So we have a bill to end the shutdown. It isn’t perfect; the hard-cores on both sides hate it and there are cries of “Sellout!” and “Sucker!” from the likes of the Tea Party to Code Pink. That usually means it’s a deal made to end an immediate impasse with promises of goodies for both sides later, neither of whom trust the other to keep their word.
That’s the main question: Do you trust them to keep their word?
Charles P. Pierce just before final passage:
If this bill passes, CHIP will be financed for the next six years, and that’s a very good thing. The military will get its money, and a lot of people will be mollified by that, I guess. (Also, the campaign talking point that the Democrats are stealing money from Our Troops to give it to the various branches of MS-13 is somewhat blunted. Golf clap. They’re going to use it anyway.) And, depending on your relative innate optimism, Schumer and the Democrats didn’t give up much at all but, rather, decided to live to fight in February on funding the government, and to fight on DACA in March. But, for me, McConnell is a rare combination of being ruthless and being truthless, and the House has lost its mind, and the president* has disappeared. And, these days, my innate optimism is not exactly brimming.
What gives me pause is what I saw and heard over the weekend and on Monday. A political party that wants to eliminate entire Cabinet departments defended a president* whose administration* has refused to staff vital positions all over the government by weeping crocodile tears over the plight of furloughed federal employees. And Tailgunner Ted Cruz, cornered in the basement of some Senate office building, insisting that he always has opposed government shutdowns. (I thought Kasie Hunt of MSNBC was going to be orbiting Mars by the time that little episode ended.) The truth is not in these people because, given the nature of their political base, and given the essential political immorality of their donor class, it hasn’t had to be for a very long time.
So, I’m not going to scream, “Sellout!” nor sing “Kumbaya.” I am just going to sum up the state of play in three questions.
Do you trust a promise from Mitch McConnell?
Do you think Paul Ryan can be trusted to control his caucus sufficiently to pass a bill based on a promise from Mitch McConnell?
Do you think the president* can be trusted to sign a bill based on a promise from Mitch McConnell?
Your mileage may certainly vary.
If it gets to February 8 and somehow Mitch McConnell backs out of the deal because he didn’t like the way Elizabeth Warren looked at him in the hallway, or Paul Ryan can’t or doesn’t try to control his caucus, or Trump hears something on Fox and Friends that calls into question the spheroid shape of the planet and he tweets his madness, the government will shut down yet again and this time there’s no way they can plausibly blame it on the Democrats. (They still will; I said “plausibly,” and that’s an adjective that gets no respect in Washington.) Then we start this whole thing over again, but it will squarely be on the DACA situation with no extraneous distractions such as military pay or CHIP.
No, I don’t trust Mitch McConnell any further than I can fly to the moon on gossamer wings. But if this blows up, the turds will be in his punch bowl and the fun part will be seeing how he explains how he can’t trust himself.