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The Shutdown that Never Was

January 29, 2018

Well, that was quick. The government shutdown (that isn’t a shutdown) came and went like the month of March. In like a Lion and out like a lamb. All the hand wringing, finger pointing, and bloviating on both sides – and for what? The dreaded and overhyped shutdown lasted less time than did the recent MLK long weekend shutdown. Pathetic.
Yet once again, all they did was kick the can down the road a yard or two, until February 8th. This theatric performance by both parties shows that the entire weekend row was nothing but politics and one-upmanship – symbolism over substance on both sides.
Neither the Republicans nor the Dems want a shutdown – ever. Truth be told, both parties, save for a scant few true conservatives, want to be able to spend as much as they wish with no restraints. It’s why government grows each and every year and why politicians think government exists. And why the budget never gets any smaller.
The only difference is the projects on which the two wish to overspend, which is why they all take elections so seriously. Elections really boil down to who controls that massive pile of federal money.
But the Democrats figured quite some time ago, that they could weaponize government shutdowns. They would then blame the Republicans for it, and convince them that they will surely suffer at the ballot box should they not acquiesce to Democrat demands. But the GOP has never suffered because of a shutdown. However, that fact hasn’t stopped them from consistently caving in recent years.
Then enter Donald Trump, the Don Rickles of politics. He called Chuck Schumer’s bluff, refused to acquiesce, leaving Schumer to shut down the government. It lasted 2-1/2 days.
Of this, the leftist website Vox.com wrote that “…a number of activists are no doubt furious that Democrats capitulated so quickly after taking the dramatic step to shut down the government in a fight for undocumented immigrants…” See – it was the Schumer shutdown.
Many believe that Schumer was too quick to cave, but Vox contends that he has the GOP right where he wants them. The Dems got 6 years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Not bad for about 56 hours of waiting.
Now we look toward February 8, and another possible shutdown. The Dems wasted no time in warning the Republicans that, “if their demands aren’t met, another government shutdown could happen on February 8, when the three-week short-term funding bill runs out. And next time they won’t have Republicans dangling a six-year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program over their heads.”
They have a point. The Republicans may have used their one carrot, which leaves them only with Trump’s big stick. Trump and conservative Republicans are still insisting on the Wall and an end to chain migration. For the Dems, this seems like a non-starter.
This can only mean that in two weeks we’ll right back where we started, with the same hand-wringing and finger-pointing over another potential shutdown.
So for now, we just sit back and wait, and hope the President sticks to his guns regardless of any fallout. During this time Trump may very well hint that he is willing to compromise and deal with the Dems – possibly even cave on the Wall, etc.
We must remember that we’ve seen this before from the President. He spouts off via Twitter, appearing to wish to side with the Dems on one issue or another. This sends the right into predictable fits. But when it comes to decision time, he has consistently made the conservative call.
In other words – let’s not worry about what the President says in the next two weeks, or who he appears to sidle up to. The proof will be in the action. Until I see otherwise and owing to his record thus far, I trust that Trump will not cave on the Wall or chain migration, regardless of what McConnell does.

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Copyright ©2018

Brent Smith, "The Common Constitutionalist," offers not just conservative commentary and analysis, but a blend of politics, history, arts, science, and humor. Whoever said conservatives aren’t funny? Yeah, I know…most people. Brent is a contributing writer for numerous online publications. When he is not burning the midnight oil writing his insightful commentaries, he is raising his two teenage sons to be patriots and Conservatives.
Visit Brent Smith's website at www.commonconstitutionalist.com