President Trump: All I Want For Christmas Is A Government Shutdown

Of government shutdowns and Underpants Gnomes.

Americans must have been naughty this year because it looks as if one of their early Christmas gifts may be a government shutdown, courtesy of President Trump, Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). After a contentious Oval Office meeting on Tuesday, there seems little chance of agreement on a stop-gap measure to fund the government through the holidays. Unless a funding bill is passed, the government will shut down on Dec. 21.

In the televised meeting, the president repeatedly emphasized the need for border security that specifically includes a wall and threatened to shut the government down in order to get it. Pelosi and Schumer repeatedly said that they were seeking a compromise that would keep the government open.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” President Trump stated as the discussion became heated, “because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So, I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down.”

Leaving aside that the Democrats do make valid points (a phrase I seldom have to type) about the cost, practicality, and effectiveness of the wall, the president’s embrace of the shutdown strategy is a losing proposition. Although government shutdowns play well with the Republican base, they seldom achieve their policy objectives and usually end in an abject surrender often by Republicans who normally are shutting the government down because they lack votes.

Government shutdowns call to mind the Underpants Gnomes of “SouthPark.” The Gnomes famously described their business plan as follows:

Phase 1: Collect underpants

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Profit

In the case of government shutdowns, the plan seems similar:

Phase 1: Shut down the government

Phase 2: ?

Phase 3: Victory

Like the Underpants Gnomes, shutdown advocates focus on Phase 1 and Phase 3 while the vital details of the all-important Phase 2 remain sketchy. In fact, no one has ever been able to give me a reasonable explanation of Phase 2.

When it comes to passing legislation, the Constitution is specific about the process. Those of us who came of age in the ‘80s learned about it between Saturday morning cartoons with a Schoolhouse Rock short called, “I’m Just a Bill.” The abridged version is that any bill, including Trump’s border wall funding proposal, has to be passed by both houses of Congress.

The rub for the current Congress is a detail not mentioned by Schoolhouse Rock, the filibuster and cloture votes. Even though Republicans control both houses of Congress until the new Congress convenes in January, their slim majority in the Senate means that they don’t have enough votes for cloture.

Senate rules require a cloture vote to end debate on any bill. This modern, “gentlemen’s” filibuster requires 60 votes to advance a bill to a floor vote in the Senate. In practical terms, that means that Republicans need a minimum of nine Democrats to vote for cloture and end a filibuster.

What does this have to do with government shutdowns? Everything. The only way to pass a bill is to have the required number of votes. If Republicans can’t get Democrats to cross the aisle then the wall funding bill won’t pass, shutdown or no shutdown.

The problem for President Trump is that shutting down the government does nothing to entice Democrats to vote for the wall. If President Trump leads Republicans into a shutdown over wall funding, my prediction is that Republicans will eventually surrender and agree to reopen the open the government after a few days or weeks of wrangling.

This is what happened in 2013 when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) led Republicans to shut down the government over Obamacare. The shutdown lasted 16 days during which Republican approval ratings plummeted to their lowest level in history (up to that point anyway). Republicans surrendered and agreed to a deal to reopen the government and increase the debt limit. The Affordable Care Act survives to this day. The shutdown cost taxpayers $24 billion.

The shoe was on the other foot earlier this year when Democrats shut down the government in hopes of forcing an immigration deal that would legalize Dreamers. In this case, Democrats were the ones lacking the votes and they eventually had to give in.

The bottom line is that whichever party enters a shutdown without the votes they need is going to exit the shutdown without the votes that they need. There are only two ways to change votes in Congress: compromises and elections. Shutdowns just force both sides to dig in deeper. Both parties lose in public opinion. The other big loser is taxpayers who foot the bill for all the political drama. Contrary to popular belief, shutdowns cost more than keeping the government open.

President Trump wants border security in the form of a wall, but he won’t get it from a shutdown. His best bet would be to embrace his status as an artist of deal-making and present Democrats with an offer too good to refuse. That’s what he promised in the campaign and what voters sent him to Washington to do.

Comments
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esotericwy
esotericwy

First, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer c America into the meeting with NO desire to find Common Ground, Compromise or Agreement with President Trump. WHEN? exactly has the Democrat Party, the Party of IDENTITY Politics, ever shown up with the intention to seek a REAL solution to a problem over the last 10 years?

Both leaders in the Democrat Party that is based on a myopic, delusional and destructive IDEOLOGY have been extreme advocates for BIG government, INCREASED spending, OPEN borders, offering MORE "rights" to Illegals, INCREASING Taxes, Global Warming being the BIGGEST threat to Mankind, thumbs down on school CHOICE for a better education for Minorities, UNLIMITED abortion on demand, USING Minority groups as Pawns in their 3-Card Monte hoax, USING Lies, Deception and Misinformation as their political weapons of choice, bonded at the hip with the Praetorian Guard Media (Mark Levin) and NOT believing in American EXCEPTIONALISM & its UNIQUENESS over all other countries.

A government SHUTDOWN keeps 82% of the government in place. ONLY 18% of the non-essential workers go home. WHY? is the 18% even employed having no Essential value? The checks go out, Revenue continues to come in to the tune of BILLIONS, the Military does not go home and the 3 Branches operate.

Not since Ronald Reagan who shut down the government numerous times in disputes with the Democrats has a President took charge, stated his case effectively and been willing to take the Democrats dead on by cutting through All their BS.

President Trump demonstrated a number of LEADERSHIP qualities: 1) he represents We, the People 2) he is a confronter 3) he fights for what he believes in for We, the People 3) he has a remarkable ability to expose the true purpose and intentions of the Democrat Party.

America and We, the People need a Wall to secure our southern border from Illegal entry from immigrants not invited, gang members, terrorists and/or drug dealers.

President Trump understands the Reality but the Left/Progressive/Modern Liberal/Praetorian Guard Media/far too many RINO WHIG Do NOTHING Democrat Lite Party does not. Rather, they create an Alternative Reality that has a function of reinforcing on a 24/7 Loop the Collective belief that the IDEOLOGY can and will create Paradise on Earth. George Orwell in 1984 pointed specifically what the Utopia looks like. It is called Dystopia.

President Trump is standing on an important Principal off SOVEREIGNTY. Further a reading of both the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution in their Preambles, I believe supports the President.

Couple TDS & TAD with a complete lack of VIRTUE which is demonstrated in the 16 minute video of the President, Speaker and Minority Leader. Add to that their after-meeting Media exchange where the President was Attacked. WHY? The Democrats have NOTHING else. They ONLY have Labels to demean and destroy thei8re opposition.

It should be remember Wirth clarity that anything the President does including giving into the demands of the "fundamental transformation of America Collective will not in any shape or form lead to Common Ground, Compromise or Agreement now, tomorrow for into the future. For the Left/Progressive/Modern Liberal/Praetorian Guard Media/;Democrat party there is ONLY the IDEOLOGY and NOTHING else.

The following will not work or when a Compromise with the Democrats is reach, the consequences are nearly NEVER good.

Bassman4Jesus
Bassman4Jesus

Don't the Republicans control the House and Senate through the end of the year or did I miss something???

mtnavarre
mtnavarre

Telling the dems that if he doesn't get funding for the wall is his way of negotiating. Like threatening tariffs that is part of the art of the deal.

etbass
etbass

The flaw in this theory is that the one that caves first is the loser. If Trump wants wall funding, he can get it. He has to be willing to take the shut down heat as long as it takes. The GOP Congress collectively only has about 5 spines, so they typically fold.

Shut downs might not be popular, but border security is.

I suspect he will have to give them something, but that can be arranged. No wall funding, full and complete, then no budget. Trump claims to be a fighter, it is time to fight and take it all the way to the bell.

Trump's main problem was not doing this right off the bat after 2016.

Contemplator
Contemplator

Think about who had the bully pulpit in 2013. While I can't guarantee end results, this feels different, with Trump saying: "The American people want a wall for border security, and I'm fighting for them."

I just can't figure out why this fight had to wait until days before a considerable loss of Republican Congressional power. Isn't this a fight many Americans were itching for long before the midterm election? Maybe Trump now realizes he has to get his fighting reputation back.