Right now, this is the headline at CNN.com. For those who don’t know, the CNN.com website is regularly orders of magnitude more liberal than their television broadcast. When I first loaded the site, I was stunned to find that even CNN.com was reporting the DHS shutdown story in this way:
But then I thought, why wouldn’t it be reported this way? What other way is there to possibly report it? Republicans have brought up a bill that will fund the DHS. It has the votes to pass. Democrats are preventing the legislation from coming to the floor. There is literally no other way to describe what is happening other than the fact that Democrats are blocking funding for DHS. Regardless of the initial polls on this issue, as long as the Republicans keep resurrecting bills and the Democrats keep blocking them, this will be the narrative that takes hold. And if the Democrats should ever allow the bill to come to the floor and receive a vote, then the headline will immediately become, “Obama vetoes DHS funding.” Folks, that is the only way this plays out, even if you grant the notion that people will be angry and punish someone for a DHS shutdown (a faulty premise given that all DHS frontline workers will remain on the job, but I digress).
Therefore, predictably, [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] is scrambling to cave:
Senate Majority Leader [mc_name name=’Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000355′ ] (R-Ky.) on Monday took steps to prevent a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security by splitting off legislation attacking President Obama’s immigration actions from the funding fight.
McConnell’s actions would bring to the floor a bill blocking Obama’s actions late last year to shield millions from deportation.
The new bill would not be connected to legislation funding the Department of Homeland Security, however, and it would not attack Obama’s earlier executive actions in 2012 to shield certain young people from deportation. Those actions are more popular than the steps Obama took last year.
McConnell said he wanted to take away Democratic excuses for not voting against Obama’s actions in his floor comments, which he said several centrist Democrats had previously criticized.
“Some Democrats give the impression they want Congress to address the overreach. But when they vote, they always seem to have an excuse for supporting actions they once criticized,” he said. “So I’m going to begin proceedings on targeted legislation that would only address the most recent overreach from November.
“It isn’t tied to DHS’ funding. It removes their excuse,” he added.
This is a damn embarrassment. Sorry, but there is no other way to put it. Elected Democrats are not capable of feeling shame over switching their stated positions. One need only look to the filibuster fight – which McConnell also lost, in recent memory – to know this to be an undisputed fact. So the executive amnesty bill gets brought the floor and Democrats will filibuster it. Even if they don’t, Obama will veto it. Life will go on and the press will not care, nor will they hold Democrats’ feet to the fire. The only way this action stood a chance of succeeding in the first place was by tying it to the DHS funding.
Once these issues are uncoupled this fight is over and McConnell will have lost. As, frankly, he probably intended all along. He did not have any intention even from the beginning of winning this fight, he just wanted to present the appearance of trying to win. Thus at every step of the way he has punted and kicked the can down the road promising that he would fight against this issue (he really promises this time!), only this is not the right time and venue, you understand. He’s got it all figured out and eventually we are really going to get down to brass tacks on stopping Obama’s overreach.
Of course, conservatives have predicted since the GOP punted on funding after the election that McConnell et al did not mean it when they said they would really and truly have this fight when it came time to fund DHS after they had control. They predicted all along that McConnell would do exactly what he has done, which is to mount a pretend fight and then cave at the last minute with an “aw shucks” and a “sorry.”
That doesn’t make the cowardice any less embarrassing to watch.