Monday, January 28, 2019

Now What?

The shutdown is over — at least for the next three weeks — and this morning the wheels of government will slowly begin to turn again.  It’s going to take almost the time allotted to get things back on track before they hit another deadline.

It’s also noted that on Friday the FBI arrested Roger Stone, the dirty-trickster of the GOP who’s been peddling his wares since Watergate and gave a Nixonian V-for-Victory salute as he walked out of his arraignment.

I don’t know if the two bits of news are connected; it’s giving Trump a lot of credit for caving on the shutdown to distract the news media from a Mueller investigation arrest.  It just doesn’t seem in his nature to show how truly weak he is in order to move the spotlight off how corrupt he is.

At any rate, the pundits all had a fun time this weekend figuring out who won and who lost, but if you can get beyond all that noise, you’re left with the simple facts that Trump was revealed to be a really bad negotiator and that despite all of his bragging about being the master of the deal, he caved without gaining a single concession, put 800,000 people directly out of work for 35 days, not counting the other millions of people and businesses threatened by the closures, drove his own poll numbers down to the sheer base, fractured his political party, and, most impressive of all, united the Democrats and made damn sure that no one is going to challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Trump can now threaten to declare a national emergency to try to get the funds to build the mythological wall, but that’s not going to happen in three weeks, and if he actually follows through, he’ll be faced with court challenges and inevitable delays while the Army Corps of Engineers tries to figure out how to come up with the money and the manpower.

But in reality Trump really has nothing more to say on how or what’s going to happen with the spending bills.  That has always been and will be up to Congress, and I’m pretty sure that neither Sen. Mitch McConnell nor Speaker Pelosi want a repeat of the last five weeks.  Mr. McConnell has to run again in 2020, and Ms. Pelosi now has a House who has bigger fish to fry, including seeing just what Robert Mueller has dug up on the last election.