The Democrats, or rather party of resistance, are becoming desperate.
After lamenting Republicans for shutting down the government in 2014, they are now contemplating the same scorched-earth strategy they once scorned: Threatening a government shutdown in upcoming debt ceiling negotiations.
“That’s our ultimate card — is to threaten to shut down the government when we get to the end of the funding, that’s coming up fairly soon, the end of the continuing resolution,” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons explained in a local radio interview last week. “That’s really the only card we’ve got.”
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer formally warned the GOP in a letter that if President Trump’s southern border wall was funded in an upcoming spending package, along with other “poison pills” such as defunding Planned Parenthood, the Democrats may turn the lights off in the nation’s capital.
“If Republicans insist on inserting poison pill riders such as defunding Planned Parenthood, building a border wall, or starting a deportation force, they will be shutting down the government and delivering a severe blow to our economy,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement.
It’s an ironic turn for Democrats, who — along with the mainstream media — went into hysterics over Republicans using the same tactic a few years ago in an effort to defund Obamacare.
Back then, Mr. Coons called the threat of a government shutdown “reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible,” likening it to “hostage taking” and not governing.
Then-President Obama called the move “game-playing.”
“I recognize that in today’s media age, being controversial, taking controversial positions, rallying the most extreme parts of your base, whether it’s left or right, is a lot of times the fastest way to get attention and raise money,” Mr. Obama explained of the maneuver. “But it’s not good for government.”
Mr. Obama added: “You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job.”
Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who was the Senate majority leader at the time, compared the GOP threatening a shutdown to bullying, and used it as an excuse not to negotiate with them.
“You know with a bully you cannot let them slap you around, because they slap you around today, they slap you five or six times tomorrow,” Mr. Reid explained at the time. “We are not going to be bullied.”
Democrats — and the media — predicted doomsday scenarios if the government were to be shut down.
A federal shutdown would “wreak havoc on world finances” the editorial board at the Sacramento Bee wrote. “Unless they [GOP] budge, they will go down in history as hostage takers willing to tank the economy if their demands are not met.”
A government shutdown would cost taxpayers billions, there would be lost worker productivity, student loans wouldn’t be dispersed, the housing market would fail, and the economic growth rate would be lowered. Not to mention national security would be put at risk, the U.S. would look weak in front of its allies, environmental protections would not be enforced and national parks closed.
The Washington Post in 2013 called a shutdown a “dereliction of duty.”
“Republican Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, caving to a few dozen backbenchers who would rather blow things up than govern, has insisted that any such bill contain Obamacare poison pills that neither the Senate nor President Obama will accept,” the Post editorial board wrote.
A shutdown, the board wrote, represents: “such recklessly, breathtakingly, wastefully irresponsible derelictions of leadership that the people who run this town ought to be ashamed of themselves if either comes to pass.”
Paul Krugman of the New York Times wrote Republicans threatening a shutdown have shown themselves to be “unable to participate in even the most basic processes of governing.”
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I wonder what those editorial boards and columnists will write about Mr. Schumer and the Democratic Party.
I bet a maneuver that was once called “unpatriotic” will now be considered the ultimate act of showing love for ones country.