The government is shut down.
That is a very real event with very real consequences. That’s not just some fear-mongering take. Real people are affected by this. Sure, the average RedState reader is probably not directly affected by the shutdown, but it is a noteworthy and newsworthy event. The government has run out of funding for the time being.
There is currently a lot of finger-pointing. Who is to blame? Is it the Republicans or the Democrats? Is it Donald Trump or is it Chuck Schumer? Did Paul Ryan do this? Did Mitch McConnell? Did Nancy Pelosi?
It’s not a one-word answer. We have to go back a couple of days to figure it out.
Going into the negotiations, the Republicans had a plan. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell had a plan: A continuing resolution with CHIP fully funded and no DACA extension. It was an easy political victory. Fund the government and make the Democrats make the hard choice: Are children worth less than illegal immigrants?
That was the plan right up until 8:37 a.m., when President Donald Trump posted the following to Twitter.
CHIP should be part of a long term solution, not a 30 Day, or short term, extension!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2018
All of a sudden, the Republican leverage was gone.
Democrats seized on the opportunity. “Republicans want to let your children die!” they screamed. Republicans scrambled, offering CHIP in their bill anyway. The Democrats were emboldened, and demanded more. The power of the negotiations was in the Democrats’ hands. Goodbye plan.
From the time House Republicans passed their bill to the time it got to the Senate, they tried to regain control of the message. “We have funded CHIP for a historic six-year term.” It had never been that long. “The Democrats are prioritizing illegal immigrants over our children,” they said. While that point is undoubtedly true, it was too late. The Democrats had their own momentum. They intended to use it.
The Republicans had no Plan B. There was no whip count because there was no plan of action. McConnell called a 10 p.m. vote, which appeared to be little more than a show vote. In keeping with the messaging, the Republicans proved (again, correctly) that the Democrats were, by and large, favoring illegal immigrants – people who broke the law to be in this country – over the children who desperately needed access to CHIP.
The Democrats blocked the bill. They said they would block it and they did block it.
That brings us to this morning, a time when the sun rises over the desolate ruins of Washington D.C. There is no government funding, and people will be negatively affected by it.
The Democrats shut down the government. But they were able to, they had the oomph, because what was an easy path for Republicans was made infinitely harder by a President who simply refuses to rein in his social media use and refrain from posting his every thought.
This should have been a Republican victory. Although this situation is salvageable, the better message is lost now, thanks to a single tweet.