It is a point of cliché that one of the most effective ways to distract a toddler is to shake keys in front of their faces. What has become obvious over the past two weeks is that the same approach works to distract the mental toddlers of the mainstream media.
It is scarcely necessary to rehearse the veritable catalogue of different keyrings that President Trump has employed to distract the press through his Twitter feed over the past few weeks, nor the manifold ways in which they have thrown their toys out of the pram in aggravation. However, what seems to be causing some aggravation among defenders of the President is the question of whether the distraction is actually cover for anything meaningful.
Thanks to some recent news from Fox Business, I am pleased to report that it is. Specifically, while most of the press remained focused on Twitter irrelevancies, the Senate quietly announced that this coming week will see the confirmation hearings for two Trump nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Those nominees, Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel, would shift the balance of power on the NLRB from a 2-1 advantage for Democrats to a 3-2 advantage for Republicans: razor-thin, but enough to be getting on with governance.
While getting appointees to the NLRB lacks the glitz of, say, a Supreme Court appointment, make no mistake: it is arguably just as consequential, particularly for this President. Given the often open rebellion that takes place among members of the administrative state against President Trump’s agenda, filling less glamorous bureaucratic posts can make the difference between open defiance and compliant effectiveness in D.C.
The NLRB is one of the bodies best positioned to throw a monkey wrench in President Trump’s deregulatory jobs agenda, thanks to its current obsessively pro-union slant. In fact, so obsessively anti-business has the NLRB been for the past few years that it earned a scolding even from the New York Times.
Of course, those of us who followed the Obama administration knew from the beginning that it was more concerned with rewarding its favored victim groups than with actually creating an economy that worked for everyone. That fanaticism not only damaged businesses, but actually ended up damaging the outgoing Obama administration when it was brutally shot down by a unanimous Supreme Court for its attempt to force Leftist recess appointees onto the court. If the Obama administration took it that seriously, there is every reason for the Trump team to do the same.
And, for that matter, there would be every reason for the Left’s activist base to consider it seriously as an object of their so-called Resistance, if they knew what was happening. Hence why the President’s key jangling approach is so savvy. At a time when not merely the NLRB, but huge swathes of the federal judiciary and the federal bureaucracy remain unfilled by friendly appointees, there is every reason for Trump and his allies to try to distract the “opposition party” that is the U.S. media while they actually go about the work of finally bending the administrative state to their preferred policies and personnel. Thanks to the President’s tweets and other means of distraction, the NLRB nominees may be permitted to sail through — as they should — without the spectacle of Leftist theatrics, or the farce of “grassroots” (astroturf) Leftist opposition giving cover for delay.
The keys are jangling, but make no mistake: This President holds the keys to the car. And if his NLRB nominees are confirmed, his administration will be one step closer to turning that car around and putting it back on the road out of serfdom.