Tuesday Commentary: Jell-O 1, Schumer 0

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) told reporters that negotiating with President Donald Trump and the White House leading up to the government shutdown “is like negotiating with Jell-O.”

It looks like Jell-O won.

Sure there’s plenty of blame to go around and if past shutdowns are any indication, the Republicans don’t do well in the shutdown game in the polls. In a poll here at The Western Word, Trump was blamed for the shutdown by 75% of those responding. Just 16% blamed Schumer and 9% blamed others.

Part of the blame has to start with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), who in my opinion is a poor excuse for a leader. McConnell knew he needed 60 votes in the Senate to pass the funding bill, and that would mean he would need Democrat support. He failed to get it.

I can’t soon forget that we had the White House switchboard spewing out the following partisan message to greet callers:

Thank you for calling the White House. Unfortunately, we cannot answer your call today, because Congressional Democrats are holding government funding, including funding for our troops and other national security priorities, hostage to an unrelated immigration debate. Due to this obstruction, the government is shut down. In the meantime, you can leave a comment for the president at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact. We look forward to taking your calls as soon as the government reopens. 

First of all, the White House is paid for by taxpayer funds just like official offices for senators and representatives both in Washington and in their own states. They should not be used for partisan campaign-style work or messages. When you use taxpayer-funded resources (offices, phones, emails) to attack the other party, then that, in my opinion, is campaigning. It should be illegal. It should be an ethics violation.

If there were fewer references of political parties in floor speeches, press releases, and even on phone messages, Washington might operate a little better – be a little kinder.

The icing on the cake was the Trump on-line campaign ad about border security titled “Complicit” that tells viewers “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

That’s pretty cheap, but it is red meat for the far-right wackos who support Trump.

So we have a deal through February 8. That allows us to get past the Super Bowl and the State of the Union.

It’s a hell of a way to do business. I think the Senate, the House, and the White House are being derelict in the duties by continuing to pass short-term continuing resolutions (CR). Here’s an idea: How about passing a long-term funding bill that funds the whole government for the whole fiscal year? That is the way it is supposed to happen.

I doubt we see any civility between now and February 8, but what we’ll see is the “blame game” continue. That’s not good for the United States.