The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is proving to be a shining star as she leads the Democrats as they transition to become the majority Party in the US House of Representatives.
My gut as opposed to that of the republican President Donald Trump has me suspicious that he and the GOP leaders in the US Congress were counting on their Democratic colleagues to repeat what they did during the January 2018 US federal government shutdown which began at midnight EST on Saturday, January 20, 2018, and ended on the evening of Monday, January 22.
That 3 day shutdown occurred over a weekend and a Monday in January 2018 when the republicans were in control of the White House and both houses in the US Congress. It was a somewhat similar scenario to the current 2019 shutdown, except in 2018, the Democrats were in the minority position in the US House of Representatives, but in 2019, all of that changed as the Democrats took over the majority position in the House.
In 2019, President Trump and his GOP cronies in the US Congress miscalculated the significance of this difference and how the political dynamics have changed. The Speaker Pelosi is now in a power position were she has no choice but to stand up to this president.
In contrast to the 2019 government shutdown being conducted over a trumped up immigration crisis at the US SW border, the January 2018 government shutdown had been over a very real looming crisis that needed to be fixed before Democrats would agree to sign off on a continuing resolution to keep the government operational until the 8th of February 2018. This is a case of “deju vue.
Before the January 2018 shutdown, the republicans had been holding hostage the DACA (program to prevent deportation of young peoples who came to the US as children with undocumented parents and who know no other country) to get Democrats to sign off on their cut backs on “legal immigration.” as per the legislation sponsored by THE GOP Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue.
As per a January 22, 2018 New York Times report, “Government Shutdown Ends After 3 Days of Recriminations” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Thomas Kaplan, “Congress brought an end to a three-day government shutdown on Monday as Senate Democrats buckled under pressure to adopt a short-term spending bill to fund government operations without first addressing the fate of (DACA) young undocumented immigrants.”
“The House quickly approved the measure — which will fund the government through Feb. 8 and extend funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years — and President Trump signed it on Monday night (1/22/18).”
“The passage of the measure ended an ugly, if short-lived, impasse that threatened to give a black eye to both major political parties. The deal, reached after a bipartisan group of senators pushed their leaders to come to terms, enables hundreds of thousands of federal employees who had been facing furloughs to go back to work.”
“Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on Shutdown,” the president said on Twitter at 11:30 p.m.”
But back to the future in January 2019, President Trump had calculated, that after most republicans while in majority control of both houses in the US Congress in 2017 and 2018, had resisted budgeting for more than $1.6 billion dollars for his wall, that he could now force the new Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives, to give into his demands for $5.7 billion dollars for 200 miles of a wall if he subjected the country to a partial government shutdown, despite the pain that would be inflicted on 800,000 public servants who would have to forgo their paychecks or have them delayed.
In addition, he was convinced that this tactic would benefit him by consolidating the anti-immigration hardliners of his base, plus he was counting a repeat scenario of the January 2018 shutdown were he had more success in shifting the blame for the shutdown onto the democrats. But what a difference, a year makes!
Here’s the rest of the story…
On January 16, 2019, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post penned the following analysis, “Facing Trump’s tantrum, Pelosi takes away the TV”
“To say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has mastered the art of dealing with President Trump would be a gross understatement. She fact-checked him in the Oval Office on live TV and passed spending bills to reopen the government, thereby reinforcing Trump’s responsibility for the shutdown. To top it off, she’s taking away the president’s TV. More precisely, in response to Trump’s nearly month-long temper tantrum, she has told him he won’t get his prime-time State of the Union address on Jan. 29.”
“In a letter to Trump, she writes, “During the 19th Century and up until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, these annual State of the Union messages were delivered to Congress in writing. And since the start of modern budgeting in Fiscal Year 1977, a State of the Union address has never been delivered during a government shutdown.” She then explains that both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security, which are charged with security, “have not been funded for 26 days now – with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.” Given all that, we couldn’t possibly have the speech, she says.”
“She concludes: “I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th.” (I vote for delivering it in writing.)”
“You wonder why in the world Democrats ever considered replacing her. She knows she has power, she willingly and skillfully deploys it, and, as she has said, as a mother of 5 children, knows how to handle a toddler’s meltdown. She also knows what Trump craves most — attention and TV cameras. (Remember, he couldn’t stand it when she had the limelight on Jan. 3, so he felt compelled to enter the White House briefing room — but take no questions.)”
“Ultimately, Pelosi’s power rests on the unity of her members and the Democratic base — and the president’s dwindling power and popularity. According to the latest Pew Research Center poll, “the majority of Americans (58%) continue to oppose substantially expanding the border wall, while 40% favor the proposal. . . . Overwhelming shares of both liberal Democrats (97%) and conservative and moderate Democrats (89%) oppose expanding the border wall.” Trump’s failed Oval Office speech shows he’s unable to move public opinion. His handling of the shutdown has earned him harshly negative ratings:”
“Overall, just 36% of the public approves of how Trump is handling negotiations over the government shutdown, including 23% who say they strongly approve. About six-in-ten (61%) disapprove of Trump’s approach to the negotiations, including 53% who say they strongly disapprove. . . .”
“Public views of Democratic leaders’ handling of the shutdown talks are somewhat more positive than views of Trump or GOP leaders. Still, more disapprove (53%) than approve (43%).”
“In evaluations of how each is handling shutdown talks, Trump elicits stronger opinions than Democratic and Republican congressional leaders. Overall, 75% of adults characterize their opinion of Trump’s handling of the shutdown negotiations as either strongly disapproving (53%) or strongly approving (23%). By comparison, only about half of Americans offer strong evaluations of how congressional leadership in both parties are handling the negotiations.”
“Meanwhile, Trump’s overall approval rating is a puny 37 percent. “Trump’s support among Republicans and Republican leaners remains high (80% approve), while nearly all Democrats and Democratic leaners (96%) disapprove of his job performance. The partisan gap in Trump’s job approval is wider than for any president in more than six decades.”
“Unlike Trump, many don’t view the wall as a dire issue, but 58 percent do see the shutdown as a “very serious” matter.”
We don’t know how this will end, but should the shutdown create a serious safety hazard or take a big chunk out of the economy, there is little doubt who’s going to get the blame. And Pelosi knows it.”