May 8, 2017

The GOP’s Shutdown Paranoia

Republicans are overthinking their plight, as usual, and thus are not willing to use the leverage voters gave them.

The biggest reason for Congress’s passing a Democrat-handout-heavy spending bill revolves around the fear-laden perception that Republican lawmakers have over a rather innocuous term: government shutdown. Because they would rather not be blamed for a temporary “shutdown,” Republicans capitulated to most of what was on the Democrat wish list. Hence a new reckless spending bill that maintains the status quo until the waning days of summer, at least.

In addition to tarnishing their own character once again, the Republican Party has also jeopardized future endeavors by — so far — not taking a stand against leftist bullies. Writing in The Washington Times, Stephen Dinan says, “Stung by yet another ‘shutdown trap’ that forced them to accede to nearly every Democratic demand in the $1 trillion spending bill, Republicans are scrambling to find a way out of their predicament before even bigger deadlines come due just months from now. … Spending bills provide the most common battleground for shutdown talk, and another test is looming by Sept. 30. The even bigger deadline, however, is the federal government’s nearly $20 trillion debt limit, which the Treasury Department is already bumping up against.” Dinan’s broader point is germane: The spending bill fiasco was only the beginning of what promises to be more government shutdown theater.

And while it is strictly theater, it’s a play in which the Democrats are dominating the roles and, thus, the health of the country. The question is whether the roles can finally be reversed, as the Trump administration is pledging. Last Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix [this] mess!” His budget director, Mick Mulvaney, echoed those sentiments, stating: “The appropriations, the spending process, Congress using the power of the purse, [all] has been broken here in Washington for more than 10 years. And I think a good shutdown will be one that can help fix that. It’s part of that overall drain-the-swamp mentality about Washington, DC. This president is willing to think outside of the box and do things differently around here in order to change Washington. And if that comes to a shutdown in September, so be it.”

Keep in mind: Not a single previous government “shutdown” has been the harrowing tale the media portrays it to be. Which means Americans won’t be as mortified at future shutdowns as Democrats hyperbolically allege. Moreover, if Republicans are truly principled, they’ll reject the electoral fear in lieu of what’s right. Ironically, Democrats get this. That’s why Barack Obama this weekend praised Democrat lawmakers who were ousted when ObamaCare was originally passed. Reince Priebus says, “Now, as far as the fight coming down the pike in September, we’re going to be ready for that fight, and we’re going to make sure that President Trump’s priorities continue.” Let’s hope so. Because the GOP can’t keep staving it off for another day.

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