We started hearing rumors about this last month, but according to a new story in the New York Times this week it may be fast approaching a reality. The Democrats are drifting further and further into the land of the unhinged, particularly when it comes to the prospect of building a “Great Wall” on the southern border. That’s going to cost money (regardless of whether or not Mexico eventually pays us back in some form) and if the GOP attempts to approve such a funding measure, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and their friends are apparently going to shut out the lights in Washington. The hypocrisy of such a move was a bit much even for Alan Rappeport to swallow.
Democrats pilloried Republicans for irresponsibly shutting down the government when Barack Obama was president, but as a minority party struggling to show resistance in the era of President Trump, they are now ready to let the lights of government go dark.
A group of prominent Senate Democrats on Monday raised the specter of a shutdown over the funding of President Trump’s proposed wall along the border with Mexico. They also signaled a series of protracted budget battles in Congress over a larger force of immigration officers, what they call a deportation force, and funding for Planned Parenthood. They warned that these would also be “poison pills” that could kill any potential deals to keep the gears of government running normally this year.
There’s something hauntingly familiar about this story. Doesn’t it seem like we’ve heard it somewhere before? Back when the Democrats were in power, controlling both Congress and the White House, they ran into a wall of opposition from the Republicans over certain aspects of Obamacare. At that time, for better or worse, the GOP pulled a similar maneuver and turned out the lights, albeit briefly. The uproar and outrage was all-consuming in the mainstream media. There is no discussion of subtlety or the need for compromise across the aisle during that episode. The Republicans were to blame and if any poor widows or children missed the arrival of a government check by so much as a day it would be hung around the collective necks of the congressional minority.
Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff remembers the same sad tale from the early days of the Obama administration and reflects on the fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Democrats can count on the mainstream media for support. However, if the paragraph from the Times quoted above is any indication, that support may be less than full-throated or, at a minimum, difficult to take seriously.
Trump’s promise to the build the wall represented a central plank in his campaign for the presidency. Shutting down the government in retaliation for the president trying to keep a major campaign promise seems politically problematic.
In some alternative world where the vast majority of cable news talkers and newspaper editorial boards were not diligently working seven days a week on behalf of the Democratic Party this probably wouldn’t happen. It seems as if there should be some basic rules of the road when it comes to the maneuvers undertaken in Congress. If the minority party which is out of power “stands in the path of progress” and allows the government to run out of money, they can be blamed for it. Except that only seems to apply when the Republicans are in the minority. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the Democrats are already being framed as “heroically resisting” the president and his hateful, racist, bigoted agenda.
Of course it’s always possible that I’ll be proven wrong. That would certainly be a refreshing change. And if someone at the New York Times is already willing to point out this inconvenient fact, perhaps there’s hope for us all in the end. (But don’t hold your breath.)