January 22, 2018

Today is the first weekday since Friday night’s government shutdown, and pundits claim this is when it will start hurting (it was also shut just last Monday for Martin Luther King Day, and I don’t recall feeling any pain, but never mind.) The Senate will try again today to get enough Democrats to come to their senses to overcome the 60-vote filibuster-proof mark and pass a continuing resolution to reopen federal offices and parks and get paychecks back to workers and military members. I would hope that after gauging the public and media reaction over the weekend, with even some of America’s most liberal papers blaming them for the shutdown, at least a few Democrats will come to their senses, but that could be giving them too much credit for being able to learn from experience (Sen. Patrick Leahy actually called this the “Trump shutdown,” even though, last time I looked, Trump is not in the Senate and didn’t have a vote. Trump is calling it the “Schumer shutdown,” which is much catchier and more accurate.)

If you haven’t been keeping up, here’s why the government is shut down: Congress has to pass a continuing resolution to keep the money flowing until a budget is passed. Democrats are demanding that it include their DACA bill to legalize 800,000 offspring of illegal immigrants without conceding on the immigration enforcement and border security issues that Trump and Republicans want. Republicans say that has nothing to do with funding the government, and Trump gave Congress until March to come up with a DACA bill, so it’s not an emergency. It just amounts to holding the nation for ransom to get their pet issue passed, the DC version of “Give me my way, or I’ll take my ball and go home.”

The Democrats had hoped that with the help of the friendly media, voters would pin the blame for the shutdown on the Republicans who voted to keep the government open, not the Democrats who voted to shut it down. Alas for them, neither partisanship nor illiteracy is quite as widespread as they’d hoped. Someone even dug up video of Obama slamming the shutdown in 2013 by saying that you don’t close down the government because of some policy you don’t like; if you want to change policies, you have to win elections (FYI, that shutdown eventually cost taxpayers $23 billion, or $3 billion more than Trump’s border wall would cost.)


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