- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 21, 2018

Some wonder if there’s more going on with the government shutdown than a shrill blame game and righteous posturing among Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The shutdown reveals some specific opinions among Americans which may not bode well for Democrats. The shutdown also might be a dress rehearsal for the midterm elections.

A new CNN poll reveals that 56 percent of Americans overall said that approving a budget agreement to avoid a shutdown was more important than continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Only 34 percent of the respondents chose DACA over a shutdown. The respondents also said that funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program as more important than DACA. The network said these sentiment were among the reasons why Democrats may be “making the wrong bet” on their shutdown strategy. It’s complicated too — compounded by such events as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s decision to treat a select group of fellow Democrats to a fancy celebratory dinner at a Capitol Hill restaurant over the weekend while Americans fretted that the U.S. military would not be paid during the shutdown itself. Unfortunate optics.

But there’s more going on here than meets the eye, some say.

“Government shutdowns are now normal and ‘compromise’ means traitor,” writes Stan Collender, a USA Today opinion contributor. “A government shutdown is now an opportunity for many elected officials to demonstrate they are willing to go the mat to deliver what they promised their own voters, no matter how unpopular it might be with the rest of the country and regardless of whether it will actually accomplish anything. A government shutdown has become the legislative equivalent of a re-election campaign rally with wildly enthusiastic crowds of supporters cheering every word.”

Mr. Collender is a former aide to the House and Senate budget committees and an adjunct public policy professor at Georgetown University. The shutdown, meanwhile, is a tricky business for the press.

“Media outlets struggle to assign blame for shutdown. Both Republicans and Democrats claim the coverage is skewed against them,” writes Politico analyst Jason Schwartz. “Usually, when the government shuts down, a clear media narrative quickly takes hold: one party is driving the action, and therefore is held responsible. But like so much else in the Trump era, this current shutdown is unprecedented. No single storyline has emerged, causing Democrats and Republicans to scramble for advantage and members of both sides to cry foul over coverage.”

A SURPRISING MOMENT ON CNN

How long can networks go on Trump bashing and ignoring promising economic news? Good question.

“One of the things that I’m most excited to talk to voters about is that you are starting to see that uneasiness about the economy dissipate. Remember even in 2016 when we went out to the swing states and talked to voters, there was still this fear that things were suddenly going to turn down again. You don’t feel that as much anymore,” CNN’s national political reporter Maeve Reston told her network on Sunday. “I’m so interested to see how the Russia investigation effects things because so far out in these districts when you talk to people about Russia — and that’s all we talk about at CNN basically — they say they don’t care. It doesn’t have any effect on their lives.”

BUBBLING BUSINESS NEWS KEEPS PERCOLATING

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, over 200 companies have announced wage and salary increases, bonuses, or 401(k) matching funds increases according to Americans for Tax Reform. Their lengthy roster — found at ATR.org/list — includes a variety of business concerns, such as Sinclair Broadcasting — which gave $1,000 bonuses to over 9,000 employees.

“The growing list of incredibly good news will likely continue to be ignored or dismissed by establishment media outlets,” the tax group predicts — despite the fact that small businesses are part of the new wave of optimism.

James Auto & Towing of Riverview, Florida, is adding two new full-time jobs and two-trucks to its 24-hour wrecker service; owner Guy Jones said the move “will help two more families,” and personally credits President Trump for enabling it. Five Senses salon and barbershop in Peoria, Illinois, gave $500 bonuses to 20 employees while Michigan-based WebHobbyShop, gave all three employees a pay raise.

“I am sure it seems like ‘crumbs’ to elitists but I was able to give them a $2 per hour raise because of the tax reform. It was great to do and my staff is very pleased,” says Bruce Zak, principal of the hobby shop.

MONDAY HAS A NEW DESIGNATION

President Trump has proclaimed Monday to be “National Sanctity of Human Life Day.” It is a thoughtful proclamation.

“Reverence for every human life, one of the values for which our Founding Fathers fought, defines the character of our nation. Today, it moves us to promote the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children. It animates our concern for single moms; the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled; and orphan and foster children. It compels us to address the opioid epidemic and to bring aid to those who struggle with mental illness. It gives us the courage to stand up for the weak and the powerless. And it dispels the notion that our worth depends on the extent to which we are planned for or wanted,” says Mr. Trump.

“I call on all Americans to reflect on the value of our lives; to respond to others in keeping with their inherent dignity; to act compassionately to those with disabilities, infirmities, or frailties; to look beyond external factors that might separate us; and to embrace the common humanity that unites us.”

‘SIDES WITHIN SIDES’

“Washington, D.C., is a city of hate. When you visit, it appears no one can stand each other. The two political sides are at each other’s throats so constantly it’s hard to imagine they sleep. Maybe they don’t. And then there are the sides within the sides, always ready for more gnashing of teeth, mutual hostility, and endless contempt,” writes Roger L. Simon, founder of PJ Media.

POLL DU JOUR

• 6 percent of Americans keep spare change in a designated jar or glass, 10 percent in a piggy bank.

• 10 percent tuck change in their wallet; 9 percent in a coin purse.

• 7 percent don’t keep spare change; 4 percent put it in a coin counter.

• 4 percent leave it “somewhere in my car”; 3 percent put change in a box, 3 percent keep it “loose in a drawer.”

• 2 percent keep change “in a pile” and 2 percent stow it in a plastic bag.

Source: A YouGov Omnibus poll of 4,685 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 9

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