I’ll be the first to admit it, I thought that the Democrats in congress, especially the Senate made a tactical mistake in not holding Trump and the GOP’s feet to the fire over DACA in the clean continuing resolution they helped the GOP pass on December 22nd. That being said, I understood why it was done and accepted the logic. DACA doesn’t go “goombye” until March, and while it might have motivated the liberal base, the Republicans could easily sell it as a Democrat engineered wet blanket for government employees three days before the holiday.
But not anymore. The holidays have come and gone. By and large, it appears that most of the Democratic base gave them a pass on the December CR. But now, the calculations for Democratic thinking have changed on two fronts. First, as I just said, the holidays are over, and while there truly is no good tie for a government shutdown, the Democrats won’t be facing possible editorial cartoons of Chuck Schumer, tinted green, stuffing coal into “government employee” labeled Christmas stockings anymore. And second, seldom will the Democrats position be stronger for making a principled stand for an issue that is popular with the general public.
Once again, it is the Combover Orangutan who has put the wind at the Democrats back, filling their sails. There was concern in some circles that while giving DACA recipients a concrete resolution that allows them to stay in the country permanently, quite possibly with a path to citizenship, it might not be an issue that inflamed passions sufficiently enough to make it a “winner” cause for shutting down the government. Trump’s idiotic “shithole countries” utterance shifted the slope, in the Democrats favor. While the comment wasn’t made directed at DACA recipients, it was brought up in a meeting specifically discussing a bipartisan Senate plan to deal with DACA, it is now conceptually linked in the public’s mind.
The White House response to the debacle evokes images of Jerry Lewis in his early years, verbal fumbling and comedic pratfalls. When you’re in a meeting, especially in a smaller, intimate setting with the President of the United States, it is almost inconceivable that two sitting Senators, and the head of Homeland Security would be capable of forgetting the President referring to a multitude of countries as “shithole countries.” Forget the Presidency for a moment, ask yourself this. If you were in a meeting with the CEO of your company, and in the middle of the meeting he suddenly pointed to an attractive woman at the table and said, “God, is she a hottie!”, does that sound like something you’d be likely to forget?
But it gets worse for the GOP, on an even more basic level. The video of a 39 year old man, who had lived in this country for almost 30 years, having been brought to this country at the age of ten, Stoically kissing his wife and teenage children goodbye at the Detroit airport before being put on an airplane to Mexico is gripping on a base, emotional level. The fact that the man was not a DACA recipient doesn’t matter, it’s an emotional sucker punch to the gut with anyone with a family and a soul. The man was not a criminal, he was a landscaper who paid taxes and followed the rules, and now he’s gone. And it is exactly what 80,000 DACA recipients are facing in less than two months.
And Trump just keeps throwing gasoline on the fire. It wasn’t Dick Durbin who said “shithole countries” in that meeting, and claiming he “mischaracterized” Trump is ludicrous. How in the hell do you “mischaracterize” the words “shithole countries?” It doesn’t really matter if he said “shithole” ot “shithouse,” it is the intent that matters, and mark my words, you can count on those words being used as a centerpiece in upcoming litigation about Trump’s ending the temporary refugee protections for both Haitians and Salvadorans by proving racial and discriminatory intent in the actions.
In my opinion, the Democrats cannot wwalk away from this cliff, their base would tar and feather them. And Trump never backs down from a fight until it becomes clear that he is being characterized as a loser. So, the shutdown is coming, most likely at midnight Friday night. And once it gets here, this is not going to be a quick or easy shutdown. The Democrats will portray the
Republicans on two fronts, shutting down the government for racially discriminatory purposes, which will resonate in the current climate, and also pointing out that the GOP holds both chambers of congress, as well as the Presidency, they hold the keys to the car. And the Trump administration has proven to be totally incapable of “spinning” an issue, any issue. Sarah Cluckabee Slanders will continue to bellow from the podium of Democratic obstruction, and the President’s high principles, flying in the face of fact that the President has the morals of an alley cat.
So, the shutdown is coming, and its going to be with us for a while. If the Democrats play their hand wisely, they walk away with a DACA fix, quite likely leaving the other immigration issues on the table due to their position of strength in this fight. And watching Trump and Slanders trying to somehow or other spin this as a “moral victory” to what will be a pitchforks-and-torches base will be a thing of beauty to behold. Don’t touch that dial.