HORIST SPECIAL: The blame for the government shutdown is obvious
Whether it is because they live in their own bubble of virtual reality or because they think they can get away with lying, Democrats create false narratives to advance their agenda. It is probably a little of the first and a lot of the second. Part of the reason they can fib with abandon is because they know the Big Seven elitist media outlets (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times and the Washington Post – in case you forgot) will report their baseless and bogus claims as factual – as will too many other fellow travelers in the press world.
The government shut down is a prime example, so let’s look at the FACTS.
The first inaccuracy, to put it politely, is the claim that Republicans have total control of both houses of Congress – so whatever happens must be their fault. Right? This deceptive narrative has been expressed in the media over and over by hosts of hosts and panels of panelists. It is stated as fact. Of course, it is not true.
The GOP does control the House by a simple majority – and they rule by simple majority. That is why the House passed the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. That is why the House passed the tax reform bill. And that is why the House passed a bill to keep the government operating.
In the Senate, the rules do not allow governance by a simple majority in key issues. It requires a supermajority of 60 votes from the 100 senators. Since the GOP has a majority of only 51, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has the power of the filibuster to block legislation – and that is exactly what he is doing. To truly have total control, Senate Republicans would have to pick up at least 10 more seats. If Republicans really had total control, there would be no government shutdown.
While Democrat rhetoric is deceitful and the reporting dishonest, the numbers tell the facts. The Republican-controlled House passed the bill to fund the government with 224 Republicans voting in favor and only 11 opposed. In the House, 186 Democrats voted to shut down the government with only six in favor. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s strategy clearly was to defeat the funding of the government. Fortunately, she failed because Republicans had control and the votes to defeat Democrat obstructionism.
Because of the rules of the Senate, the Democrat strategy was successful. Forty-Five Republicans voted to fund the government while five voted against it. Again, the Democrats were the mirror image with 44 voting “no” to funding the government and five voting in favor of the GOP bill.
An overwhelming majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress, 269 to be exact, voted for funding with 15 voting against. Conversely, 231 Democrat members of the House and Senate voted against funding the government and only 11 voting in favor. In one of the greater displays of hubris and hypocrisy, even by Washington standards, the Democrats blame the GOP for the shutdown even though they were the ones voting overwhelmingly for the shutdown.
Republican votes were obviously motivated by a desire to keep the government open for business so that they could deal with other issues. The Democrats’ myopic and destructive strategy appears to have been pushed by their base of radical leftists who oppose ANYTHING with a Republican seal-of-approval on it.
It is good to examine the motivation of those who voted against their partisan positions. Of the five Republicans, the “no” vote by Senate Leader Mitch McConnell was merely a procedural vote to keep the issue alive. The rules required that he had to vote against something he wanted to pass (another example of the Dungeons and Dragons-style rules that tend to encumber rather than facilitate the work of the Senate).
That means only four Republicans voted “no” based on the merits of the bill. For Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul, it was a principled objection to the process. Understandable but ill-advised. For Senator Lindsey Graham it was pride of authorship of a White House rejected a proposal that included a partial Dreamer provision and a surrender on tougher immigration provisions. For Senator Flake, who was pre-emptively rejected by the people of his state, it was another example of his petulant bitterness.
Four of the five Democrats who voted in favor of funding the government are senators who must face the voters in six months, and they know the people back home want the government funded – something the Schumer gang should keep in mind. Then there is the new Democrat senator from Alabama, Doug Jones. Even though he is not up for reelection until 2020, he well knows that he cannot be part of the Democrat resistance movement and get reelected. While the Democrats won the Alabama seat, they may find Jones to be an outlier when it comes to the extreme progressive agenda that is currently driving Schumer and the Democrat strategies – and this may be only the first example of Jones apostasy.
The excuse for Democrat recalcitrance is the issue of the so-called Dreamers – those illegal aliens who were brought to America as children. The Schumer-led coalition of obstructionists demands that the Dreamer issue be resolved specifically as they propose or they will let innumerable hardships befall millions of Americans, especially the military. Of course, the vast majority of Americans will not be affected since all essential services – and many not so essential – will continue unabated.
Schumer’s selection of the Dreamer issue as the line in the sand is imponderable to the point of ridiculous. President Trump supports Dreamers being given legal status. The overwhelming majority of Republicans in Congress are ready to pass legislation to make that happen. Even though Democrats have claimed the Dreamer issue as their cause célèbre, they are misusing it as a wedge issue when, in fact, most everyone is on the same side. The mythical claim that Democrats are for protecting Dreamers and the GOP is opposed to legal status is another of the false narratives that play so well with a compliant press.
Perhaps the most egregious deflection of responsibility by Schumer is the suggestion that the shutdown is all the fault of President Trump. That is pure nonsense – and would be discounted at its first utterance if the elitist media was not again willing to breath false credibility into this dead-on-arrival claim. Trump has agreed to sign various versions of government funding, and some versions he will not sign. That is just how the process works.
It is up to the Congress to first pass the legislation and send it over to the President. There is only one roadblock. It is the lock-step refusal of Senate Democrats to vote for government funding legislation – period. #schumershutdown.
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org