The media agrees: Democrats lost the shutdown fight

It’s no surprise that Republicans are saying Democrats “CAVED” on the shutdown fight. You expect politicians to spin things their way.

What you wouldn’t expect is for the media to be in agreement with Trump, i.e. the #SchumerShutdown was a complete disaster for Democrats. Allahpundit already noted MoveOn coming down hard on Schumer, but it’s not just the hard left saying this. This Washington Post story headlined, “Democrats caved on the shutdown, and they’re admitting it” points out that this shutdown looks worse for Dems than the 2013 shutdown did for the GOP. At least the GOP appeared to put up a fight:

What’s clear is that on the very first day of the shutdown on which the federal government was actually supposed to be open, Democrats pretty quickly took a deal that was well shy of what they were demanding. They seemed to be losing leverage as Republicans like Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) who had opposed the continuing resolution seemed to be warming to it, and if just a few Democratic senators followed suit, the whole thing would have blown up…

When Republicans demanded the defunding of Obamacare back during the 2013 shutdown, the effort was similarly doomed to fail. But they gave it a couple weeks, and the base eventually accepted their capitulation because they were viewed as having made a good-faith effort to force the issue. Things are unlikely to be nearly so tidy with the Democrats this time.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press has a similar story saying Sen. Schumer and his party “buckled”:

For two days, Schumer, perhaps the most powerful Democrat in Washington, succeeded in keeping his party unified in a bid to use the government funding fight to push for protections for some 700,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. But as the shutdown moved into its third day, the New York Democrat and his party buckled as several Democrats backed a deal to end the shutdown in exchange for a Republican pledge to address the immigration debate in the near future.

Politico offered perhaps the bluntest take in a piece titled “Democrats get rolled in shutdown standoff.”

Democrats lost the shutdown war. That much was obvious when they voted to re-open the government with little to show for it. They had vowed for weeks not to back any funding bill without a bipartisan agreement to protect so-called Dreamers. But as Washington entered day three of a government shutdown, Democrats folded, voting to reopen the government barely any closer to their goal…

The outcome will likely weaken Democrats’ hand on immigration. During negotiations, Schumer and multiple House Democrats said they would fund part of Trump’s proposed border wall in return for a Dreamers fix. That offer could embolden Trump and Republicans to seek additional concessions the next time around.

The most optimistic outlook, put forward at HuffPost and in this piece at the Daily Beast, is that Democrats caved but they will be in a better position to fight this same battle again next month:

Two truths emerged from a deal that the Senate cut on Monday to re-open the federal government after a weekend-long shutdown. The first is that Democrats caved. The second is that they find themselves somewhat better positioned for what is likely to be another, far more bitter, shutdown battle in the coming weeks…

“Are you looking for a spine?” one top Senate Democratic aide told The Daily Beast after the Senate vote concluded. “Because, I don’t have one to sell you.”

But the loss obscured what others saw as a longer term gain for Democrats. As Congress now goes about considering immigration reform, there are new political variables at play.

Republicans no longer have children’s health care as a political cudgel against Democrats, since the bill that passed on Monday includes a six-year authorization for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). And McConnell is on the spot to follow through on his pledge to resolve the standoff over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

This strikes me as putting lipstick on a pig. Republicans were willing to give up their bargaining-CHIP last Friday when Democrats forced the shutdown. Taking that off the table isn’t a win because it was already a given, not something accomplished as a result of the shutdown. Secondly, McConnell promised a vote on something. But as the New Yorker points out, that promise didn’t cover the House or the White House, making it worth very little:

Even if McConnell does bring such a measure to the floor, and even if the upper chamber does vote to protect the Dreamers, the Senate alone cannot make law. The House has consistently taken a harder line on immigration, and its Republican leaders have made no promises to the Democrats. Neither has the White House, and, after the weekend, we know something more about where the President stands when it comes to making an immigration deal.

This was a complete cave by Democrats. They got next to nothing except some bad press. And it’s worth noting that because this story dominated the news all weekend it sucked up a lot of media attention that would otherwise have gone to the Women’s March. Today should have been a day for the largely sympathetic media to offer glowing think pieces about what the march meant, a genuine feel-good story for the left. Instead, Sen. Schumer bigfooted all of that with his pointless shutdown fiasco. The left should be furious with him.