comments not present in the thread.

      2. Oh. And calling everyone you disagree with a trump sycophant

        1. Don’t forget cock sucker and cult member. But we’re the “mean girls”.

          1. Sarc dreams of being in a cult where he has all the cocks he can suck. Spoiler: it’s a LOT of cocks.

    3. “Serious question here.”

      My analysis is this: Trump is both his own worst enemy and his best promoter, depending on if you agree with him. It is very easy to get very concerned with somethings he tweets or says: his style is highly confrontational. On the other hand, when it comes to actually implementing policy, he is, in general, more highly constrained. I don’t think that most folks in the public are used to this.

      Most politicians “filter” everything through their advisors to make sure they won’t offend anyone who might vote for them. I think most folks also realize this. For those who would like to know what actually goes through a president’s mind, Trump style is a breath of fresh air, if one tends to agree with him. For ones who don’t, well, it makes for pretty good cannon fodder.

      1. My analysis is this: Trump is both his own worst enemy and his best promoter, depending on if you agree with him. It is very easy to get very concerned with somethings he tweets or says: his style is highly confrontational. On the other hand, when it comes to actually implementing policy, he is, in general, more highly constrained. I don’t think that most folks in the public are used to this.

        It’s called “shifting the Overton window”. The left has been successful at it for decades. Trump is pushing back the other way and as part of that he is generating outrage in order to get media coverage; it’s pretty much the only option he has.

    4. He unilaterally banned a previously legal firearm with no legislative involvement (actually, a non-firearm that he called a firearm so he could ban it, so no handy loophole there). And he did it after promising he wouldn’t. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.

      1. That is perhaps the worst thing he’s done. I might be able to dig one other up if I seriously dug into the recesses of my memory.

        But on the order of “something must be done” responses to shooting up schools, churches, and synagogues, banning a not-a-firearm while calling it a firearm wasn’t the worst way to shut up the gun control lobby.

        But still, not good.

    5. Trump represents an existential threat to every politician and political party in power.

      It was a foregone conclusion that Trump would be labeled a tyrant and impeached the minute he won the election.

    6. Being a progressive means having to simultaneously accept two conflicting arguments

  10. This is the same man who last April asserted “total” authority over COVID-19 lockdowns, saying “the president of the United States calls the shots.”

    Somebody at Reason should be shot for such a disingenuous take. I hope Sullum falls into a woodchipper.

    Seriously, every time you quote “I, as President, have the authority to prevent local and State officials from locking you in your home against your will.” as “I, as President, have the authority to lock you in your home against your will.” You undermine your reporting ability earn Trump another vote. And doubly so when you do it in the context of “Both sides” when one side is flatly saying, “I, as President, have the authority to make you wear a mask.”

    1. Vicious Tyrant Trump Wants To Let People Leave Their Homes

      When you’re so dishonest and beyond parody that the parody is more honest.

  11. It’s not about your rights, it’s about your responsibility as an American. So says Joe Biden.

    If their are no rights, their is no America. If their is no America, I am no longer an American. Therefore, I have no responsibilities

    Rights come first, then responsibilities.

    1. Since nobody said you were losing all your rights, you’ve wasted a perfectly good internet with this post.

      And also nobody ever said you have a right not to comply with emergency measures during a global emergency.

      1. And also nobody ever said you have a right not to comply with emergency measures during a global emergency.

        You’re confused. Unlike the Soviet Union or China, in the US we live in a country of enumerated government powers, not enumerated rights.

        1. What’s the difference between a power and a right?

          1. Jeebus Christmas, go back to school and let the grownups talk.

          2. What’s the difference between a power and a right?

            Are you serious? “A government of limited, enumerated powers” is fundamental to the US system of government. It is fundamentally different from all other democracies on the planet, which generally enumerate rights.

            1. Name a right you have that isn’t written down in a law of some sort. Name one that requires no court to defend.

              1. The right to free speech. The right to bear arms. The right to privacy. Need I go on?

                1. It’s all pops and buzzes to Tony.

                2. I said that weren’t written down! The bill of rights is written law!

                  This thread has been an absolute abomination for you.

                  1. [You] said that weren’t written down!

                    I said that the US government was one of “limited, enumerated powers”.

                    The bill of rights is written law!

                    It is. And nowhere does it grant any new rights. It defines explicit limits on government powers, and it reaffirms rights that people already have.

                    This thread has been an absolute abomination for you.

                    Thanks for running into my little trap. Now read up on the US Constitution before you embarrass yourself any further.

              2. Goddamn you’re ignorant. Do we need to teach you an entire semester of civics here? Not that it would matter, because you don’t care. You’re a devoted Marxism.

                The hilarious thing is you think you will have a seat at the table instead of your back against a wall when the time comes.

              3. “Name a right you have that isn’t written down in a law of some sort. Name one that requires no court to defend.”

                The right to go to a ball game, eat a hot dog and drink a beer, until emperor Newsom declared such activities against the royal decree.
                And is it NOWHERE in the enumerated rights of the Constitution; it is, merely, a natural right (or freedom) we all have as a result of being human.
                Now, you, please point out where the government grants me that right, you slimy piece of lefty shit.

                1. I googled this again to find the arguments against the BoR. There was somebody that said something like: “Will it include my right to go fishing on Sunday afternoons?” I couldn’t find that quote though.
                  It’s pretty clear that the biggest argument made against including the bill of right is that any rights not included would be under the assumption that they wouldn’t be guaranteed, which may be valid.

                  “Madison might have felt like a master chef watching a patron pour ketchup all over his perfectly cooked steak,” Brettschneider writes. “He considered his work crafting the Constitution so thorough that there was nothing to amend: Article I limited the powers of Congress, and Article II constrained the president. A Bill of Rights was redundant at best—and dangerous at worst.”

      2. Fuck off troll.

  12. the Boomercons were right the dems do want to enact sharia law.

  13. FFS Mr. Sullum…at least make the attempt at lip service to libertarianism.

  14. Someone should do an analysis of the ratio of backhanded compliments Reason issues to Republicans vs to Democrats.

  15. Reason & the Libertarian Party are gonna rue the day they meet the “new & improved,” bloated, individual-liberties-killing, censorious State heralded by Biden and the vile, phony, woke Harris.
    And they’ll reconsider the “even-handed” treatment with which they analyzed the two competing tickets in months leading to the election.
    Grow the fuck up.

    1. You’re giving them way to much credit for any ability for self reflection.

      How are you liking their current coverage of the Russian collusion hoax? Maybe after the Kevin Clinesmith news today they’ll be forced to cover it.

      1. I haven’t paid close attention to it, but will take a look. Thanks for the tip.
        It will be shocking if Reason holds back on going full-force after Kamala Harris, a truly frightening creature (as regards woke authoritarianism vs. individual liberties).

      2. Clinesmith was exercising his right of free speech and shouldn’t be punished for lying under oath.

        Imprisoning people for saying whatever they want has a chilling effect on our first ammendment.
        /sarcasm (just in case its undifferentiated from the earnest opining from the soc lib left)

  16. When was Trump ever hot on a mask mandate? Other than the recent EO and mandating Ford to make ventilators, how often has he exceeded presidential authority in the name of addressing Covid concerns?

    Before playing the ready made “pox on both houses” game, think of what America would look like now if democrats controlled all aspects of government. No, they wouldn’t have dropped regulations to speed up testing or put travel bans, so we’d be in the same mess. But they would have implemented all sorts of race based policy and control on price and economy using the pandemic as pretext. That’s already happening at state levels. Their current relief package is 3 times the GOP’s proposal. No one would have ever incentive to work if dems had their way.

    Reminder – we’re in this mess because NY and NJ sent infected people to nursing homes, and then protests spread it further. The progs are itching to mandate masks and criminalize citizens despite their fake concerns about policing. The center right, which includes Trump fans, do not. Some enemies are more dangerous than others.

    1. What about Trump’s rallies where masks were discouraged and people have died?

      1. What about Trump’s rallies where masks were discouraged and people have died?

        (1) Participating in a rally is a voluntary activity.
        (2) As the BLM protests have shown us, masks need not be worn during public political events.
        (3) There is no evidence that Trump’s rallies actually spread COVID.

        1. Protests aren’t voluntary?

          Herman Cain wishes he hadn’t gone to a Trump rally.

          1. Masks are to protect others, not the wearer.

          2. Protests aren’t voluntary?

            They are. Hence my point: peaceful voluntary political gatherings like Trump rallies should be given at least the same latitude as BLM protests.

            1. How about they all go home and stop spreading disease.

              1. That’s what you would like isn’t it: suppression of all political discourse.

                1. If only I had that power. Unfortunately the internet will never lack for racist rightwing anti-intellectual cults of personality.

                  1. You better believe I’m anti-intellectual: most intellectuals are pretty dumb and not the kind of people who you want to have in charge of anything.

                    As for racist ramblings on the Internet, you and your progressive friends take the cake there.

          3. You cry about Herman Cain to troll, but ignore the thousands killed by Cuomo throwing a covid party at nursing party.

            Look at your Maximum societies in America, Tony. New York is halfway to a ghost town and children are being shot on the streets. All live matter – oh, I’m sorry that offends you.

            Shove your blue state success stories on someone else’s rectum, you damn well know most of their wealth comes from the 1% the left hates so much. The rest are mostly poor bunch. If tech ever left CA it would be Detroit with lots of Mexicans in 20 years.

            1. I’m not ignoring the lessons of New York, Trump did, and now you are. This doesn’t have to be partisan. You make yourself believe in nonsense in order to defend history’s most indefensible head of state. I mean what is the point? What do you think he’s gonna do for you?

          4. So you have proof of exactly where and when Cain contracted WuFlu?

    2. “Before playing the ready made “pox on both houses” game,”

      It is in the Reason stylebook. The only acceptable approach when a Democrat does something egregious is “both sides.”

  17. He has done nothing, but that’s not the point. Jacob has the reasoning skills of a child, and incapable of rational discourse in any discussion that may or may not involve Trump. I’m embarrassed for him.

  18. Here’s my prediction. If, only if, Biden wins, shortly after his inauguration he puts in his resignation and hands the spirt stick over to Harris.

    1. It’s a tossup between that prediction, and the one where mask-wearing Biden (or his now easily-substituted body doubles) dodders by for two years and a day, allowing Harris three bites at the apple.

      1. Maybe Bob Barker could be his stand in. He might be sharper.

    2. “Here’s my prediction. If, only if, Biden wins, shortly after his inauguration he puts in his resignation and hands the spirt stick over to Harris.”

      So a slimy piece of lefty shit admits Biden isn’t a candidate at all, just a front!
      What a wonderful way to deal with the voters; LIE to them!

  19. Biden says something idiotic and reason does a Trump bash piece. Jacob is a fucking clown.

  20. Trump doesn’t care about your freedoms. And neither do you. You guys care about defending Trump and everything he does. That is libertarianism right now.

    1. I care about my freedoms. And between Trump/Hillary or Trump/Harris, Trump is the lesser of two evils.

      1. That is not true by any assessment containing any measure of sanity or perspective.

        1. Absol-fricking-lutely true, troll. And the primary reason we got Trump instead of Hillary.

          1. Hillary was qualified to do the job. Trump isn’t, and he’s proved it beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. So mumble something about abortion and how you go by that old saying “the ends always justify the means” and stop pretending that you care one particle about liberty.

            1. Hillary was qualified to do the job

              We agree. She was also competent and politically skilled.

              Trump isn’t, and he’s proved it beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

              Again, we can agree on that: Trump was not qualified to be president and he is not a competent politician.

              But see here is the thing: a politically skilled, qualified, competent authoritarian is about the worst kind of person to put in charge, because not only are they pursuing bad policies, they are good at it.

              Say what you will about his policies, Trump has had Democrats distracted for four years and he has thrown sand in the gears of government, and that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Little authoritarians like you, of course, think it’s the worst thing ever.

            2. “Hillary was qualified to do the job…”

              You bet!
              “Clintons Began Taking White House Property a Year Ago”
              http://articles.latimes.com/2001/feb/10/news/mn-23723

              She’d have cleaned the WH out in jig-time!

    2. Honest question: do you believe this bullshit when you spout it, or are you just trolling?

      Because I find it hard to believe that you really don’t think libertarians care about our freedoms. It’s kind of our thing.

      1. Then stop shilling for the most authoritarian regime this country has ever seen, and it saw W. Bush. Then your claim might have some credibility.

        Of course you could simply be defining freedom as the right always has: overwhelming government force against people I don’t like.

        1. Then stop shilling for the most authoritarian regime this country has ever seen

          He isn’t shilling for Obama. Or FDR.

          1. Lincoln. Surely you mean Lincoln.

        2. “Hillary was qualified to do the job.”

          Wow. Talk about shilling for authoritarians.

          1. He’s right, though: Hillary was qualified for the job of authoritarian leader and she would have been good at it.

            That’s why people didn’t want her.

        3. What actual accomplishments qualify Hillary to be president? Don’t mean failing upwards from other positions she’s held. I’m talking about tangible accomplishments.

          1. Granted she hasn’t bankrupted any casinos that I’m aware of.

            1. Nice one. You got him there.
              /s

    3. Defend Trump, because he helps keep sick progressive faggots like you from infringing on my freedoms. Clearly it isn’t enough.

      I can live without my individual freedoms, I can live without progressives.

      Let’s get rid of the progressives.

  21. Rejecting Biden’s Threat of a Nationwide Mask Mandate, Trump Suddenly Respects Limits on Presidential Power

    Can you give examples of when Trump didn’t respect limits on presidential power? I can’t think of any significant ones.

    1. Where do you get most of your news? You can be honest. You shouldn’t be ashamed if you think it’s objective and valuable.

      1. Where do you get most of your news?

        CNN, WaPo, NYT, WSJ, Reason. How about you?

        You shouldn’t be ashamed if you think it’s objective and valuable.

        Don’t worry, I don’t. As an immigrant, I can separate propaganda from fact.

        I’m still waiting for any significant examples where “Trump didn’t respect limits on presidential power”.

          1. Below, where you admit that “In the United States it is statutorily legal for the president to take on vast powers in the event of an emergency”?

            1. Pretty sure shitstain’s “below” is that pile of bullshit, accusing Trump of doing everything but causing the expansion of the universe (maybe I missed that).

  22. How do you have a federal mask mandate without federal enforcement of a mask mandate? But the Democrats are supposedly against federal agents policing localities. The problem with criticizing federal politicians is that they cannot keep their implications of their positions straight from issue to issue. Every issue exists in a vaccuum.

  23. Reason editors/staff: “So, Biden is pushing a national mask mandate if elected. How do we frame this story within our libertarian perspective?”

    Sullum: “Oh! OH! I know! We’ll write a classic whataboutism article and somehow make Trump look even worse despite, you know, the fact that Trump has let the states run their own COVID responses.”

    Reason editors/staff: “Great! Run with that! That will absolutely distinguish us from the liberal, mainstream media!”

    1. 95% of comment board: “Why do Reason writers claim to be libertarians when they have TDS like the rest of the media?”

      Tony: “Why do all of you libertarians care about freedom when LITERALLY everybody is going to die from COVID unless the government forces you wear a mask!!!”

      Tony 5 mins later: “Trump is LITERALLY Hitler for abusing executive powers!!!”

      Rev Bigot: “Open wide clingers, blah blah blah…”

      1. It’s not an abuse of power to mandate emergency safety measures during an emergency.

        It is an abuse of power to pardon criminal co-conspirators, appoint heads of departments indefinitely with no congressional approval, fire chemical weapons at peaceful protesters to make room for a photo op, send unidentified government goons to intimidate and arrest peaceful protestors, to use the office to stoke a national race panic, to lock up migrants en masse with no due process, to openly and brazenly sabotage the post office before a largely mail-in election, to engage in a sustained campaign to undermine trust in any election he may lose, and that’s just off the top of my head.

        1. And this was just the past month or so.

          1. Funny how you have no similar criticisms of past democrat presidents. That would require consistency, and a general lack of hypocrisy.

        2. Well, it is if you do it like Ford did in Ontario by not calling Parliament into session.

          It’s classic text book authoritarianism. I guess you’re ok with it because ‘the greater good’ or some other vapid reason.

          Oh. Ontario: 70 cases.

          Pop: 14 million.

          Cynical power grab for its own sake.

          1. In the United States it is statutorily legal for the president to take on vast powers in the event of an emergency, including some we aren’t even allowed to know about.

            Fun fact:

            Since passage of the National Emergencies Act in 1976, every U.S. President has declared multiple national emergencies: Carter (2); Reagan: (6); H.W. Bush (4); Clinton (17); W. Bush (12); Obama: (13); Trump (31).

            1. Progressives cause a lot of emergencies. Like the way you have made our southern border so dangerously porous.

              1. Name one crisis that illegal immigrants actually cause other than the scary prospect that white people will soon be outnumbered.

        3. It’s not an abuse of power to mandate emergency safety measures during an emergency.

          That’s a power reserved to state governments, not the federal government.

          Furthermore, we are not in an emergency.

          1. Tell Trump that. Granted, he has declared more emergencies than any other president, so maybe a pandemic that has killed 160,000 Americans isn’t an emergency and he’s crying wolf again.

            1. A declared national emergency is not the same as an actual emergency.

              And, no, Trump has not declared the most emergencies. Are you just making this stuff up or are you deliberately lying?

              1. He or a ly is just following his marching orders from Media Matters. Seriously, does anyone here think Tony does even the slightest bit of his own research? More likely he just regurgitates talking points from MM and the like.

                He isn’t very bright.

                1. “He isn’t very bright.”

                  Couple a profound stupidity with a total disregard of anything approaching honesty, and you’ve got the resident shitstain.

        4. Your list Fahad into two categories: things that didn’t happen and things that are legal. The things that actually happened are lawful

        5. Everything is so terrible and unfair.

        6. “It is an abuse of power to pardon criminal co-conspirators, appoint heads of departments indefinitely with no congressional approval, fire chemical weapons at peaceful protesters to make room for a photo op, send unidentified government goons to intimidate and arrest peaceful protestors, to use the office to stoke a national race panic, to lock up migrants en masse with no due process, to openly and brazenly sabotage the post office before a largely mail-in election, to engage in a sustained campaign to undermine trust in any election he may lose, and that’s just off the top of my head.”

          It’s an abuse of bandwidth to post that steaming pile of shit.

        7. Hey, thanks for putting your best argument out there.

  24. Just be glad he resisted Reason.

    “It’s not about your rights. It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”

    That in a nutshell goes to show what the the DNC is all about.

    The mask hysteria is rooted in the precautionary principle; not science. It should NEVER have been mandated anywhere on the continent let alone America.

    But I guess the spin will be ‘Trump wants people to die.’

    Biden is an idiot.

  25. What is being implied with the lead into this article is absurd. Refer to the President’s recognition of States determining their own paths rather than a heavy hand from the White House. Your reasoning in this article is extremely weak and your proposition fails.

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  27. Talk of doing things only when convenient is mighty rich coming from Jacob Sullum and the rest of Reason.

    Ongoing riots in Portland
    The heinous murder of a five year old child
    The ever more obvious attempt by the Obama administration and Federal intelligence and law enforcement to undo the outcome of a lawful election

    The list is endless

    You are all corrupt, and your sanctimony is utter bullshit.

  28. Take your face diaper of oppression and shove it Biden. You stand a rat’s chance in hell of ever stepping foot in that office but if you do, you’ll spend your first/last few months as president, hiding in a bunker.
    The gallows is waiting.

    1. To be fair, I think he has set foot in that office before. Was thrown out for trying to sniff malia’s hair.

  29. Cry me a river of tears, whiner-crybaby! Have ye ever even CONSIDERED that self-pity is the losing game of losers?

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