It’s time to Break It Down!
So yesterday, the 45th President of the United States did what he does best. He tweeted. In a gesture designed both to presage a failed meeting, and to set up Democrats Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi as the foils for said failed meeting, #45 tweeted:
“Meeting with “Chuck and Nancy” today about keeping government open and working. Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don’t see a deal!”
9:17 AM – Nov 28, 2017
32,427 Replies 17,266 Retweets 68,491 Likes
Schumer and Pelosi got the message loud and clear. Left with a decision of whether to attend an “Apprentice” inspired show meeting that Trump had already advertised would not result in a deal, they opted out. They issued the following statement:
“Rather than going to the White House for a show meeting that won’t result in an agreement, we have asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to meet later today.
We don’t have any time to waste in addressing the issues that confront us, so we’re going to continue to negotiate with Republican leaders who may be interested in reaching a bipartisan agreement. If the President, who already said earlier this year that ‘our country needs a good shutdown,’ isn’t interested in addressing the difficult year-end agenda, we’ll work with those Republicans who are, as we did in April.”
After making the statement, Pelosi issued a tweet of her own, echoing the message framed and conveyed in her joint statement with Schumer. She tweeted:
“We look forward to continuing to work in good faith, as we have been for the last month, with our Republican colleagues in Congress to do just that.”
11:37 AM – Nov 28, 2017
159 Replies 459 Retweets 2,270 Likes
By this time, as you might imagine, it was on! White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the Democratic leaders’ decision “disappointing.” She noted the president’s invitation was still open, and suggested the Dems get over themselves, or as she put it, “their pettiness,” stop their political grandstanding, and show up for work. For emphasis, she noted, “These issues are too important.”
In their GOP joint dueling counter-statement, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan slammed the Dems. They accused Schumer and Pelosi of “putting government operations, particularly resources for our men and women on the battlefield, at great risk by pulling these antics.” They went on to add:
“We have important work to do, and Democratic leaders have continually found new excuses not to meet with the administration to discuss these issues. There is a meeting at the White House this afternoon, and if Democrats want to reach an agreement, they will be there.”
The backdrop for this high drama and political thrusting and parrying is Congress is staring head-on at a December 8th deadline to pass legislation that will avert a government shutdown, as well as settling numerous other pieces of unfinished business. The administration and the GOP hoped the White House meeting might lay a foundation to keep the government running and set a path for a year-end spending package to give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies relief from a pending budget freeze, which is set to occur unless a deal is brokered.
With all that on the line, it’s no surprise the Republicans took every opportunity to pile on in an effort to frame the narrative as one in which, if for some reason there is a government shutdown, it is the Dems who are responsible. Given that virtually all of the shutdowns in recent memory have been organized and executed courtesy of the GOP (non of which have been popular with We The People), the GOP wants to get ahead of the story…just in case.
In that light, it isn’t surprising that Senator McConnell went for the jugular, plunging a rhetorical shiv straight into the heart of the Democrats’ tactics. To wit, the Senior Senator from the Bluegrass State doubled-down on the hype, asserting that he would never have skipped a meeting with the President when Barack Obama was in office. In his most haughty Old Kentucky drawl, he said:
“I never refused to go to a meeting that President Obama called, a bipartisan meeting. It never occurred to me that I could just say to President Obama ‘I’m not showing up.’ That strikes me as a lack of seriousness about the matter before us, which is the funding of the federal government of the United States for the rest of this fiscal year.”
There’s only one problem. He did exactly that! Not only did the notion occur to the venerable Senator, he acted on, and fully executed the stratagem. In November 2010, President Obama organized a bipartisan dinner. McConnell opted out, and instead spent the evening with the Federalist Society. His ideological co-pilot at the time, then Speaker of the House John Boehner, also skipped the dinner.
What was the topic of this meeting, that McConnell, like so many other Republicans in the Trump era (Think General Michael Flynn, Donald Trump, Jr., Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, Jared Kushner, and of course, Donald J. Trump) contracted amnesia?
The extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.
Isn’t that ironic? Republicans skipped a meeting on taxes. To put it in words Senator McConnell would almost certainly understand, “That strikes me as a lack of seriousness about the matters before us.”
Let’s not forget, it was during that same time frame that McConnell proffered the notion that the single most important thing the Republican Party wanted to achieve was to make Barack Obama a one-term President. That didn’t work out so well. Nevertheless, Donald Trump is President now. Naturally this brouhaha would not be complete without a Trump flourish at the end. Speaking about Schumer and Pelosi, the Presidential benediction on the matter went like this:
“They decided not to show up. They’ve been all talk. They’ve been no action. And now it’s even worse. Now, it’s not even talk.”
Yeah, OK, whateva. Since the dawn of the Trump era, the Grand Old Party has become a haven for alternative facts, characterizing news as fake, and dispensing daily “liberal” (pun intended) doses of the theater of the absurd. That the Senate Majority leader would go out like that is, well, just another day, like so many that preceded it, a.k.a. SOSDD. Yes, “He Said He Would Never…But He Did!”
I’m done; holla back!
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