Our system of checks and balances requires that political leaders hold two opposing ideas in their heads simultaneously. If you’re a political leader, the first is that your political opponents are wrong about many things and should be defeated in elections. The second is that you still need them. You need them to check your excesses, compensate for your blind spots and correct your mistakes.
This system has been decaying for decades, but it’s really disintegrated over the past year. Donald Trump has never understood checks and balances. He’s never understood anything that stands in the way of his spoiled-boy will. The administration’s policy of blanket noncooperation with Congress is clearly a betrayal of how our system of government is supposed to work.
But Trump is far from the only villain in this showdown. If the House of Representatives wants to preserve its oversight power on the executive branch, then it has to be willing to oversee. It has to be willing to use its power in positive ways to improve the governance of this country.