Wednesday, January 16, 2019

With shutdown Trump shoots America. Russia celebrates.

Read on to find out which part of the title is fact and which is fiction.

Trump accepted shutdown mantle. Voters agree.

There are two take-aways from the bloomberg.com report Trump Took Responsibility for the Shutdown, and Voters Say It’s His.

Polls: Half of Americans fault him, one-third blame Democrats
In past shutdowns, a president’s opponent blamed by public

How’s that for doing things differently.

President Donald Trump said a month ago that he’d gladly take the blame for a government shutdown over his proposed border wall. Polls show he’s getting it.

(In that iconic meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, Trump promised not to blame Democrats. Guess what - he lied.)

Trump didn’t help himself by embracing the responsibility for the looming shutdown on Dec. 11 during an acrimonious Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders. “I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” he said. “I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”

Congressional Republicans were stunned. “‘I own it’? Really?” former Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, who lost his seat in the November midterm elections, said the following day. "Do you really want to own this? Don’t you want to put it on their lap? Really!?”

Republicans fail History 101

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” said the philosopher George Santayana. The bloomberg.com report provides the evidence that Republicans are repeating the past.

In October 2013, a government shutdown occurred after the Republican-led House refused to include funding for Obamacare in spending legislation; they relented in 16 days. A CNN poll that month showed that 52 percent blamed Republicans in Congress, while 34 percent blamed President Barack Obama.

In November 1995, the first of two shutdowns occurred after the Newt Gingrich-led Republicans demanded steep domestic spending cuts opposed by President Bill Clinton. A CNN survey found that 49 percent blamed Republican leaders, while 26 percent blamed Clinton.

Now, reports bloomberg, “Six surveys taken since the partial government closure began last month tell a consistent story – half or more Americans believe Trump and his party are responsible for the shutdown, while one-third or fewer point the finger at Democrats.”

Trump shoots America in the foot

Snopes.com rated this one as true. “On 23 January 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump caused controversy when he stated the following during a campaign rally in Iowa: I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Now he’s holed up in the White House waiting for some one, any one, to do something about his self-inflicted looming economic contraction. Not just a slow-down. A real reversal in economic growth. He’s sitting in the White House shooting America and claiming that he will not lose voters.

Shutdown’s Economic Damage Starts to Pile Up, Threatening an End to Growth reports the New York Times.

The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the United States economy than previously estimated, the White House acknowledged on Tuesday, as President Trump’s economists doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week the standoff with Democrats continues.

The revised estimates from the Council of Economic Advisers show that the shutdown, now in its fourth week, is beginning to have real economic consequences. The analysis, and other projections from outside the White House, suggests that the shutdown has already weighed significantly on growth and could ultimately push the United States economy into a contraction.

To blunt the shutdown’s effects, the administration on Tuesday called tens of thousands of employees back to work, without pay, to process tax returns, ensure flight safety and inspect food and drugs. But some people involved in the shutdown discussions in the White House have privately said they anticipate that Mr. Trump will grow anxious about the economic impact in the coming days, accelerating an end to the stalemate. Others close to the president believe Mr. Trump has leverage and are encouraging him to stand by his demands.

Is that intransigence working?

Mr. Trump has demanded that Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, include $5.7 billion for a border wall in any measure to fund the government. Democrats have refused and, along with some Republicans, have tried to persuade the president to reopen the government and negotiate border security afterward. The House has passed several bills to fund parts of the government, including the Internal Revenue Service, that are not related to border security. Senate Republicans have declined to schedule votes on those bills.

On Tuesday, in an effort to try to splinter the Democrats’ opposition, the White House invited several House Democrats from districts Mr. Trump won to discuss a path forward. None showed up.

In the meantime, federal workers are taking a big hit and the misery is likely to spread to the general populace. See my post from yesterday for a summary of the damage Trump is doing. So far, congressional Republicans are just fine with that.

Would you believe that Mitch McConnell was heard to say “What, me worry?”

Our man from Moscow in the White House

Scriber has a nagging feeling that the shutdown is just the latest item on Putin’s wish list that Trump is checking off. There is evidence.

Rachel Maddow reported that Alarm rises as Trump behavior aligns with Putin’s fondest wishes.

Rachel Maddow looks at mounting evidence of Donald Trump policy inclinations lining up with the wildest anti-American, anti-Western dreams of Vladimir Putin as Donald Trump reportedly tries to obscure his personal interactions with Putin.

If you got this far, you will know that none of this is fiction.

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