1/18/2018—Remember when Republicans irresponsibly threatened to shut down the government? Remember when President Obama insisted he wanted a “clean” bill providing funding to keep the government functioning? You might as well remember that Democrats used to be in favor of lowering the corporate tax rate. Democrats are not only hypocrites—we are hypocrites with amnesia. That means that we would take inconsistent positions, but we have forgotten that we are even changing policies.
Right now, the Democrats are threatening a government shutdown if a dreamer provision is not included in the funding resolution. This is the same irresponsible conduct the Republicans routinely engaged in under President Obama.
For the record, keeping the government operating is not a policy option, it is the basic responsibility of Congress. Blackmail, which is what a threat to shut down the government is, is not a tactic that responsible leaders use. It does not matter what the issue is or how important it is.
The Democrats hope to retake the majority in Congress and the White House in 2018 and 2020. Then they will face the same Republican tactic of shutting down the government and threatened default on government bonds. Republicans don’t mind doing these things, since some Republicans in Congress think government is fundamentally a bad thing anyway. Democrats are supposed to want government to work for people.
The Democrats have missed their opportunity to end all of these bizarre charades. They could have insisted on a new legislative framework in which debt extensions and spending continuation are automatic unless Congress passes new legislation. Then, the Republicans could not use these same tactics later.
Basically, it is time to get back to the basic tasks of governing. It is time to let the American people, not just your vocal base, decide things. Granted, the Democrats have no leverage. The Republicans can pass bad legislation. They can refuse to pass good legislation. Needed legislation. That has nothing to do with shutting down government operations. The Democrats need to remind the people that electing Republicans has bad consequences and then retake Congress. America needs the Democrats to be the Party that actually governs. Not the mirror image of the Republican Party.