Here are my observations on the news of the day.
BRIEFLY, HERE’S HOW I SEE the lead-up to the government shutdown. On January 9, 2018, President Trump held an unprecedented hour-long televised meeting, in which members of both parties offered a wide-range of opinions focused on immigration – Border security, DACA, the visa lottery and chain-migration.
Two days later Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), I believe, saw an opening in the president’s suggestion – “send me a bill I can sign” – and his statement that he “would take the heat.” They mistakenly misread the president, and thought they could get him to sign on to their warmed-over DACA proposal (See Flashback, below). What they didn’t expect was that a wary president asked other senators to sit in on the discussion, including the knowledgeable Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). It didn’t take long for Graham and Durbin to get to microphones to put down the president.
FLASHBACK: In the November 29, 2017 Washington Post, Senator Durbin, the lead Democrat on spending matters, said he is “encouraging his colleagues to join him in blocking spending legislation if the legal status of “dreamers” (DACA) isn’t resolved.”
The Hill reported that Durbin and Graham were interested in not only legal status but a path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants
ON FRIDAY, after a week-long effort of talking with members of both parties about passing the continuing resolution by the Friday deadline, the president agreed to meet with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), presumably to secure the Democrat’s support for the CR passage. Instead, Schumer arrived with a long liberal wish-list of demands, and had no desire to support the CR.
While a handful of Democrats who are up for re-election this year supported the CR, Schumer kept most of his party in line with his insistence that a DACA solution be part of the CR. A vote for the CR lost late Friday night and the government shutdown became effective at midnight.
So now we have the “Schumer Shutdown,” just because the Democrats didn’t get DACA added to the CR. Never mind that there is no DACA legislation at this point and that the DACA deadline doesn’t arise until March 5, 2018.
Here’s my take in a nutshell. Clearly, Democrats did not want the president to have a “win” on the anniversary of his inauguration.
“The leftist Democratic base has a white-hot hatred for President Trump.” – Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-LA)
I hope the Republicans don’t go weak-kneed and cave to Dem demands.
YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP – While being interviewed on Saturday morning, Senator Durbin was in the process of bad-mouthing the Republican majority when he had the nerve to reference the good old days under Sen. Harry Reid. Hmmmm. I recall that Reid left some 350 Republican House-passed bills languishing on his desk.
GOP SUPPORTS A DACA FIX, broadly speaking, but that doesn’t mean they have to support it without conditions, and it certainly doesn’t mean they have to attach it to the spending bill, wrote David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist. “While Democrats are imbued with plenty of power (and chutzpah) in the minority, they don’t get to dictate the contours of every debate,” says Harsanyi.
TOP REPUBLICAN WOMEN SHUNNED – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, recorded a video to be played during the Women’s March in Spokane, because voting requirements in Washington DC did not permit her to attend in person. After sending the video, the march organizers told the Congresswoman’s office they had a policy that a video wouldn’t work. It is interesting to note that Democrat Lisa Brown, who is challenging Rodgers in Eastern Washington, was a speaker.
USA TODAY, and a number of local newspapers recently published an op-ed that I find astonishing. “By every measure of personal and national prosperity, the nation is better off than it was one year ago,” writes Christopher Buskirk, the editor and publisher of American Greatness, “The Trump administration has overseen a renewed respect for citizenship. Gone is the lofty sounding rhetoric of globalism that led to unwinnable foreign wars and open borders. Back is what we can do together as Americans.”
Buskirk reviewed the president’s first year accomplishments while reminding readers that they would hardly know of his accomplishments by the slim media coverage.
MORE KUDOS FOR TRUMP – “President Trump’s critics find it hard to give him credit for anything, especially given his extraordinary boastfulness,” writes Joe Kotkin in “Can the Trump Economy Trump Trump?”
“(His) economic policies seem to be working. New jobs numbers are robust, GDP and wages continue to rise, stocks are soaring, unemployment continues to decline, and overall growth is at its highest in 13 years. (And) small business optimism has reached its highest level in the 45-year history of the survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.
PREDOMINANTLY DEMOCRAT STATES – Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island – all guilty of constraining supplies of natural gas, saw their cold weather energy prices increase 20 to 30 percent; 400 percent in some parts of New England. All because of local opposition to above ground natural gas pipelines and the benefits of the gas production growth in the Marcellus shale formation in nearby Pennsylvania.
“The 50,000 miles of U.S. pipelines built during the past decade largely skipped New England, leaving the region with the highest electricity prices in the United States,” reported William Murray in his piece, ”New Englanders Have Only Themselves to Blame for Energy Price Spikes.”
KEYSTONE PIPELINE PROGRESS – TransCanada Corp. announced that it has received enough commitments from oil shippers for its Keystone XL pipeline expansion and that work on the project could begin next year.
WELL, WELL, WELL – A new study by a team of climatologists all but rules out the worst-case doomsday UN climate change scenarios, significantly narrowing the range of possible temperature increases, while eliminating the low-end predictions, according to Jack Barrett in his report, “New Study Just Threw Cold Water on Worst-Case Global Warming Scenarios.”
While the UN’s worst-case prediction of an increase of 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, the new study’s best estimate is that global temperatures will only change by 2.8 degrees Celsius.