The strategery of the post-shutdown

Really liked this post from John Cassidy which nicely lays out the strategic advantages for Democrats from the shut-down agreement:

Progressives worry that Schumer and his colleagues will capitulate again in February, which could happen. But a number of things will be different then. For one thing, they will already have assured six years of funding for chip, the public health-insurance program that serves six million children…

The second difference is that, by mid-February, the deadline for reaching an agreement on the Dreamers will be almost upon us. Over the weekend, Democrats were vulnerable to the argument, made by McConnell and others, that they had shut down the government over an issue that doesn’t have to be resolved immediately. In three weeks, Republicans won’t be able to say this.

Thirdly, by February 8th, the “Common Sense Coalition,” a group of twenty-five moderates led by Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, which helped resolve the weekend standoff, might well have put forward an actual bill to protect the Dreamers and give Donald Trump the funding he wants to build his non-wall along the border with Mexico. If that bill passes, as seems likely, the White House will be under pressure to declare victory and call on the House Republicans to fall in line…

As the Huffington Post’s Matt Fuller pointed out, “The Democratic position of not voting for a government funding bill until there’s a daca deal seems much more reasonable if there’s actual legislation that’s passed the Senate and is being ignored in the House. You’d be certain to hear the words, ‘Give us a vote, Mr. Speaker!’ ” …

Another key point is that the potential roadblocks to a deal would still be there if the Democrats had again rejected McConnell’s offer. They might be even larger. With the government closed, Trump and the Republicans would be pounding the Democrats, claiming that they were holding hostage two million federal employees. None of the critics of Monday’s deal has explained how the Democrats would have been able to change this dynamic as the shutdown went on and large elements of the public got more disgusted about it. It seems fanciful to suppose that Trump, whose entire outlook on life is circumscribed by his obsession over whether he is “winning” or “losing,” would have capitulated and given the Democrats a better deal than the one McConnell offered.

By agreeing to reopen the government, the Democrats didn’t insure the Dreamers will be protected: the critics are right about that. But they didn’t give the house away, either

Exactly.  Good points all.

Meanwhile, Michelle Goldberg reminds me why I was not a fan before she moved to the NYT:

It’s hard to overstate how disgusted many progressive leaders are. “It’s Senator Schumer’s job as minority leader to keep his caucus together and stand up for progressive values and he failed to do it,” Ezra Levin, a co-founder of Indivisible, a left-wing advocacy group modeled on the Tea Party, [emphasis mine] told me. “He led them off a cliff. They caved.” (An Indivisible chapter is planning a Tuesday evening protest outside Schumer’s Brooklyn apartment.)

Right– because we need liberals emulating the Tea Party.  Ugh.  If Goldberg had not noticed, the Tea Party was busy undermining a number of Senate seats Republicans should have won with quixotic quests of ideological purity and insistence that a party lacking the presidency somehow accomplish all it’s policy goals.

And Paul Waldman makes the case that this is really all on Paul Ryan now:

But whatever the Senate passes would then have to pass the House. The trouble there isn’t getting the votes, because a bill that was acceptable to the Senate would likely be able to pass the House without much of a problem. Presuming all or nearly all House Democrats vote for it, it would only need two dozen of the 238 Republican members to join in. The question is whether Ryan would allow a vote on a bill. If he does not, the dreamers would lose their work permits and likely be driven underground. Some could be deported — ripped away from their families and the country they grew up in, to be sent back to places they barely know. It is no exaggeration to say their lives are in Ryan’s hands.

And what do we know about what he’ll do? Like most Republicans, when questioned about dreamers, Ryan says the right things. Last January, Ryan had a powerful exchange with a dreamer mom, during which he hailed her contribution to her community and said he and Trump want to act to allow people like her to “get right with the law.” More recently, in September, he said that dreamers should “rest easy,” because the Republican-controlled Congress would make sure they get to stay. In December, he again said he wanted to “make sure that we don’t pull the rug out from under people.”

But if Ryan is going to be true to those sentiments, he might have to break another promise — one he made to the hard-right Freedom Caucus…

What it ultimately comes down to is these questions: How deep is Ryan’s cruelty? Will he condemn hundreds of thousands of dreamers to possible deportation because he’s afraid of the ultra-right members of his caucus? Or will he do what he himself says is the right thing? [emphasis mine]

We all know that once the threat of the government shutdown has passed, there won’t be any immigration compromise. The conflicts within the Republican Party are just too deep. So it’s now or never, and the fact that dreamers are going to have to rely on Paul Ryan’s humanity makes it hard to be optimistic.

And, in a similar vein, Yglesias make it crystal clear.  If you want to blame somebody for the Dreamer’s status, blame Republicans, damnit!

[And, if you are too young for GWB, and wondering about the title of this post.  I’ve always loved “strategery” and enjoyed using it ever since (9’25” in at the link)].

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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