Allahpundit wrote about the first outbreak of this yesterday when Fox News’ Shep Smith said a government shutdown shouldn’t be possible with Republicans in control of Congress and the White House. Today, CNN’s perpetually aggrieved Jim Acosta echoed that talking point and then immediately backtracked when challenged by OMB Director Mick Mulvaney.
“How can it be the Schumer shutdown when the Republicans control the White House, the House, and the Senate?” Acosta asked.
“Come on, you know the answer to that as well as anybody,” Mulvaney replied. “I have to laugh when people say that, ‘Oh, we control the House, the Senate, the White House, why can’t you get this done?’ You know as well as anybody that it takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass an appropriations bill. Right, you know that?” Mulvaney said, pointing to Acosta.
“I know that,” Acosta replied.
“Okay, you only have 51 [Republican] votes in the Senate, then you have to have Democrat support in order to keep the government—to fund the government,” Mulvaney said.
Acosta then made a new argument which boiled down to this: But it’s Trump’s fault you don’t have Democratic support. Acosta may even be right about this to some degree. As I pointed out yesterday, reporting from Politico suggested the president’s comments about “s**thole countries” seems to have unified Democrats and driven them to pursue this shutdown. But that defensible argument is not where Acosta started. He started with a silly Democratic talking point which he knows is indefensible.
The fact is that Democrats are responsible. As Mulvaney points out later in this clip, there is no poison pill in the House bill that passed yesterday. On the contrary, the bill contains funding for CHIP, something Democrats want. They are forcing a shutdown not because of what’s in the bill but because they believe a shutdown will benefit them with their obstructionist base.
I don’t think Acosta is too dumb to understand what is happening here, I think he’s just too partisan to care. And you can bet he and Shep Smith won’t be the only talking heads spouting this same line all weekend (or however long the Schumer shutdown lasts). It’s not that they are ignorant it’s that they know a lot of people watching them are. They are running with this dopey Facebook-meme journalism because there is a big market for it right now.
Here’s the clip. I’ve queued this to the start of Acosta’s question at 9:11 into this clip.
Update: Of course:
Republicans control House, Senate, White House > “Schumer shutdown”
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) January 19, 2018
It’s like these guys all got the same memo.