January 20, 2018


In the government shutdown standoff, Democrats have all the leverage (David Faris, January 20, 2018, The Week)

As Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said on Twitter, "Republicans set multiple fires that they cannot put out."

Instead of providing water to their self-immolating counterparts, Democrats have rightly decided to let them burn. The politics and morality line up seamlessly. Despite theatrically cancelling what would have been his 39th weekend jaunt to a Trump-branded property and summoning Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to the White House yesterday, the president clearly prefers sending an endless series of tweets accusing the 'Dems' of hating the military over calling for his allies to pass the compromise legislation that already exists. He is incapable of mustering the political courage to get anything done.

The president's party, which is already staring down an epic and richly deserved repudiation in November, can ill afford to get blamed for yet another episode of government dysfunction. That means Democrats have maximum leverage, and they have thus far succeeded in not kicking it away. The polling is unambiguous: A Washington Post/ABC News poll released yesterday found that respondents would blame Republicans for the shutdown by a 20-point margin. The public is not buying the sad GOP spin that Democrats are willing to sacrifice CHIP for the DREAMers. Memories are short, but not non-existent, and most people will remember that it is Republicans which have decided, month after month after month, not to fund CHIP so that they could focus their full malignant energy on their donor appreciation act.

With Republicans badly divided over both immigration and the general direction of spending, they will ultimately need Democratic votes in both the House and Senate to achieve a long-term spending deal. To make matters worse for the GOP, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) admitted on Wednesday that he has no idea what the president's position is on a bipartisan immigration compromise should such a thing happen to land on his desk.

At a minimum, political parties try not to get at cross-purposes with the citizenry...usually...

Posted by at January 20, 2018 8:05 AM