Whataboutism does not serve the interests of conservatives in defending Donald Trump’s abuse of national emergency powers to build a border wall. Either we believe in the rule of law or we do not, and this is an abuse of the President’s authority.
Yes, it is true that we have had dozens of national emergencies by previous Presidents of both political parties, and those emergencies are still in effect. Yes, it is true that both Leftists and “Never Trump” conservatives loudly denouncing Trump now either supported, did not object to or sheepishly opposed national emergency abuses before. Some of the folks objecting the loudest need to get some perspective.
But pointing out the need for perspective is a far cry from pointing to the other national emergencies as a way of justifying Trump abusing his authority. That is classic whataboutism, not a serious argument on public policy. The fact of the matter is that Trump had two years with a Republican House and Senate to get his money for a border wall, and there is no reason the Senate leadership could not have done that under the same budget reconciliation rules used to pass ObamaCare with a simple majority.
Border security (including a border wall) is civilian policy, not military policy. This is not a national security emergency by even the loosest definition of the term, and Republicans in Congress need to stand up to the President to reclaim their rightful legislative authority. Yes, they have been passive and weak in the past, but that is not an excuse to fail to do the right thing now. As anyone with a bad habit will tell you, fixing that bad habit starts small.
Yes, we should build the wall. Walls work, and a wall is an important part of border security. But we need to build the wall through the rightful authority of Congress, not by having the President assume legislative powers for himself. This is bad policy, and this will only embolden the next Democratic president to further abuse this authority.