The art of the deal and the story behind the shutdown
We all know how the government shutdowns usually go. Democrats demand something unreasonable. Republicans awkwardly try to push their agenda forward. The left-wing media act as the PR firm for the Democrats. The Republicans get blamed. The government shutdown is over. Not this time.
What was different? Several things. First of all, trying to tie the DACA demands to a continuing resolution to keep the government functioning was transparent. DACA doesn’t expire until March 5. There was no need to throw it in the mix of a spending bill. Times past, however, the Democrats would’ve gotten away with it. They didn’t this time.
One of the reasons is the brilliant framing of the argument by President Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mick Mulvaney so cleverly labeled this particular government shutdown ‘The Schumer Shutdown.’ The alliteration was irresistible to even the left-wing media who picked up the phrase and ran with it.
There was also President Trump himself. Nancy Pelosi cackled that the president had nothing to do with the negotiations. He had everything to do with them. Speaker Paul Ryan said as much himself. He said they were passing a bill that Trump would sign. In reality, the person who had nothing to do with the negotiations was Pelosi.
After the Schumer Shutdown took hold in the minds of the American people it was simply a matter of time. The longer the government stayed closed, the worse it became for the Democrats. They were stunned. They’ve never lost one of these. No matter the outcome, they were always able to pin it on the Republicans. This time they couldn’t.
Had we had any other president it might have been business as usual. If Trump knows one thing it’s how to negotiate. What the Democrats failed to recognize is he doesn’t have to have DACA. To Trump, it’s a bargaining chip. To the Democrats it’s everything. What they don’t know is they already have it.
The one thing the Senate Republicans did screw up was pushing the continuing budget resolution down the road only three weeks. That pushes it up near the deadline for DACA and Democrats will surely try to tie the two together again. That’s why having Trump involved is so important.
Remember where this whole Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals thing started. It was a ploy by President Obama to put a different face on illegal immigration. He could find some girl who was dragged over here at six months old who spoke perfect English and was the valedictorian of her school. That was supposed to erase the image of the tattooed MS-13 gang member who was butchering people in the streets for kicks.
The DACA folks (and they’re not kids any longer) were never in danger of being deported. Think about it. The only person who could’ve deported them was Obama. And he issued an order to protect them. From whom? Himself? No, it was all a publicity stunt to get the American people to believe they were in imminent danger of being deported. The Democrats have told that lie so long they now believe it.
So, Trump wants the wall. He wants an end to chain migration. He wants an end to the lottery visa. In order to get it he’s willing to give the Democrats something they already have. As I’ve said, it’s like selling New York the Brooklyn Bridge. They already own it.
The cards have already been dealt to give Trump what he wants. The House and Senate Republicans have to just not screw it up.
©Philip Carr “Phil” Valentine