The milquetoasts in red on Capitol Hill are all in a dither. This round of vacillating came because President Trump vowed to own a potential government shutdown in order to secure financing for the Border Wall.
House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) can shrug off the Wall as nothing more than a Trump “campaign promise,” but Republicans are playing a dangerous game in refusing to show some spine and do battle for an issue of such keen importance to their base of supporters. This shutdown skittishness shows once again that swamp Republicans do not understand what the GOP grassroots expects of them. Or, perhaps just as likely, they do understand and simply do not care.
Republicans recoil as if it is a black mark of shame.
When a federal government is so brazenly dismissive of the will of its own citizens, only someone who is part of the problem would be horrified at the notion of that government being “shut down” in defense of core principles. Yet, congressional Republicans recoil as if it is a black mark of shame. Remember in October when outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised a “fight” over Wall funding would be coming in December? “We will figure out how to do it in December,” Ryan said at the time. “I can’t speak to what the outcome will be, only that the effort is there.”
Well, here we are and… where exactly is that effort?
“Republican lawmakers are signaling to the president that he is unlikely to get the wall funding he is seeking, according to a senior House Republican source,” Politico reports. “Instead, Trump’s going to have to decide whether to strike a deal that could create positive momentum with a new Congress or poison the well with many members who will have the power to torment him when Democrats take control of the House next year.”
It is the height of madness – or downright arrogance – for congressional Republicans to believe that irate Americans enraged by the burden placed upon their shoulders by mass inbound migration would care one whit about “positive momentum” across political aisles. They have been hearing that tune for 30 years, while little has changed.
“It doesn’t help with the messaging because we’ve spent the last 20 years trying to figure out how not to get labeled with the blame for a shutdown,” a Republican senator said, The Hill reports.
Does this senator not understand that the people will judge him much more harshly if the border is not secured, especially after the party flocked to a change candidate and put him in the Oval Office specifically for that purpose?
“We were elected not to shut the government down but to make it operate for the benefit of taxpayers. And I think that’s what almost everybody in Congress wants to do. And I think that’s what will eventually happen,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said. Why doesn’t Alexander assert that real border security is a vital and indispensable way to make government work for taxpayers who are footing the bill for the high cost that comes with illegal immigration?
If Republicans do not show the people who put them in their cozy congressional seats that they are willing to go to bat for them on this crucial issue, then they will be sowing the seeds of their own destruction. The GOP may think it can run the clock out on the Trump administration, but it is not merely the president who wants this Wall. The Republican base demands it. Run away from this fight and the clock these perpetual politicians hear ticking in the back of their heads will turn out instead to be the timer on a bag of political dynamite ready to blow up in their hands.