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writing for godot

Shut down - Shut up, Donald—Grown ups are talking

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Written by Zepp Jamieson   
Tuesday, 22 January 2019 22:59

January 22nd 2019

News broke tonight that the Senate is going to take up two bills Thursday regarding the government shutdown.

The first is Trump’s compromise: he gets $5.7 billion in return for extending a grace period for the Dreamers. Like all things Trump, it’s utter bullshit: three courts have already ruled that Trump is legally obliged to continue the DACA program, and just yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that they weren’t going to interfere with the lower court decisions. So Trump is offering something he has to do anyway.

Even worse, the “compromise” essentially eliminates America from honoring its treaty obligations to refugees and asylum seekers. Nobody expects honesty from this administration, but this is particularly egregious, even for them. The “compromise” shows the duplicity and moral bankruptcy of Trump, nothing more.

The second bill, introduced by Schumer, is more promising. It simply finances the portions of government that have been closed through February 8th, and promises open debate on the wall. It’s interesting that McConnell, who had been rejecting consideration of any bill that didn’t include financing for the wall, allowed this one to reach the Senate floor.

Yes, the shutdown is extremely unpopular, and McConnell is seen as first in line behind Trump as being responsible for it. He’s probably realized that the party that caves on this is finished, but Republicans and Trump will remain widely hated no matter what happens. In normal circumstances, a Majority Leader in this position would look frantically for a bill that could resolve the issue while giving him a figleaf. This bill meets that criterium. If it passes, he can claim they haven’t finished the battle for the wall, but merely deferred it for a few weeks. He may even be delusional enough to hope that when the next continuing resolution comes along and Trump digs his bone spurs in, any subsequent closures would be blamed on the Democrats.

But these aren’t normal times. With the party leader in the Oval Office an unstable sociopath, McConnell knows that if it somehow, some way saves his ass from the scandals threatening to tear him apart, Trump will be perfectly happy to sacrifice not only the country, but his own party. There’s precious little evidence that McConnell cares much about his country, but his party? His wonderful, precious party? Nay! Dishonor before Death! The Party must live!

So, there’s three courses of thought he might have followed before deciding to let Schumer’s bill to the floor.

First, he may have decided he could keep 40 Republicans in line, effectively filibustering the bill. Given that would be the same forty Republicans who voted for that very same bill five weeks earlier, only to have Trump double-cross them, dumping them into a nightmare of rising public fury, it’s unlikely that even the goose stepping discipline for which the Senate GOP is renowned could keep them all in line. They have absolutely nothing to gain from continuing the shutdown, and a lot to lose. And most of them don’t even want the fucking wall in the first place.

Second: McConnell finally convinced Trump that the wall was nothing but a loser from the GOP standpoint. Two Republicans in Congress have already announced they won’t be running in 2020, one of them is quitting immediately. While that one probably has a major scandal about to break, there’s little doubt that Republicans are looking at the shifting landscape and realizing that if they didn’t do something now, they would be extinct by 2021. McConnell, a political animal, knows this, and perhaps he’s gotten Trump to agree to fight the wall battle another day. After all, Trump managed to go two years without the wall; he can go a little bit longer.

That’s actually the most likely of the three scenarios, and Mitch, if he has any actual religion, must be on his knees right now praying that the crazy fuck in the White House doesn’t cross him up again.

The third scenario is that he has decided to tell Trump to go fuck himself. That’s the bloodiest of the scenarios. In this one, Schumer’s bill passes in the Senate, but not by 66 votes. Trump vetoes it.

Public outrage swells. The national mood shifts from outraged to flat-out dangerous.

House Minority Leader McCarthy and McConnell take the unusual step of permitting the bill to come up again, and release their membership from party discipline on the vote. The bill passes both houses with veto-proof majorities, a massive humiliation of Trump and one that immediately brings down the temperature of the public, giving the Republicans faint hope for the future.

Between Mueller, the Senate Intelligence Committee (which, unlike the previous House Intelligence Committee, has been reasonably honest and non-partisan in its investigations into Trump) and various committees in the new, Democratically-controlled House, various houses of generally quite large sizes are going to begin landing on Trump. His own lawyer, Rudy the Risible, has blabbed enough to put Trump’s ass in jail. Just imagine what the people who aren’t on his side are going to come up with.

McConnell is probably betting that he can defuse this and it won’t matter how much is pisses off Trump, because Trump is going to be up to his ass in alligators in another week or so (Trump hired THIRTY-FIVE lawyers two weeks ago to start preparing his defense).

Both votes are scheduled for Thursday. Stay tuned.

 

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