Saturday, President Trump made what he called a major announcement on the border security stalemate/shutdown. He offered Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats a three-year extension of protection from deportation for DACA recipients and those with Temporary Protected Status, plus $800 million in urgent humanitarian assistance and $805 million in new drug detection technology in exchange for $5.7 billion (less than the shutdown has already cost) for “strategic deployment of physical barriers”
It was a deal so generous that some Republicans balked at it. Yet Speaker Pelosi rejected the offer even before it was made, then continued to reject it even after she knew what was in it. She is showing that the Democrats picked the perfect symbol in a donkey, a creature famous for being stubborn and unmovable.
Some top Democrats tried to scratch up a coherent reason for refusing to take Trump’s deal, but that proved impossible. Their two excuses were that they want the DACA amnesty made permanent first and that it’s so vitally important to reopen the government that Trump has to agree to that first and then they’ll discuss border security. But if reopening the government is paramount, then why not take Trump’s deal and then discuss making DACA permanent (after all, he is offering them three years to accomplish something)? Indeed, if getting government workers back on the payroll is priority #1, why were Pelosi and crew ready to jet off on a week-long junket past another federal pay period before Trump literally cooled their jets and forced them to stay in Washington?
The Democratic leadership’s intransigence has become so transparent and logically indefensible that they’ve even lost the Washington Post, which urged Pelosi in an editorial to take Trump’s offer. Of course, they filled the editorial with the usual nasty anti-Trump rhetoric, blaming the whole problem on him, before finally knuckling under to reality. But unlike Pelosi, at least they did finally arrive at the correct conclusion, no matter how hard it was for them to admit it.
Even kneejerk Trump critic Mitt Romney said he doesn’t understand the Democrats’ position, after agreeing to build over 600 miles of fencing in the past, why shut down the government over building a few miles more? (Hint, Mitt: the earlier 600 or so miles weren’t requested by Trump.)
If I may offer an explanation: I think the problem is that Trump has driven his opponents daffy. And I mean, literally “Daffy.”
Remember the old Looney Tunes cartoons, where Bugs Bunny would argue with Daffy Duck about whether it was duck hunting season or rabbit hunting season? The wily Bugs would get Daffy so riled up and confused that eventually, he would not only insist that it was duck season, but demand that Elmer Fudd shoot him. Well, that’s where the Democratic leadership is now.
Trump knows they have discombobulated themselves with anti-Trump “resistance” rhetoric, personal hatred and kowtowing to the “Trump is Hitler!!!” far left nut brigade. So much so that he can offer them a win – a deal filled with things they previously supported - and they will furiously reject it out of force of habit. They’ve painted themselves into a corner, and Trump is now playing them like Bugs played Daffy.
The Democratic leaders’ muleheadedness is scaring moderate Democrats and freshmen elected from districts Trump won. Even Mitt Romney and the Washington Post are forcing themselves to side with Trump. At least one DACA recipient urged them last week to just build the wall already, and I’ll bet a lot more are now saying the same thing. Government workers have learned the hard way that for all the Dem leaders’ crocodile tears, their paychecks mean less to them than funding a border wall, sticking it to Trump, or living it up on the taxpayers’ dime in Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Europe (note: Nancy Pelosi is one of the richest House members, yet I can’t find any evidence that she’s joining her colleagues in donating her salary to help those government workers. Trump can't donate his salary because he doesn’t take one.)
Finally, a new NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll found that Trump’s job approval among Hispanics has risen by a shocking 19 points to 50% since the wall standoff began in December. This is only a surprise if you think Hispanics don’t notice that Trump has ushered in the lowest Hispanic unemployment rate in history, or that Hispanics all approve of unfettered illegal immigration, even though illegal immigrants compete for and drive down the wages of jobs that many legal Hispanic immigrants do.
(FYI: Newbusters noted PBS Newshour played up all the negatives for Trump in the poll but failed to note the most stunning news of all, his skyrocketing Hispanic support. So the Congressional House leaders aren’t the only ones acting like mules with blinders on.)
I think it’s possible that Trump made that incredibly conciliatory offer because he knew his opponents would be too stubborn, stupid and locked into the habit of blind partisan opposition to take it, making it look as if all they care about is protecting illegal immigration and thereby alienating many of their key supporters, including government workers, Hispanics, DACA recipients and the media. If they take Trump’s deal, then he gets his wall funding. And if they don’t, then anyone who continues to argue that the government shutdown is the fault of anyone other than the Democrats will look as ridiculous as Daffy Duck.