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Assault on America, Day 6: How long will voter ignorance fuel Dems in shutdown tug-of-war?

Trump on border wall










Days go by and still the government (or 25 percent of it) remains in shutdown mode. Traffic is noticeably lighter in the capital region and the always angry establishment media loves featuring hard luck stories of federal employees feeling ill effects from the political elites’ inability to satisfactorily resolve the border wall controversy.

Finger pointing is at high ebb and some are beginning to lose their minds feigning desperation over something most Americans probably haven’t even realized is happening yet.

Desperate times call for desperate measures… at least to some Democrats. Daniel Chaitin and Naomi Lim of the Washington Examiner reported, “Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, both from Maryland where many federal employees impacted by the shutdown live, called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to allow for a vote.

“’Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans allow a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to open the government. Mitch, don’t delay. Let’s vote!’ tweeted Van Hollen, who is the ranking member of the Budget Committee.

“Cardin responded with a tweet that said he ‘agreed.’ ‘This isn’t business as usual,’ he added. ‘This is a crisis, a fundamental failure to govern, and Americans are suffering for it. The Senate should not take up any bills unrelated to reopening the government until @SenateMajLdr lets us vote on exactly that. #Shutdown.’”

Sounds great, don’t it? If only the Republican majority leader would poke needles in both his eyes, remove any kind of platform to stand on and relinquish all leverage from his own position then everything would be great again for everyone everywhere! Of course, if the American patriots had simply held off declaring independence until King George reopened the port of Boston we’d still be speaking with British accents, sipping tea and gobbling crumpets today!

It’s a wonder Democrats don’t just erect a large sign in front of the capitol building and etch in large unmistakable letters: “MITCH, PLEASE WITHDRAW ALL OF YOUR VOTERS’ HOPES, FEARS, DREAMS, BELIEFS AND PRINCIPLES SO DEMOCRATS CAN GET A SYMBOLIC VOTE ON FUNDING THE GOVERNMENT. LEVERAGE? OVERRATED!!”

McConnell’s indicated many times he won’t allow votes on House-generated funding bills if it’s evident the president wouldn’t support them. For you nuance-challenged Democrats, the interpretation of McConnell’s position is thus: If there isn’t money for the border wall included in the legislation, don’t bother with it -- Trump won’t budge. The Constitution requires a presidential signature to become law -- you know, that “law that governs government” thing. If Trump’s already promised he’d veto the whole shebang, why waste all of our time on symbolism?

The truth is, this one isn’t even hard to figure out. Democrats hope for additional footing and political fodder to blame the government shutdown on Republicans so it’s no wonder they’re hot for getting a vote on a worthless piece (or stack) of paper on the record -- something they can then bludgeon Republican senators for in the next round of campaigns.

It's not surprising why Van Hollen and Cardin are taking such predictable public stances; no doubt their offices are inundated with calls from constituent federal workers sitting at home worrying about paying the grocery bills in between flipping channels and doing home improvement projects. While all Americans sympathize with fellow citizens being furloughed through no fault of their own, anyone with a brain and a memory realizes the civil servants will be paid -- eventually (we’re not talking about contractors here, that’s a separate issue).

Whenever lengthy shutdowns have occurred in recent times the “victims” are always compensated as though they were at their desks all along toiling away at the business of government. There isn’t much to the argument these folks are suffering irreparable harm. They’re just being put-off…for what it’s worth.

Private workers feel these same family budgetary pressures too. That’s why people save for a “rainy day” and devote some of their resources to covering such continencies, with their coffers and savings accounts to be replenished when paychecks arrive someday soon. No one’s going to starve or lose their house over this -- there are laws against that, too.

By suggesting Democrats block ALL legislation until McConnell relents Democrats advocate for the ultimate government shutdown. The Democrat House will keep churning out its own bills (without much or any Republican input in the lower chamber) but the Senate will do even less than it’s normally done! Instead of occasionally voting on something, Van Hollen and Cardin want nothing to receive consideration! Maybe if these Maryland boys hold out long enough seniors will stop receiving their checks and military members will be put on compulsory holiday as well.

Then there’d be some real pressure! Bet on it. Maybe Van Hollen’s and Cardin’s is just an attention-grabbing stunt to further delay confirmation for Trump’s judicial nominees.

In the meantime Democrats could get down off their rocks and lofty perches and simply include money for a border wall (which Trump even agreed to compromise on, saying he’d accept steel construction instead of concrete now. Six of one, half dozen of the other, right?) That’s the key to all of this -- the wall versus Democrat grandstanding. Trump and Republicans are making the fight. Only one side is correct.

Perhaps Trump could be doing more to aid his own cause. John Fund wrote at National Review, “Changing tactics would be the best way for Trump to end the stalemate that has shut down one-fourth of the government for more than two weeks. He should brand Congress as irresponsible on the issue of border security and say he’s been forced to direct the Defense Department to use some of its unallocated funds for border construction projects.

“Doing it that way, the president would probably score points on the political argument and ensure that, come the 2020 election, he will have actually built something along the border rather than just talking about it.”

In his analysis Fund cites polls suggesting a good portion of the public doesn’t support building a border wall at all and even some in Trump’s base would oppose his deploying eminent domain power to seize private or Indian-tribe owned lands for the military to build a barrier. The courts might also have something to say about it -- there are an awful lot of Obama-appointed district court judges out there.

But Fund makes sense here. There are billions of unallocated defense dollars (appropriated by Congress but not specifically designated) that could build the wall the constitutional way harnessing Trump’s legitimate constitutional authority. The president could fulfill his duty as commander in chief (and protect the American public from foreign threats) and still win on the politics as well. Here’s thinking the administration is ready to follow-up on this.

And if the government shutdown drags on, expect concrete (or steel) action on the wall.

Both sides blame the other for perpetuating the government shutdown. Democrats continue relying on the ignorance of voters to make their arguments stick, a situation where eventually good common sense should prevail. Trump can take matters into his own hands…should he?

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