One of the most disappointing things about the new Congress (and there have been many) is how the beltway and the media at large have managed to twist the story around to suit the progressive narrative of the day. We’ve discussed this here before, and it’s truly enough to make me not want to get out of bed in the morning some days. The most glaring example has been the dreaded Threat of a Government Shutdown saga, also known as the Masters of Gridlock. Once the GOP controlled both chambers of Congress – at least in theory – they should have been able to pass bills, including the job of feeding all or any part of the government beast. The only way the money wouldn’t get through would be if the Democrat minority held up votes or if the President vetoed completed items. Either way, the responsible party for “shutting things down” would be clear.
But after seeing one story after another in this vein, could it be possible that the media might finally throw in the towel and and begin to assign even a smidgen of the blame to the Democrats? Knowing that I may be falling victim to some professional level trolling here, I find myself daring to almost begin to hope after reading this item from the Washington Post editorial staff. They are discussing the response of the Democrats to the human trafficking bill.
Democrats unfortunately seem to believe that response is in their political interest. Not only are Republicans denied boasting rights for getting something done, but also Democrats don’t risk running afoul of the abortion rights groups that are scoring the vote. The ill-advised decision of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to hold up confirmation of Loretta Lynch, the first African American woman nominated to be attorney general, until the trafficking bill impasse is resolved only gives the Democrats a further motive, as the GOP can be hammered for stalling a highly qualified nominee for a top Cabinet position.
There are legitimate concerns about whether the Hyde Amendment’s provisions — it allows abortions only in the cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother’s life — are broad enough to cover young women forced into sexual exploitation. But the question of whether and how congressional appropriations can be used for abortions has long been settled, for better or worse. There is, as we wrote earlier this week, a reasonable way for the two sides to compromise on the trafficking bill, but both sides need to be reasonable. Sadly, that was not the case for Senate Democrats this week.
Granted, this isn’t a complete gift package since they felt obligated to get in the usual cheap shots at the GOP for supporting the Hyde Amendment and blame them for holding up a vote on Loretta Lynch, but it’s at least something. We did not see this type of insight coming from the WaPo after the GOP provided bills to fully fund DHS and the Democrats shut it down. That was probably asking them to take too vast of a leap from their normal entrenched position. But for one of the first times we actually saw a major mainstream news outlet quietly reflecting for a moment and concluding that the Democrats were the ones stopping an important bill from moving forward, as well as creating a log jam of other items behind it.
There are no assurances, but this could prove to be a moment of minor revolution. There is an inherent truth being exposed here which most of us in the cheap seats already knew. The party in the majority is the one that can launch bills on their way through the process of becoming laws. The minority’s power – except in rare cases of bipartisan deals – is limited to obstructing that process. This is not long division… it’s just how the system works. Suddenly a ray of light has shone out from the Washington Post which could mean that the weight of the previously displayed hypocrisy has grown too great and they’re forced to give a nod to reality.