No more Mr. Nice Guy if that’s what required to keep his biggest campaign promise.
So go ahead and close down the cockamamie Government. If only!
Let’s call a spade a spade: Donald J. Trump, private public citizen (oxymoron?), descended on an escalator (an oxymoron that!), and he said that Mexico is sending us their worst, not their best. Was he right? Did he speak elegantly? That is open to fair debate, but one thing is clear: From the moment he began his quixotic campaign for the Presidency, his signature issue was that he would regain control over our broken immigration system.
And so the campaign went: “I am going to build a big beautiful Wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it.” It honestly became as much his meme as Obama’s “If you like your plan, you will keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you will keep your doctor.”
Obama was a liar. He always was a liar. Who knows whether his name even is Obama? What we would give to read the application forms he submitted to get into Columbia and later into Harvard Law, and later to get hired as a part-time untenured law professor with no academic publications to his name! Given Elizabeth Warren’s tribal heritage, if only to read Obama’s “Lies My Father Told Me— and the Even Better Ones I Made Up All Myself.” Half the country pegged him as a liar from the day we met him, as the oceans stopped rising and the planet started healing. Another twenty percent have figured it out since. That is why, whenever the Republicans face a tough election and have run out of strategies, their final “nuclear option” is to convince the opponent to bring Obama to campaign for the Democrats. It worked for the GOP in 2010, in 2014, and just the other day in Georgia.
By contrast, for those who really “get” Trump, he is not a liar. He is a showman, a promoter, a kibbitzer, and a shrewd negotiator. He engages in what business law calls “puffery.” No one who voted for Trump takes his specific words literally; rather, Trump supporters take his core beliefs and end-goals seriously. By contrast, his haters in the Left Media consume themselves with counting “Pinocchios.” Meantime, Trump has fulfilled more campaign promises since almost any other American political figure in the past century or two, and his percentage of fulfilled promises is stratospheric.
So he pulled out of the Paris Climate nonsense, the disastrous and myopic Iran Deal, crushed ISIS in Raqqa, has been deregulating Obama rules to their point of disappearance, approved the Keystone XL pipeline, opened ANWR to oil exploration, moved our Israel embassy to Jerusalem, pulled us out of the blood-lusting UN “Human Rights Council,” stared down Western European leaders of NATO and actually told them to their faces that they have to start ponying up their Euros, Francs, Deutsche Marks, Pounds, Liras, and whatever other kind of play money they use (because we don’t let them print the faces of their queens and counts and kaisers on our real money). Our economy erupted. Unemployment hit record lows, propelling welfare and food stamp recipients to pay into the system with income taxes instead of draining it. The guy keeps his promises unbelievably, even if the Washington Post gives him more Pinocchios than Gepetto would have had if the tree-huggers and spotted-owl protectors had let him carve more wood.
But Trump has not yet fulfilled on immigration. When report cards come, he gets an “A” for “Effort” on Immigration and a “B-” for “Works Well with Others.” There is no pride in showing that “B- ” to Mom and Dad. He would have done himself much prouder and everyone else much better if instead he had worked a bit harder to earn an “F” in “Works Well with Others” on Immigration.
He — which also means “we” — will never get the Wall unless, like everything else these past two years, he basically just does it himself. We knew from Day One — and two years now have proven — that President Trump is a Constitutionalist and not the authoritarian dictator that the CNN/MSNBC crowd describe. When an Obama Judge strikes down a law, the President does not strike down the judge but pursues a hopeless appeal to the Ninth Circuit and begins the two-year wait for the Supreme Court ultimately to rule. When the House denies him, he negotiates. When it goes to the Senate, either he gets his 60 votes, or he tries a once-per-Congress budget reconciliation. If he is denied, he goes back to the drawing board. He plays by the rules.
With two years under his belt, the President has learned some lessons. He picked himself an Attorney-General who managed to get in the way of everything, to obstruct almost everything — all by getting lost. (An oxymoron!) He had a Republican House that never will pass immigration reform because they believe CNN polls more than their own voters, thus fear antagonizing people who never will vote for them anyway while driving their own actual supporters to stay home — as they now will, too. He does have a Senate majority, but he cannot get anything through the Senate (except for judicial and other nominations) without some 7 of 47 Democrats — in order to attain the 60-vote minimum — and he never ever will get any of them except for Doug Jones of Alabama during the three weeks before the 2020 elections.
He promised to change the broken immigration system and build a Wall for which Mexico would pay. CNN/MSNBC took him literally — that he will get Mexico literally to hand over pesos or nachos. By contrast, Trump’s supporters understood that there are more sophisticated ways for making Mexico pay — and Mexico will pay, just in a manner of asset-transfers that no one but the inside players realizes. Nevertheless, so far no Wall. He asked for $25 billion; he accepted less than $2 billion to start because he understandably perceived that, as urgent as the Wall is, Obama-Hillary-Kerry had left the United States military gravely underfunded and perilously inadequately supplied to confront any immediate danger. That military rebuild had to take priority. England and France had gone light on military defense after WWI, thrifty until a short brown-haired Austrian with half a moustache convinced Germany that he was a tall, blonde, racially Aryan German and grabbed almost all of Western Europe schnell. France got gulped like vichyssoise. England got bombed a ton because they also failed to build defenses to stop, say, a Luftwaffe. Therefore, Trump reversed the Obama-Hillary-Kerry decade that saw us snickering at “jayvee teams” that chop off heads, pushing red-plastic “reset” buttons, and bicycling through Paris with James Taylor on the handle bars playing guitar. So Trump accommodated, got the massive defense allocations, but no Wall.
With the 2018 midterms past, it now is time for Trump to shift into “Larry the Cable Guy” and just “Git-R-Done.”
Pelosi will not give it to him — and, in her defense, she cannot possibly do so. If she gives him that money, her Left flank will bail out on her, and she will not get elected House Speaker. She has to say no. And Schumer cannot seem weaker than Nancy for several reasons. First of all, even though Democrats talk the Identity Politics/Fluid Gender talk, we all know they do not believe one word of that stuff — otherwise, their two leading candidates for President would not be the two oldest White Men in politics, now that Strom Thurmond has passed away at age 101. Moreover, Democrats expect Schumer to swagger with at least as much macho as Nancy does. Third, Schumer just lost seats in the Senate in a year that all other Democrats had some gains. So Schumer can’t budge.
At this point, two years into his Presidency, there is no political downside to Trump shutting down the Government. Airport security will remain the same, and air traffic controllers will stay on duty. The Post Office will remain open, and letter carriers will keep delivering; indeed, the USPS is funded through a different mechanism. Social Security checks still will arrive as scheduled. The IRS will remain open. The prisons will remain open. (Another oxymoron!) ICE still will be at the border and raiding the homes of Illegals in Oakland. The military is funded, and our service men and women will be paid. Fully seventy percent of the Government will remain operating. That means — and this is dismaying — that you cannot shut down more than a fraction of the federal government even when you want to do it. Yes, federal employees will be sent home without paychecks, and CNN/MSNBC/WaPo/NYT will run stories about Scrooges and Grinches and Tiny Tim with no smartphone and Santa forced to sell reindeer on E-Bay. But meantime, as always happens with federal workers, they end up with the cushiest deal of all: sent home for the holidays, no work through Christmas and New Year’s, yet a complete recompensing salary check as soon as the stalemate ends, paying them every single unearned cent they otherwise properly would not have earned had they come to “work” as usual.
Sure, some federal agencies will close for a while. The Energy Department, for example. When was the last time you filled your car at an Energy Department office? The Education Department, for another. If you have kids in school, when was the last time you went to the Education Department for Parent-Teachers Night? Half those agencies should remain shut. Use their budgets and employees to build the Wall.
So, big deal! Close down the Government. People can reschedule their visits to national parks until the weather gets warmer. Go visit Beale Street in Memphis, Jackson Square in N’awlins, the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, Opryland, and Graceland, the bank that Jesse James held up in Russellville, Kentucky; a Quilt Museum in Paducah, or the Oscar Goetz Museum of Whiskey in Bardstown. Take a tour of the “Breaking Bad” sites in Albuquerque or a family-friendly casino (oxymoron!) in Las Vegas or the gorgeous red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, or a ranch in Laramie, Wyoming.
Close the Government and keep it closed demonstratively for a long time, until Congress budges and blinks on immigration after forty years of immigration anarchy. There is no political downside. First of all, it is two years until the next national elections. Even now we know that 35% will vote against Trump and the Republicans in 2020, no matter what — and 35% then will vote for him and them, no matter what. Another 15% will not vote in 2020 anyway, because they voted already in 1996. It all will come down, two years from now, to the 15% whose hearts and minds must be won by everyone from the Ballot Harvesters to the Bloomberg-Steyer Money Machines — and those 15% have a spotless record, dating back at least a century, consistently manifesting a memory that maxes out at 60 days. That is why most campaign advertising begins after Labor Day — because the people who decide our country’s course in November have to try to remember the day in September. Even now, you say “Christine Ford,” and they now think it is the name of a new truck. You say “Omarosa,” and they think that is where Ben Cartwright, Little Joe, and Hoss were ranchers. You say “Billy Bush and the tapes in the trailer,” and they think that is the former President who just got buried because of Watergate. You talk to them about “the Wall,” and they think Pink Floyd. You talk to them about the “Caravan,” and they think of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” or the Three Wise Men (not to be confused with Biden, Bernie, and Beto). Al Franken and Jill Stein? A monstrous portmanteau. This is the perfect time to shut down the Government — all the more so if there is a reason.
So shut the cockamamie thing down. For a week. For three months. For a year. Democrats will cave; they cannot breathe without Ubiquitous Government. And voters in 2020 will reward the President who stared down Pelosi and Schumer, and said, “We have to have a wall.… I will take the mantle of shutting it down.… I am proud to shut down the Government over border security.” They will re-elect that guy so that he can face four more years of Mueller, impeachment, and Jim Acosta while proving his mettle, his strength, and leaving the rest of NATO, along with Putin and the North Korean Doughboy, gazing in awe that this guy means business when he means business.
Michael Vadon/Creative Commons