1. Plant Petard. 2. Press “Hoist”.

Well! It appears the shutdown’s over. (Somehow, the nation survived.)

It would take real determination not to see this as a political win for Donald Trump, and a black eye for Chuck Schumer. As we noted on Friday, the Democrats had three separate chances to make a deal, and there was never anything in the proposed funding bill that Democrats opposed (and the bill did include six years of funding for the children’s health-care program called CHIP). But so rabid are the Democrats’ base that Schumer et al. thought it was in their political interest to dig in their heels*, shut down the government, and blame the Republicans.

The plan to seize and control the narrative failed. The winning message was clear and incontrovertible: the Democrats have now drifted so far left as to be willing to shut down the government — thereby disrupting the lives, security, and household economies of millions of American citizens and service personnel — simply in order to secure benefits for illegal aliens. Moreover, for them to do this after blaming Republicans for “holding America hostage” during the last shutdown a few years ago was obviously and deeply hypocritical. (You can see some accusations of “hostage-taking” on the eve of the previous shutdown, when Republicans were refusing to extend the debt-ceiling unless given legislative concessions, in comments to our own posts, here and here.)

A nasty blow, too, was the viral circulation of this little video from that previous shutdown battle, in 2013:

Realizing their mistake, the Democrats blinked. For this they are already being blasted by their base (which should tell you all you need to know about their base). Now we shall have a three-week postponement, during which there will be “discussions” of what to do about immigration policy.

A plausible compromise, in my opinion, would be:

‣   A limited amnesty for DACA recipients (who may number well more than 800,000, the figure usually given) that would consist of resident status, including permission to work, but not citizenship or voting rights. In order to qualify for full citizenship, they would have to apply individually, like everyone else.

‣   An end to “chain migration” and the “diversity lottery”. (There should be no compromise whatsoever on this.) The visas currently apportioned to the lottery would no longer be issued.

‣   Funding for the Wall.

(This is just the beginning of a rational immigration policy, which should immediately end “birthright citizenship” and obstetrical tourism, and which should sharply curtail legal immigration as well. But I’ll leave that for another post.)

The Democrats won’t agree to this, of course. Why? Because the amnesty described above, despite giving so-called “Dreamers”** what they want most — residency, legitimacy, and the right to work — doesn’t give the Democrats the one thing they really want: millions of new Democratic voters (and millions and millions more, as chain-migration does its ruinous, multiplicative work). DACA recipients would be thrilled if the Democrats accepted such a compromise. The Democrats in Congress, however, couldn’t care less.

This alone should show you that the Democrats’ apparent concern for these people is just a sham. I lived in the U.S. until age 43 without having a vote, and had a perfectly happy life. (I might as well still not have it, too: since becoming naturalized in 1999, nobody I’ve every voted for, with one embarrassing exception, has ever won anything. A universal franchise has nothing to do with good governance, and is arguably its worst enemy.)

So: in three weeks, we are going to be right back in the same place again (minus the six-year funding of CHIP, which was wisely left in the stopgap bill). What will happen? Will the Democrats do the same thing all over again if they don’t get full amnesty, including chain migration? Are they that stupid? (They may very well be.)

Will Congressional Republicans be traitorous enough to grant it? (I certainly hope not — but you never know with these people.) They have the upper hand now, and if they hold firm to something like the compromise outlined above, they can win. And after this, I think they know it.

Above all, Mr. Trump must not waver. I don’t think he will. He knows a winning position when he sees it.

This will turn out, I think, to have been a very important victory — a watershed.

* Speaking of digging in the heels, did you know that the word “recalcitrant”, meaning “to be obstinately uncooperative”, has the Latin (perhaps older, maybe Etruscan) root “calx”, meaning “heel”? (It is also the root of the anatomical name of the heel-bone, “calcaneus”.)

** Brilliant propaganda, that word! It is used at every possible opportunity by the media, implanting a tiny partisan brain-worm — an insidious moral-intuition virus — every time readers or viewers absorb it.

One Comment

  1. Mike Johnson says

    “Realizing their mistake, the Democrats blinked. For this they are already being blasted by their base (which should tell you all you need to know about their base). ”

    The Democrat playbook is:
    – Put people into buckets. Women, Men, Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, Trans, old, young etc…
    – Describe to their base how each bucket is abused by straight, white males, creating animus
    – Gin up the anger
    – Tell each bucket how Democrats will help address that abuse
    – Get elected

    There are a few eventual problems with this approach which the Democrats are just beginning to experience:

    – If you tell people they’re being abused and you’re going to save them, eventually they’ll expect you to do it.
    – The people in the buckets all have stirred up anger. Democrats believe they can steer that anger. Sometimes they can. Sometimes they can’t.

    There’s no going backward as they’ve painted their political enemies as literally Hitler ™. Creating more and more anger is the only way forward for the Democrats. When the people in those buckets see their elected representatives failing to deliver results then that anger will be directed at the Democrats.

    Eventually, this will cause the Democrat party to split up, Balkan style (and for the same reason). It’s not a matter of if that will happen but when.

    Posted January 24, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

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