Harry Reid and the Gang: In Like Flint - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Harry Reid and the Gang: In Like Flint

Lost amid the buzz surrounding the rapidly-approaching 2016 electoral cycle was the last-minute deal in Congress to avoid a government shutdown — and one of the most dishonorable, corrupt, rancid, and strategically brilliant gambits in modern American political history pulled off by Harry Reid — at the end of September:

The stopgap spending bill, which would fund the government through Dec. 9, had been ensnarled in a debate over financing for the lead-tainted water system in Flint, Mich.

But an agreement between congressional leaders late Tuesday — which would authorize aid for Flint as part of separate legislation for water infrastructure projects — appeared to ameliorate Democratic concerns, clearing the way for the Senate to pass the spending bill, 72 to 26. The House followed suit late Wednesday, approving the measure 342 to 85.

In addition to keeping the government funded at current levels, the bill provides $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, without the restrictions on Planned Parenthood clinics that foiled earlier negotiations. It also includes funding for military infrastructure, housing and other services.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said Wednesday that he felt “very comfortable” with reassurances from Republicans that the House deal would result in aid for Flint.

“I’m convinced that there’s going to be help for Flint in the lame duck,” he said before the vote, referring to the session of Congress after the presidential election in November.

Sources I’ve talked to on the Hill — I’m investigating the performance of Louisiana’s governor in respect to federal flood recovery funding following the South Louisiana flooding for my own site, and Flint is just as sore a spot with them four weeks later as it was when this deal was cut — have told me that Reid pulled a bait-and-switch with Congress with Flint as the object.

The spending bill was to include the funding for South Louisiana, which was seeking $2.8 billion in federal aid to offset some $8.7 billion in total economic damages from the flood, and the early word on the deal was that some part of that funding would be uncontroversial. President Obama, presented with that $2.8 billion figure by Louisiana’s Democrat governor John Bel Edwards, reportedly signed off on $2.6 billion. But by the time the haggling on the budget continuing resolution had gone very far there would only be a tranche of those recovery dollars, with more to come in the lame-duck session.

And Reid decided to hold things up, with the threat of a shutdown the media would blame on the GOP, as his stick. At the last minute before a deal was available, I’m told, Reid demanded that federal bailout money for the water supply in Flint be included as the price of any deal to avoid a shutdown.

Why? Here was why…

Michigan’s two senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, both Democrats, opposed the bill. Ms. Stabenow said that while she was heartened by the movement on the House side, she would oppose any spending measure “that does not treat communities equally,” an apparent reference to emergency funding for flood-ravaged places in Louisiana, Maryland and West Virginia.

“It is wrong to ask families in Flint to wait at the back of the line again,” she said in a statement.

Reid orchestrated all this, and not as an attempt at pandering to Stabenow and Peters. There is a very long game at work here, and it shows how many moves ahead of the GOP the Dems are.

Understand that despite Stabenow’s mendacious statements, there is zero equivalence to be had between flood relief for Louisiana, Maryland, and West Virginia and a bailout of Flint’s water. The first three suffer from the after-effects of natural disasters; namely, intense and localized rain events that caused flooding along overwhelmed rivers. In Flint, something completely different happened — namely, the effects of weaponized Democrat governmental failure.

The Flint water supply was poisoned because of a corrupt and dysfunctional local government exclusively composed of Democrats for decades. Those Democrats governed in a fashion that shooed middle-class voters out of that jurisdiction, something that party’s politicians routinely practice as a matter of strategic course. Chase out the business community, chase out the rich and the middle class with high taxes, stupid regulation, crime through the roof, and atrocious public schools and, lo and behold, there is no one to challenge one-party rule.

You rule over a ruin, but that’s not important. To the modern Democrat Party, what matters is you rule.

And in Flint, the ability to rule carried with it the privilege of ruling poorly. So poorly, in fact, that before the fatal decision to stop using water from the Detroit Water and Sewage Department without a viable replacement was made, the city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager — because the elected Democrat mayor and city council had run the place into bankruptcy. The city manager, a Democrat appointed by a Republican governor, made what turned out to be a bad decision to switch to water provided by the Karegnondi Water Authority, which was building a pipeline from Lake Huron that would purportedly allow for the provision of water at a savings to the city.

But when the decision was made to switch from the DWSD to the KWA, the latter wasn’t ready. And the Democrats in charge of Flint decided everything would be fine if they just used, on a temporary basis, the city’s mothballed water facility that would draw water from the polluted Flint River.

You know the rest.

This is a municipal incompetence issue. It’s not a natural disaster. The Democrats want to equate it with such for a number of obvious reasons.

First, if Democrat incompetence where governance is concerned can be equated with an act of God, the public can be conditioned to simply accept that the devolution of vibrant communities into Detroits, Flints, Baltimores, Chicagos, and St. Louises is something that cannot be avoided and must be remedied by the tax dollars of those who live in the suburbs. Increasingly, this is becoming difficult to do at the state level; one of the negative parts of ruling over a ruin is the population tends to decrease relative to neighboring jurisdictions full of actual taxpayers that are not ruins, and the big-city machines come to find it more difficult to dominate at the statehouse.

So you bring the fight to Washington, where it’s clear Democrats play the game better. Thanks to their domination of the media, of course, and the Republicans’ abject fear of the consequences of victory in a legislative fight over a bailout. As we know, all shutdowns are not only the fault of the GOP but evidence of bad faith with the American people to boot.

Which brings us to the second part — and this is where it gets ugly.

Because if the Republicans allow themselves to be buffaloed on Flint — and if they don’t, the price will be that no disaster aid will come to red states like West Virginia and Louisiana — then the door will be open for that weaponized governmental failure to pay off.

The Flint bailout will become a precedent. And following that bailout, every mismanaged and dysfunctional Democrat-run municipal infrastructure agency in America will line up at the federal trough for its own free redemption. Bad roads? Bad sewage system? Bad mass transit? Jail in need of repairs? Call your congressman, and have him hold up the next spending bill for your bailout.

If the current $20 trillion national debt makes you white with fear, be of good cheer: $20 trillion is nothing. We’ll be at $120 trillion by the time Hillary Clinton leaves office, and you might just collect a government wheelbarrow with which to carry currency to the grocery store.

But at least the Democrats in charge of the water supply will assure you that it’s good drinkin’. They’ll not join you in a glass, though. They prefer champagne.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and RVIVR.com, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at Amazon.com. He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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