Opinion | Morgan Liddick: In government stalemate, we all lose
On Your Right
“Given the security concerns and unless government reopens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has reopened for this address.” — Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address.
“I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the shutdown is over.” — President Trump advising Speaker Pelosi that military transport will not be available for her weeklong trip to Europe and the Middle East.
NOW it’s a party. But when the taunts, verbal mooning and raspberries die down on both sides of the aisle, will we be any closer to a resolution to the impasse now shuttering a quarter of the federal government? No. Further away, more likely.
The reason is simple: Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have painted themselves into a corner. The president, having made a physical barrier on the Mexico-U.S. border the signal issue of his campaign and later of his presidency, cannot afford to let it go. It would ruin him, his presidency and very likely the Republican Party. And those self-selected GOP “leaders” signing up to dance on Trump’s political grave thanks to this issue have deluded themselves; self-righteous opposition to the leader of their party who — on the issue of barriers on the border has the support of an overwhelming number of Republicans — is the surest recipe for political suicide since the antislavery faction of the Whig party prevented the re-nomination of Millard Filmore in 1852.
Trump himself should leave off personalizing the issue and return to the language of the grand compromise on immigration and border security that he proposed in January of 2018. That proposal, which traded $25 billion in allocated funds for a border wall and long-needed reforms to our immigration system for a “path to citizenship” for about 1.8 million illegal residents, was rejected out of hand by Nancy Pelosi and her circle back then, but the realization may be dawning on Capitol Hill’s Swamp Creatures that to President Trump, “no” doesn’t mean “give me a decent interval before I capitulate.” It means “no.” As in, no more fun trips to colorful places where even the lowest-ranking Congressman is treated like a proconsul, using diplomatic and military personnel as porters, chauffeurs, shoppers and translators. Heady stuff, now unavailable.
Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Schumer, too, face challenges stemming from the leftward rush of the Democratic Party. In an organization goaded to madness by the urge to “Resist!” at any cost, they have chosen what they think is winning ground against the president, based on their calculations of race and ethnic division. Their confidence is boosted by polls showing what the speaker calls Americans “turning against the wall” because they associate it with Trump’s supposed racism. Which shows the danger of allowing pollsters to do your thinking for you: if one believes the most recent polls, Americans are pretty evenly divided on the topic. A third agree with the Democrat position that additional border security is unnecessary; 35 percent think a wall is “the best option,” while 34 percent want more border security but are uncertain the wall is necessary. These are not winning numbers for the open-borders crowd, but Nancy and Chuck have chosen to oppose the president based on them. Their stance is a formula for unstable politics and a disunited population, but neither cares.
To Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer and others of their ilk, Trump is an illegitimate president who must be opposed at every turn. There is also terrific pressure from the ultraleftists in their party, whose attitudes spring from their belief that only they, and those who think as they do, are fit to rule; hence the speaker’s pronouncement that walls are not ineffective, but “immoral.” Which in turn does nothing for our political situation: few things will pour more gasoline on a raging fire than dragging moral judgement into an argument that should rest on practicalities and the national interest, security foremost.
So batten the hatches and prepare for a long season of slowly declining federal services and rapidlyescalating howls from the recipients of our tax dollars. It is this last that promises finally to end the impasse, and perhaps not in the way Democrat leadership thinks. Remember, federal employees are largely a Democrat constituency, as are many of those benefiting from transfer payments, subsidies and regulation. Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer is one of those hearing from constituents and, although he has used the requisite harsh language for Trump, he admitted last week in an interview that “… obviously, walls work.” Which for the left side of the aisle is progress toward sanity.
May there be more of the same, and soon.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily News.
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