Thursday, January 18, 2018

Shut It Down


The news that Senate Democrats will vote “no” on a four-week continuing resolution that the House passed means that in all likelihood the government will shut down Friday at midnight.

And all can say is good. Shut it down!

Enough is enough. There comes a time when you have to draw a line in the sand and take a stand. This is one of those times.

I'm not one to succumb to sentiment. As a businessman, I have always tried my best to remove emotions from the equation. Those who are ruled by their emotions tend to make poor decisions, and I've seen both political parties' bases make that mistake time and time again.

Look, is there a risk that a shut down could backfire on Democrats? Of course there is. But my gut tells me that won't be the case here, because, unlike the shutdown in 2013 over Obamacare, which was one-sided and foolhardy, the main sticking point here is one for which there is broad consensus across the entire political spectrum.

Let’s be clear. The Senate compromise that Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin came up with last week addressed all the Republican concerns: it provided for additional border security and increased defense spending levels. And it addressed the primary concern for Democrats: it allowed the almost eight hundred thousand Dreamers to legally stay in the country. And before President Doofus’s “advisors” got a hold of him and talked him out of it, he appeared to be on board. We were this close to something very rare in Washington: a truly bipartisan bill where both sides got what they wanted and, more to the point, something actually got accomplished.

So now Mitch McConnell is in a pickle. Not only does he not have enough Democrats to get to 60 votes, members of his own caucus appear to be bailing on him. With John McCain unavailable because of his illness, there are approximately four Republicans who are threatening to vote "no." Old turtle face never looked so down in the dumps.

The only question is whether Democrats will hold or fold. My money is on the former. I know that's asking a lot given their track record, but with a very unpopular president in the White House and an energized base making their voices heard loud and clear, leadership knows what the stakes are. Punting another month isn't likely to produce any better outcome and will only embolden the GOP. Dems have the leverage here. Look for Chuck Schumer to hold onto it.

In fact, if I were him, I'd put as much pressure as possible on McConnell to force him to allow a straight up and down vote on the Graham / Durbin compromise, which would likely get way more than the 60 votes needed to pass, then throw it in Paul Ryan's lap and force him to do the same. Once the bill clears the House it would be up to President Shit-for-brains to either sign it or veto it.

Republicans control the House; they control the Senate; they control the White House. And still they've shown no ability to govern. A government shutdown, if it happens, would be squarely on them. Democrats need to drive that point home over the next few days, no matter how many tweets Trump sends out.

Resolve is a word you normally don't associate with Democrats. Now, more than ever, they need it.

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