GREENBERG: The Huck’s back … and saying the right things

The old Mike Huckabee was heard from last week, and this time he’s more than welcome to the presidential sweepstakes, traveling show and circus in general. What’s more, he can still count.

For example, he still knows the Constitution of the United States specifies three branches of government, not one or two but exactly three, which leaves no room for the indeterminate administrative state that the federal bureaucracy has become on the model of Mussolini’s corporate state. Just as the late, great, and Honorable Antonin Scalia ruled in what has become widely recognized and quoted as his finest decision.

For another welcome example, the Huck knows that the whole balanced mechanism depends on respect for the two-party system, which may not be spelled out in the Constitution but is implicit in its spirit. As the old Federalists and Republicans, the first two American parties, well knew as they divided into a governing party and a loyal opposition.

When today’s Republicans abandon the two-party system, they earn the Huck’s contempt and deserve it, too: “If they’re not going to support the people that the Republicans nominated,” the Huck noted, “then they need to get out of the Republican Party and admit that they’re no longer Republican, that they’re something else. Or that they need to just be honest and say, ‘I only want it when I get my way.’ ”

Lest we forget, it was the first Republican president, a man named Lincoln, who came to the White House amid the wreckage not only of the two-party system but the whole country, for both had fallen apart. And who saved both? We’ve survived a lot worse characters than Donald Trump, beginning with Aaron Burr and Benedict Arnold and, well, name your own favorite villain. The resilience of the American system is legendary — and deserves to be.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His e-mail address is [email protected]