COLORADO SPRINGS: Almost two weeks into the latest government shutdown and a Rasmussen poll reports that 2% of likely voters think it hasn’t started yet and another 11% think it hasn’t lasted as long as it has. Yet 83% are well aware of it and know that it is almost two weeks on.
Rasmussen’s conclusion: the shutdown is a “nothingburger.”
The Democratic Existential Crisis At Every Turn
Democrats want to turn every shutdown into an existential crisis but this kind of brinksmanship is becoming a routine political tactic. In the battle of Trump versus the Temper Tantrums, who is going to win the latest round in the Battle of the Shutdown? So far, advantage Trump.
As usual, the battle is not being fought on Capitol Hill but rather in the court of public opinion. The side that perceives it is getting blamed for the stalemate will cave first. Usually, that’s Republicans. And Obama understood this.
The Shutdown Redeux
During the 2013 shutdown, he closed the national parks. He withheld death benefits to the families of fallen soldiers returning from Afghanistan. Seniors were warned that their social security checks might not come (they did) and the military was briefed that they might not be paid (they were). From the article Punishing the wrong people:
“The president has some latitude in the way he administers the shutdown. Yet at every opportunity, he chooses to inflict pain on the people.”
Democrats Impact on Government is minimal
This time, Democrats do not control the vast federal bureaucracy and so the impact is minimal. The result is predictable and Rasmussen polls have captured it. With non-essential government services shut down, not many people are noticing the difference.
That raises the question that has nothing to do with the border wall: if no one notices that a part of the federal government is closed, why are we funding it in the first place? If it is “non-essential” could we just cut it? Couldn’t we even balance the budget that way? The answer of course is yes, we can. Except for Congress. Way back in 1973, then-President Richard Nixon balanced the federal budget (it really happened!) by not spending money appropriated by Congress. What a concept!
A spendthrift Democrat Congress at the Peril of America
The spendthrift Democrat-controlled Congress reacts by passing the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 which, among other things, forbade the president from ever doing that again. The reason we’re even having these shutdowns is that for the first time in a very long time we are questioning our priorities as a country.
Despite increasing tax revenue, Congress continues to overspend. And Congress fails to address issues that the American people want them to fix. One of the big things people want is a fix to out-of-control illegal immigration.
And so while politicians within the Beltway act as if the shutdown is The End of the World, Americans aren’t buying it.
This time, it looks like President Trump is winning.
President Trump, winning the battle, winning the war
Consider, Democrats always seek to win by pinning government shutdowns on Republicans, and it usually works. This time it is very clear that the Schumer-Pelosi Dangerous Duo are responsible. Even the left-leaning media are calling it the “partial government shutdown” as it in reality always is. When Pelosi interrupts a Department of Homeland Security briefing to say “I reject your facts,” it’s pretty clear who the problem is.
President Trump’s demand is not unreasonable. As Trump points out, we spend more in Afghanistan in a month than he’s asking for the border wall. This week, Speaker Pelosi offered to fund the government, minus the wall. Promising again that the will be taken up later. Trump, signing the last bill to avoid a shutdown, said he would not sign another. Later is now, Ms. Pelosi. Right now.
Trump is a tough negotiator.
He’s not about to play Charlie Brown to Nancy’s Lucy and neither is McConnell. The president has negotiated better trade deals with Canada and Mexico. He’s on a path to do the same with China. He’s gotten our European allies to pledge to fund their own defense. Something we’ve been asking them to do for decades. Donald Trump has come face to face with the entire foreign policy establishment. He is declaring that we’re taking our troops out of Syria. Chuck and Nancy don’t stand much of a chance. It’s going to be fun to watch.