Donald Trump

Shutdown Follies: Business As Usual

Wait a minute. I thought the point of the conservative movement was to shrink the federal government down to the size where it would “drown in the bathtub.” Why are the Republicans so worried about keeping the government open and fear the public’s backlash?

Perhaps because, despite their disdain for government services and their blatant disregard for how many Americans interact with their government, they know deep down that blame for this shutdown cannot be placed on a Senator from New York whose name means nothing to most people.

In short, the Republicans and Donald Trump own this shutdown and they know it. Well, I can’t really be sure what the president actually knows, but I imagine that in the quiet of a commercial break while watching FOX News, someone has told the president that this doesn’t look good for him and that his reputation as a deal maker is drowning in the bathtub.

Was this avoidable? Of course. All shutdowns are avoidable if both parties are willing to give something up. And it certainly looked like the discussions between the president and Senator Chuck Schumer were gathering some momentum yesterday afternoon with Schumer willing to say yes to some funding for the wall that I thought Mexico was supposed to pay for. In return, the president was willing to agree to a deal for the Dreamers.

What I imagined happened was that the immigration hard liners then spoke to the president and convinced him of the apparent folly of treating children – who were brought here by there parents – as nothing less than scoundrels and criminals. Especially the ones who went to college, have respectable lives and love this country every bit as much as an ignorant nativist like Steve King. Whom most people have never heard of. See what I mean?

Most people want a deal that allows the Dreamers to stay and most people do not want to spend $18 billion dollars on a wall that will do nothing to stop people from coming to this country illegally. Most people want responsible border security. Most people want the government to fully fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Most people want a strong military.

In a Congress where a $1.5 trillion dollar hole in the budget is not a problem, haggling over these programs amounts to a Mt. Washington of hypocrisy, full of violent winds, plunging temperatures and dangerous precipices. Add to that a blizzard of Republican accusations that shutting down the government amounts to a repudiation of the mandate of the people as demonstrated in the 2016 election, you know, the one where over 3 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton, and you have a situation where the GOP looks a bit hypocritical.

I have no doubt that there will be a deal soon, but it won’t solve any long term problems. That’s the problem with swamps. The mosquitoes will always find more blood and stagnant water.

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