Trump Pulls The Rug Out From Under Congress On Spending Bill

Hours before the House was set to vote on a temporary funding bill for the government, President Trump has apparently changed his mind.

In a seeming about-face, the President now apparently opposes the short-term spending bill passed by the Senate last night and is demanding funding for his border wall:

President Trump will not commit to signing legislation that would avoid a partial government shutdown on Saturday, his press secretary said, further roiling a chaotic debate that is splintering the Republican Party.

“At this moment, the President does not want to go further without border security, which includes steel slats or a wall. The President is continuing to weigh his options,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday in a statement.

The tumultuous turn of events has seen Trump reverse himself numerous times in recent days on the issue, first demanding $5 billion from Congress for a wall along the Mexico border, then declaring the military would pay for it, only to insist that the money come from Democrats next year.

As talks appeared to break down Thursday, senior Republicans in Congress even appeared unsure of what Trump actually wanted before he would sign legislation. The breakdown has prompted a hastily arranged meeting between Trump and House Republicans at noon Thursday.

The Senate unanimously passed a spending bill Wednesday night that would fund many federal agencies through February 8, following days of acrimony after Democrats refused to advance any new funding for a wall along the Mexico border.

House Republican leaders had hoped to advance an identical measure on Thursday morning, but they were met with an insurrection from some of their most conservative members and a blizzard of negative coverage from right-wing media outlets. That led Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to cancel a press conference and head to the White House for a meeting with Trump over how to proceed.

Last week, Trump told Democrats he would be “proud” to shut down the government if they refused to give him $5 billion for the construction of a wall along the Mexico border. Democrats held firm and prevented such a bill from advancing in Congress, leading GOP leaders to backtrack and instead pursue a short-term spending bill that would avoid a shutdown and delay further debate until February.

Trump appeared to signal he was on board with backing down, writing in a series of Twitter posts Thursday morning that he would continue to press Democrats for wall funding next year and also claiming that he had taken other steps to make the border “tight.”

A number of federal agencies, including those that govern homeland security, law enforcement, transportation, and the Treasury Department, are set to run out of money after midnight Friday.

“I think the next few days could get complicated real fast,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.).

If Congress doesn’t appropriate new money by Friday night, much of the operations at these agencies would halt, and thousands of federal workers and contractors around the country would be sent home without pay.

The first sign that things weren’t going to go smoothly today came from the President’s Twitter feed, where he seemed to be responding to criticism of the short-term spending bill from Fox News Channel and elsewhere:

As I said this morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would not have gone forward with last night’s vote if he didn’t have at least some assurance that the President would sign off on it once it got to his desk. Indeed, based on statements from the White House last night and early this morning it seemed as though the President had backed away from his insistence on border wall funding in the Continuing Resolution notwithstanding the position he had taken last week when he said that he would let the government shut down if he didn’t get the funding he wanted. That all seemed to change, though within a matter of hours this morning as House Republicans met to discuss the spending bill and how they would proceed today. According to multiple reports, there are large numbers of members, principally from the House Freedom Caucus, who are insisting on a vote on a spending bill that includes border wall funding notwithstanding what happened in the Senate and the fact that such a bill would most likely not pass the Senate if it were asked to vote on such a measure. After that, the meeting was disrupted as Speaker Paul Ryan took a phone call from the President that appeared to signal that he had changed his mind on the border wall issue and that he could not guarantee that he would sign whatever the House passed later today.

All of this throws a monkey wrench into what seemed like it was going to be an easy procedure today. As the day dawned, it seemed as though the House would take the spending bill up, pass it with at least some Democratic support, and move the matter to the President who would sign off on the bill. Now it seems as if nobody knows what will happen. As I write this post, the President is meeting with House Republican leaders and members of the Freedom Caucus at the White House, but it seems as though these talks are rather pointless. Democrats are making clear that they will not support a spending bill that includes border wall funding, and without their support in the Senate, there’s no way the bill can be passed at this late hour. In that case, we’ll head into tomorrow with no spending bill and less than twenty-four hours to go before a government shutdown heading into a holiday weekend.

Update @ 1:25 p.m.: The meeting at the White House just concluded and the path forward isn’t any clearer:

More to come, I’m sure.

Update # 2 @ 8:00 p.m.: The House has passed the Senate CR with an amendment that adds $5 billion for the border wall and additional funds for unspecified “disaster relief”:

As Raju notes, there is no chance this bill will pass the Senate.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Borders and Immigration, Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Jello doesn’t just refer to his gut.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    This is what I meant when I said that no one in Congress can ever depend on what Trump says. He has no plan other than to “win” the next hours media cycle.

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  3. Mu says:

    Never thought that Ann Coulter had that much power over him. The “gutless president” must have really hurt him, unless it was the cancellation of her dinner reservation at the Trump steak house.

  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    He will fold. He always fold. Individual-1 is the worlds worst negotiator, and the worlds biggest pussy.
    Fox and Friends made fun of him this morning so he is throwing a hissy fit. But the adults will win out.

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  5. reid says:

    I’m sure this is far from a first, but didn’t he blatantly contradict himself in those twits? “We need a wall!” “Border is tight!” Okay….

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  6. Mister Bluster says:

    Reminds me of the Message Sign on the Walnut St. Baptist Church here in Sleepytown during the Iran-Contra scandal some 30+ years ago.

    No Christmas in Washington This Year
    Couldn’t Find Three Wise Men

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  7. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    He will fold. He always fold.

    Still banking on him just falling on his face, huh?

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Pearce:

    Still banking on him just falling on his face, huh?

    He has been falling on his face for two years.
    Have you seen the debt?
    Have you seen the stock market?
    Have you seen the trade deficit?
    Have you seen the slowdown in job growth?
    The growth in the uninsured?
    Have you counted the indictments and guilty pleas?
    Did you see the mid-terms?
    This presidency is an abject failure by almost every measure.
    Unless your name is Putin.

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  9. Kathy says:

    @reid:

    Careful. Uungood to use badfacts rather than doublethink in presence of other mans. Stick to goodfacts. And remember if you find a contradiction, you are wrong. Otherwise you’ll wind up in Minilove. Doubleplusungood. Time for the forty minute hate.

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  10. grumpy realist says:

    This is why we shouldn’t feel too smug about the chaos the Brits have manoeuvered themselves into with Brexit. We have our own stupidities.

    I suspect everyone is thinking “well, everything is going to shut down in Washington DC next week anyway…”

  11. Slugger says:

    Guys, guys, just relax. Trump is obviously just trolling. The “artistically designed steel slats” are a giveaway. I get it, Don, and I’m laughing with you. Good one!
    Alternative hypothesis: we elected the Heath Ledger Joker as Pres.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    The debate now is not whether there will be a wall. There won’t be.

    The debate now is whether Congress should give the orangutan a face-saving 5 billion dollars of taxpayer money, because as of January 3, 2019, the odds of Trump getting a single dime is nil. The wall is estimated to cost at least 25 billion, so the 5 billion request is for a white elephant few miles after which the whole thing will be abandoned.

    A ‘smart wall’, as proposed by Republican congresspersons would cost 1 billion and could be up in a year. Or we can throw away 5 billion because the idiot made an idiot promise to his idiot voters.

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  13. Teve says:

    DJIA down 2800 points this month.

  14. reid says:

    @Kathy: Thank you for the, uh, correction. (Time to finally read 1984, I guess!)

  15. just nutha says:

    Laissez les bons temps rouller! MAWA!

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce: @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Darryl forgot to mention another face-plant currently featured in the preceding post. Remember, Pearce, when we ALL told you Trump had fcked up Korea and had accomplished nothing? We are all right. Weren’t we?

    In fact, why don’t you try naming some instances where ‘we’ were wrong about a Trump fail.

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  17. Gustopher says:

    @Slugger: Trump isn’t just beholden to the Russians or the Saudis, he is also under the thumb of the artistic fence community.

    Ai Weiwei is the puppet master behind the scenes. We thought his fences exhibit in NYC was a reaction to Trump, but it was just a prototype…

    https://www.publicartfund.org/ai_weiwei_good_fences_make_good_neighbors/about

  18. Kylopod says:

    @Mu:

    Never thought that Ann Coulter had that much power over him.

    Doubtful. Her brand has long been that of right-wing purity troll, not partisan cheerleader. In early 2008 she declared that if John McCain became the GOP nominee, she’d personally donate to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. (I don’t think she ever followed through on this threat, but she probably weaseled out of it on the grounds that Obama became the Dem nominee.) While she backed Donald Trump in 2016, she said basically that he was an awful human being but that he was right on immigration. Since his victory, she’s been heavily critical of him for failing to live up to his promises on the issue. Limbaugh the other day was railing about the demise of the wall, but he stopped short of criticizing Trump; instead he lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Congressional GOP. At this point it’s almost impossible to separate the hard-right from the Trump cult; very few attack Trump from the right. Coulter is an exception and has been for quite some time.

  19. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m going to defend Trump on North Korea slightly… Engaging in the saber rattling competition was stupid, and made things worse.

    But, to then undercut all of North Korea’s threats by just declaring victory — even though it was transparently false — was if not brilliant, the best we could hope for. The can WILL be kicked down the road, and any time the North Koreans want to create an incident, we will just declare victory. Call them our friends. Just ignore the provocations.

    It’s not the policy of engagement that I would prefer, but it maintains the status quo, rather than making things worse. And, in 2021, when President Hickenlooper* is sworn in, maybe he will figure out how to make things better.

    *: I eagerly await a better novelty named candidate for hypotheticals.

  20. Kathy says:

    @reid:

    You’re welcome.

    Be warned, the terms “goodfacts” and “badfacts” are from an episode of Babylon 5 (The Deconstruction of Falling Stars), not 1984. but they fit right in.

    All kidding aside, 1984 is a valuable book to read. Once. I couldn’t possibly read it again (though I saw the movie with John Hurt and Richard Burton).

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:
    Unfortunately it’s not the status quo ante, because in the previous status quo we had not driven the South Koreans closer to the north, nor has Kim Jong Un escaped from his box as he has now done. So Trump made things much worse and then kicked the can down the road.

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  22. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Trump Pulls The Rug Out From Under Congress On Spending Bil

    Ha. Ha ha hahahaha..hahahahah..hahahahaha ha haha ha (snort) ..hahahahah..hahahahaha..hahahahah..hahahahaha ha.
    (pause for LONG breath)
    haha hahahahahhahahhhhhh… ha.
    (wipes tear from eye)

    What a maroon.

    He must think that the national budget is like a contractor that he can stiff after the work has been done. What an uneducated child… What a stable genius!

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  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Slugger:

    The “artistically designed steel slats” are a giveaway.

    A real wall would be made from rich Corinthian leather!

  24. James Pearce says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    He has been falling on his face for two years.

    And yet…he’s still president, refusing to sign the bill that will keep the government open.

    I don’t suggest, of course, giving in to his demands. I just suggest seeing the problem clearly for what it is.

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  25. gVOR08 says:

    Trump tweeted,

    I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership.

    Leadership in a GOP Congress is mostly GOPs. When are Ds going to catch on that Trump didn’t run against Ds, he ran against “elites”, “globalists”, “the swamp”. Those are mostly GOPs and we can run against them too.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    If Trump really doesn’t sign, is there any bothsides pundit, even David Brooks, who is too clueless to call it the Trump Shutdown?

  27. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: Hick may already have stiff competition for worst name in the presidential field.

  28. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: dude I knew you were going there. that guy will never be president simply based on his name, I don’t care if he’s the second coming of JFK.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In fact, why don’t you try naming some instances where ‘we’ were wrong about a Trump fail.

    To quote a very bad Disney movie: “You’d be surprised what you can live through.” And to stand a well-worn cliche on its head: “Nixon didn’t fall in a day.”

    Trump can fall flat on his face many times, as he has already done, and keep going without losing much support from his base. Pearce (who, remember, is not even wrong), would equate “falling flat” as a complete and total failure, losing most of his support, and maybe being taken out and shot. Otherwise, it’s as though nothing bad has happened to the Jell-o Blob.

    It’s a very Saturday morning cartoon view of politics.

  30. James Pearce says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Remember, Pearce, when we ALL told you Trump had fcked up Korea and had accomplished nothing?

    A) I’m not a Trump supporter.

    B) No amount of “He’ll fold” and “Subscribe to the Times” stuff is going to stop him from shutting down the government or screwing up NK or any other thing. You are going to need Republican votes help.

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  31. Stormy Dragon says:

    @James Pearce:

    A) I’m not a Trump supporter.

    No one believes you.

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  32. Hal_10000 says:

    Trump agrees with whoever spoke to him last. He spoke to the Dems and caved. Then Limbaugh called him and he uncaved. He’ll cave again. He’s a weak man. And Pelosi is showing an ability to stand up to him that Ryan never had.

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    In fact, why don’t you try naming some instances where ‘we’ were wrong about a Trump fail.

    So, thing one: you can’t. Which means your core premise is utterly unsupported by evidence.

    Thing two: WTF are you even talking about, “You are going to need Republican votes.” Need Republican votes where? When? To do what? Votes in Congress? Votes in 2020?

    In fact, if you spent any time at all actually educating yourself, you’d know that current GOP registration is about 26%. The entire 26% can fck right off and we’d have 74%. Right? Ever hear of independents? Ever hear of a thing called turnout? On what agenda would we need or want GOP votes?

    In Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2017, 37% of registered voters identified as independents, 33% as Democrats and 26% as Republicans. When the partisan leanings of independents are taken into account, 50% either identify as Democrats or lean Democratic; 42% identify as Republicans or lean Republican.

    Talking politics with you is like talking baseball with me – neither of us knows WTF he’s talking about. But I don’t voice my uninformed opinion on the Yankees starting lineup, do I?

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

    .

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  34. Kylopod says:
  35. Kathy says:

    I have a compromise idea for the GOP. Include in the bill to extend funding until February a pledge of $5 billion for the wall. Then it’s up to Trump, or more likely his cabinet, to try and collect it.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    you’d know that current GOP registration is about 26%. The entire 26% can fck right off and we’d have 72%.

    I have to take exception with your math here Michael. Year after year Republicans in the aggregate and in particular in presidential elections clear 45% of the vote (iirc usually about 47%) Registered Republicans are only part of the dependable republican vote.

    True Independents are only 5 or 6% of the electorate most years.

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    GOP registration is falling while Democrats are stable and independents rising. What we need is to turn out our 33% and pick up independent voters. There is a difference between a registered Republican and a GOP-leaning independent: team identity. If you won’t wear the label it’s because you aren’t committed.

    The Repubs in the Congress are registered team members, but the 37% of voters calling themselves Independents have more freedom of movement. Those are the voters we need, actual Republicans can drop dead. The 37% sort red and blue at election time when presented with a binary, that doesn’t mean they’re happy with their vote, it just means they realize we have a two party system.

    Trump’s overall support is 42%, his hard support is closer to a third – roughly the same as the number of registered Republicans. Trump is not ten feet tall, he’s very weak and getting weaker. Those accepting the Team Red Identity Tattoo are stuck with him, but the Indies aren’t, so contra Pearce we don’t need a single GOP vote, we do need independents, and a lot of them are quite gettable.

  38. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s not just independents. For example, to this day a majority of Kentucky voters are registered Democrats–though it’s been steadily shrinking for years. Kim Davis, as you may recall, was a Democrat until 2015. It’s not uncommon, particularly in the South. People whose parents and grandparents were staunch Democrats–and who may themselves have supported Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton–at some point stopped voting for the party at the federal level but continued to identify as Democrat on some level.

    There are other reasons why party registration doesn’t always match voting patterns–for instance, if you live in an area dominated by the other party and you want to have a voice in local elections. I saw this a lot growing up in Baltimore: I knew some of the most ultraright people who were still registered as Dems, because they lived in a city where the Democratic primary was effectively the election.

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    In fact, a useful and quite recent poll on Trump’s wall:

    Which comes closer to your view:

    a) President Trump should compromise on the border wall to prevent gridlock.

    Overall: 57
    Dems: 71
    GOP: 29
    Indies: 63

    b) President Trump should not compromise on the border wall even if it means a government shutdown.

    Overall: 36
    Dems: 21
    GOP: 65
    Indies: 31

    On this signature Trump issue, the very heart of his looney plans, Indies are much more in line with both the overall and the Democrats. On the ‘should’ question the gap between GOP and Indies is 34 points while the Dem/Indie gap is just 8 points. It is Republicans who are the outliers.

  40. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    This is why we shouldn’t feel too smug about the chaos the Brits have manoeuvered themselves into with Brexit. We have our own stupidities.

    On the main, I agree.

    Still, it seems the Brits’ appetite for economic suicide is not as hearty as it appears. according to The Guardian, a movement is afoot to give the Commons a “Get off the ledge” card.

    But the inclusion of a “managed no-deal” is kind of a “Get back on the ledge” proviso.

  41. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    On this signature Trump issue, the very heart of his looney plans, Indies are much more in line with both the overall

    It should be kept in mind that at any point, indies can be roughly divided into 1/3rd Dem-leaning, 1/3rd GOP-leaning, and 1/3rd “true independent.” That’s an oversimplification, and the exact proportions shift over time, but it’s the best way to think of it. It seems that after the Bush years a lot of Repubs started identifying as indies but in practice continued to vote Repub, which is presumably why both Romney and Trump won the indie vote handily while losing the popular vote overall.

  42. @Kathy: I am actually re-reading 1984 right now–the first time I read it was in 1983.

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    Mattis is out. The last adult has left the building.

  44. Another interested outsider... says:

    OT: Has anyone seen the new DT video promoting the Farm Bill?

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1075846949427908608

    Can someone pls explain what’s going on over there at the WH?

  45. James Pearce says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    No one believes you.

    They don’t have to. They just need to recognize that who or what I am is outside their purview.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Need Republican votes where? When?

    You want a big criminal justice reform bill? You need Republican votes. You want to fund the government? You need Republican votes. You want to impeach the president? You need Republican votes.

    And really, this isn’t that controversial. It becomes controversial, though, when you think all Republicans are deplorable racists/sexists/fascists, when you’re so utterly certain of your own (not quite realized) superiority that you become actually off-putting.

    A Dem-Republican coalition of “Never Trumpers” would have put this farce to rest before it even got started. Too bad that was pinched off by the “Let’s see where hyper-partisanship takes us” crowd.

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  46. @James Pearce:

    A Dem-Republican coalition of “Never Trumpers”

    There is no such thing, nor was their going to be (although I had a fantasy, in early 2017, that maybe a handful of retiring Republicans in the Senate would act this way). The reality is: the way parties work is that never-Trump elected Republicans either are going to stay Republicans or change party. None changed party.

  47. Paul L. says:

    When Obama threatened to not sign the Republican spending bill if there was no funding for Planned Parenthood, the looming shutdown was blamed on Congress.

    If Trump refuses to sign this one without funding for the wall, I’ll bet money that the same people who blamed the Congress will blame the president.

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  48. Teve says:

    @Another interested outsider…: as Michael Reynolds just mentioned, James mattis is now out. I think the technical term for this is a Trumpster fire. Is Rick perty still energy secretary?

  49. Teve says:

    “You want to know something?” Mr. Trump finally said, exasperated. “I’ll tell you what: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”

    “I will take the mantle,” Mr. Trump went on. “I will be the one to shut it down — I’m not going to blame you for it.”

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  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:

    If Trump refuses to sign this one without funding for the wall, I’ll bet money that the same people who blamed the Congress will blame the president.

    Dude:

    “You want to know something? I’ll tell you what: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”

    You know who blames Trump? trump. Do try and keep up.

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  51. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    Great minds.

  52. Teve says:

    I bet kristjen Nielson will be the next one out. She was John Kelly’s protege and he’s leaving.

  53. @Paul L.: A rather major difference is that Trump is refusing to sign a bill passed by a Congress controlled by his own party (plus what Teve and Michael noted).

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  54. Mikey says:

    @Paul L.: Trump explicitly, directly, and willingly took responsibility for, and ownership of, any shutdown. Please don’t try to shift blame.

    I look forward to the shots of him spending Christmas playing golf at Mar-a-Lago while the Secret Service agents who protect him on yet another vacation work without pay.

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  55. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    None changed party.

    If they changed parties, they wouldn’t be part of a Dem-Repulican coalition. They’d just be new Dems.

    Also, bi-partisanship is not fantasy, or it shouldn’t be. It should be SOP.

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  56. @James Pearce:

    Also, bi-partisanship is not fantasy, or it shouldn’t be. It should be SOP.

    While it may happen on occasion, it is never going to be SOP–there are two parties for a reason.

    You are ignoring basic reality.

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  57. Paul L. says:

    I look forward to the shots of him spending Christmas playing golf at Mar-a-Lago while the Secret Service agents who protect him on yet another vacation work without pay.

    Bet that will be broadcast 27/7 unlike when Obama Administration ordered the Closing of the WWII Memorial and sent people to set up makeshift gates and barricades.

    A bill passed by a Congress controlled by his own party that is panicking from the Blue Wave as I am told by the Democrats.

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  58. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    How do you deal the second time around with the squalor, the oppressive surveillance, the hopelessness from everyone around, the knowledge of how Winston and Julia will end?

    That’s why I couldn’t re-read it. A friend told me he threw it against the wall, hard, when he finished it. I believe him.

    I recall a sequence early in the book where Winston hears in the telescreen that some ration is being reduced to, say 50 grams. Later in the day, at the Times’ offices where he works, the telescreen announces the same ration has been increased to 50 grams, and people cheer.

    I never thought I’d live to see the day where something very much like it happens all the time.

    We’ve yet have to witness a scene like the war rally, where the enemy changes mid-celebration, and everyone knows we’ve always been at war with Eastasia, we’ve always been allied with Eurasia, and it was Goldstein’s operatives who tried to trick everyone.

    But we’re getting there.

  59. CSK says:

    @Teve:

    Have no fear. Didn’t Donny once say that he knew more about ISIS than “the generals” because he watches “the shows”?

  60. Teve says:

    no president in my lifetime has lost this many cabinet members and White House officials this quickly by a long shot. Shit Trump has lost three just in the last two weeks.

  61. James Pearce says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Basic reality doesn’t preclude a temporary alliance, ie a coalition, between two factions.

    And yes, there is a reason why we have two parties. Coalitions like this are near inconceivable.

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  62. Teve says:

    @CSK: yes. This week he also said we’re leaving Syria because isis has been defeated and that Russia was going to hate us leaving Syria because now they’re going to have to fight isis. He said that within 24 hours.

  63. Teve says:

    Dang. Go read Mattis’s resignation letter. it’s not pretty.

  64. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    Someone on Twitter pointed out that it reads like a polite accusation of treason.

    #TraitorTrump. Been saying it for two years, and now General James Mattis, Trump’s own SecDef agrees. Yes: Trump is a traitor to this country. He is a Manchurian president. He is a foreign intelligence asset. Duh.

  65. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “I eagerly await a better novelty named candidate for hypotheticals.”

    I’m going with President Ignatz Ratzkywatzky.

  66. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “And yet…he’s still president, refusing to sign the bill that will keep the government open.”

    THAT’s your criterion for a Trump victory? That he hasn’t been forcibly ejected from a seat he holds for four years unless impeached and convicted by two houses of congress controlled by his own party?

    No, don’t tell me. It’s because the Dems are icky…

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  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    I finally got an explanation in another thread of Pearce’s antipathy to progressives: apparently (according to Pearce) it has something to do with tiny homes.

    Not kidding.

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  68. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Also, bi-partisanship is not fantasy, or it shouldn’t be. It should be SOP.”

    One could say the same thing of unicorns shitting gold coins down Fifth Avenue, but that doesn’t change reality, either. Must be the Democrats’ fault.

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  69. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Exactly the point I made about ]Winston and the telescreen news in 1984.

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You are ignoring basic reality.

    You say that as if it’s different this time. It’s not; it’s just another day that ends in “y.”

    Side question: Is Megan Mullaly really a Trumper or was she just trolling him for the lulz?

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  71. CSK says:

    @Teve:

    Actually, Putin said he thought this was a great move on Trump’s part.

  72. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Republicans either are going to stay Republicans or change party. None changed party.

    It’s state level of course, but it’s interesting what is happening in Kansas

  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Kylopod: I get where you guys are coming from, and yet, time after time after time after time the GOP gets 45-47% of the vote. In other words, the wall is a lot harder than you are accounting for. When the GOP is consistently getting 42-43% percent of the vote, I will concede that we have turned the corner. Until then….

    Dreams.

    ETA: that recording really sucks, can’t hear the lyrics for shit. sorry about that.

  74. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: On this issue Michael, we have scores of elections of people voting against their best interests. Tribal identity is hard, really hard to overcome. I expect the political identity numbers to harden for quite some time to come.

  75. Mister Bluster says:

    Politico is reporting:

    House passes spending bill that includes money for Trump’s wall
    House Republicans passed a stop-gap spending bill that delivers $5 billion for President Donald Trump’s border wall, setting up a standoff with the Senate that significantly raises the likelihood of a government shutdown this weekend.

    Every one of those stooges should move south of the border and apply for citizenship in
    Estados Unidos Mexicanos.*

    *Kathy. I copy and pasted this from WikiP. I am open to correction if need be.

  76. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Pearce:

    You want to impeach the president? You need Republican votes.

    A thousand thumbs up for this. Folks? An impeachment is the overturning of an election. If you think you can do this on a party line vote? You deserve the smoking cinder of a country that will be left.

    I say this as one who believes trump should have been impeached 5 mins after he was sworn in.

  77. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    THAT’s your criterion for a Trump victory?

    Trump already had his victory. Two years into his presidency, people still think he’s just going to curl up and die.

    Some article in the Times or some SNL joke is going to put the final nail in his coffin, and if not, we have Mueller and the SDNY, comic book superheroes of unimpeachable integrity who understand that with great power comes great responsibility. Seriously, if Mueller doesn’t end his closing statement at Trump’s trial with “And you will know my name is the Lord” I think some of you are going to be bummed for days.

    Then when it’s all over and the apocalypse is predictably averted, we can go back to trolling movie trailers and policing Halloween costumes and NOT building homes for the homeless*.

    Sometimes, I wish I could believe in that too. I just don’t.

    (That’s where the “tiny houses” come in. “Build sheds on squatland” is now an answer to a question that used to be answered with “build housing.” No, not Cabrini Green. Levittown. Levittown, not McMansiontown. Don’t worry, you won’t have to fund it. A capitalist will do that. You just have to let them do it.)

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  78. Mikey says:

    @James Pearce: I tell ya, if strawmen didn’t exist you’d have to invent them.

    I know or have read or heard literally zero Democrats say they believe Trump is going to simply curl up and die. Certainly none believe SNL skits are going to accomplish this.

    Zip. Nada. Ze. Ro.

    So, what are you on about, besides spreading FUD on anything that might help the Democrats or hurt Trump?

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  79. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    No, that’s the official name of the country. it says so right on my passport.

    But we don’t want any of your Trumpsters. We have idiots of our own already.

  80. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    A capitalist will do that. You just have to let them do it

    No they won’t because McMansions make them more money. Capitalists are in it for the money, James not your nostalgic Americana. Nobody is stopping them from making cheap, affordable housing for the middle class but their own bottom line.

    I’m not a fan of tiny houses because it think it’s just a hipster version of a trailer they just want to feel better about. They are housing though whether you think they are sufficient or not – people live comfortably in less all the time. However, tiny houses are capitalism in a nutshell: a product there’s a market for that people are willing to spend more then is reasonable for. Any true capitalist would build tiny houses left and right to make their money and damn your Levittown Boomer sentimentalism.

    Nobody’s stopping capitalism – you just don’t like that the free market isn’t producing what you think it should. Bet you blame millennials for killing off canned tuna because they’d rather splurge for tuna steaks too….

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  81. wr says:

    @James Pearce: What you describe has so little in common with any reality I have lived or seen it’s astonishing that we live on the same planet. You have this little fantasy that anyone to your left is a manbun-wearing snowflake majoring in poetry at Bennington. I assume this makes you happy somehow, but it certainly doesn’t make you worth listening to.

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  82. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I get where you guys are coming from, and yet, time after time after time after time the GOP gets 45-47% of the vote. In other words, the wall is a lot harder than you are accounting for.

    I should clarify that my comment was meant to support your argument that party registration isn’t a very good metric in determining how people vote in practice, and while I didn’t say it outright, I agree with you that partisan voting patterns are pretty locked in at present, and I think near-full-state-sweeps of the LBJ/Reagan variety–for either party–are next to impossible for the foreseeable future. (But I don’t think a map like this is entirely out of the question.)

  83. gVOR08 says:

    @James Pearce:

    A Dem-Republican coalition of “Never Trumpers” would have put this farce to rest before it even got started.

    How many times do I, and others, have to point out that Trump is not the problem? Trump is the current face of the problem. Republicans are the problem. Where, pray, are we to find Republican “Never Republicans” to coalesce with?

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  84. rachel says:

    @Paul L.: I’ll add this to what the others have said: The majority of the public supported (and still supports) Planned Parenthood and wanted it to be funded. The public does not support Trump’s useless, environmentally-damaging, money-wasting wall.

  85. Kylopod says:

    @rachel: I was not particularly interested in responding to Paul L.’s comment, but I’m surprised no one’s made what I consider to be the most obvious point: there’s an enormous difference between defunding something that already exists (and which provides services to numerous people they would suddenly lose) and refusing to provide funds for some new project. I think the border wall is an utterly stupid idea, but I would not even support shutting down the government for something I consider worthwhile (say, a public health care program) if it was an entirely new program. The key here is that government shutdowns are not a legitimate means of trying to force changes to existing policy, whether that means creating what wasn’t there before or taking away what was there. And whoever is trying to make those changes by attaching them to a CR is the one taking hostages–the one responsible for the shutdown.

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  86. Mikey says:

    @Paul L.:

    when Obama Administration ordered the Closing of the WWII Memorial

    Dude, if that’s all you’ve got to put up next to causing the people who guard your life to work without pay, you’ve already lost.

  87. MMister Bluster says:

    …you’ve already lost.

    That’s what the L stands for. Loser.

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  88. Mister Bluster says:

    …you’ve already lost.

    That’s what the L stands for. Loser.

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  89. Kathy says:

    Apparently someone has launched a go fund me campaign for the Berlin Wall (what?), and some are quite happy that it’s raised $3 million or so already.

    At a rate of $1 million per day, they’d get the $5 billion down payment in about 13 and one half years (rounding down). So, good for them! they can begin building their wall c. June 2031!

    To get the full $25 million for the whole wall would take just 54 more years. The wall can easily be finished in 2085!

    Oh, but “everything always costs more and takes longer.” and we’ve blithely assumed the fund raising would at least keep pace with inflation, and stay steady through recessions!

    Oh, well.

  90. Ben Wolf says:

    @MMister Bluster:

    That’s what the L stands for. Loser.

    This from the rando who appointed himself the Blog Class-Police.

    What really stands out about you is your mendacity.

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  91. @Michael Reynolds:

    GOP registration is falling while Democrats are stable and independents rising.

    As I noted on another thread yesterday: those “independents” ultimately vote R or D. I self-identify as “independent” but my voting has been largely onesided for some time now.

    The system basically forces you, ultimately, into one of two pathways (and that is not going to change any time soon).

    The poll that tell us this is held every four years.

  92. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    As I noted on another thread yesterday: those “independents” ultimately vote R or D. I self-identify as “independent” but my voting has been largely onesided for some time now.

    To that point, it’s important to remember that the Tea Party movement was essentially started by Republicans who were too embarrassed to call themselves Republicans. Some of them reentered the fold with Trump, but most are still hewing to the “I am an independent who listens to arguments from both sides of the issues [and then votes Republican].”

    Republican registration was at a low in 2010 and they still managed to retake the House and make inroads in the Senate.

  93. James Pearce says:

    @KM:

    No they won’t because McMansions make them more money.

    Yeah, I don’t know if the profit margins work out to be like that. “Big House = more money, small house = less money.” Not necessarily…

    Also this is not true:

    Nobody is stopping them from making cheap, affordable housing for the middle class but their own bottom line.

    There are a lot of factors stopping developers from making cheap, affordable housing. NIMBY regulations. Construction mandates. Land use policies. Tax incentives (for other things). Couple that with the fact that a lot of people [millenials] don’t have any money and are so saddled with debt –college debt, medical debt, thousand dollars phones, expensive car payments– that they can’t afford to pay their rent much less build any kind of savings, something you’d need to do if you’re going to purchase any real estate.

    @wr:

    What you describe has so little in common with any reality I have lived or seen

    That is not surprising…

    @gVOR08:

    Republicans are the problem. Where, pray, are we to find Republican “Never Republicans” to coalesce with?

    There are fewer of them now, so you may have to form a coalition with Trumnp Republicans instead. That will be somewhat trickier but still possible. Pro-tip: Don’t mention the “Republicans are the problem” stuff.

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  94. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Trump has now stated (Friday morning) that he is promising a “very long” government shutdown unless he gets money for the wall… and the senate is not willing to do that.

    No question: this will be the Trump Shutdown. The GOP has their three ring circus, and they have no one else to blame.

    I know that this will likely not affect me, but it will be interesting if SS and Medicare benefits to elderly (Fox News viewers?) will be put on hold.

  95. Kathy says:

    I wonder how Euthyphro’s dilemma plays in modern politics?

    the dilemma is stated simply: Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?

    In political terms, it translates as : is a good policy favored by the GOP/Democratic Party because it is good, or is a policy good because it’s favored by the GOP/Democratic Party?

    You can see how this fits in with Kathy’s First Law of Politics: it’s wrong only when the other party does it.

  96. Kylopod says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Trump has now stated (Friday morning) that he is promising a “very long” government shutdown

    Judging from Trump’s past tendencies, that would translate to “The shutdown will be very brief or not happen at all, and afterward I’ll boast that it was the biggest and most beautiful shutdown the world has ever seen.”

    We’ll see. (And this is not a spectator sport for me, as my father is a federal employee, though at least I am no longer dependent on his paycheck like I was back in the ’90s, and I know he’s got enough saved to withstand whatever tantrums the baby at the top throws. I’m a lot more upset by a recent decision that he’s not permitted on his work account to send emails to us that contain criticisms of the president.)

  97. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    To get the full $25 million for the whole wall would take just 54 more years. The wall can easily be finished in 2085!

    no it would take infinity years because Trump would figure out some way to steal it.

  98. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Yeah, I don’t know if the profit margins work out to be like that. ”

    Well, that’s certainly a surprise. Maybe someday you’ll comment on something you actually do know about. I won’t be holding my breath, though.

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  99. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I’d tell you if Trumps is still alive by 2085, you’ll know God has damned America. But the fact that Trump sits in the Oval Office is proof enough for me 🙂

  100. just nutha says:

    @gVOR08:

    Republicans are the problem.

    Boom! Nailed it!

  101. just nutha says:

    @mattbernius: Your comment reminded me of the joke from the Addam’s Family TV show…

    Uncle Fester! We do not just go around shooting people in the back. We are civilized and have rules and laws. We’ll do this properly–we’ll give him a fair trial, and then we’ll shoot him in the back.

  102. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    Maybe someday you’ll comment on something you actually do know about.

    It was an expression of disagreement, not an admission of ignorance….jeez.

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  103. Mister Bluster says:

    @Ben Wolf:..What really stands out about you is your mendacity.

    There’s nothing to live with but mendacity. Is there?

  104. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    There’s nothing to live with but mendacity. Is there?

    Didn’t I get a letter about that place? It’s a retirement community, right?

    Menda City, in the Florida Panhandle, I think.

  105. Mister Bluster says:

    Per the New Oxford American Dictionary

    rando
    noun
    a person one does not know, especially one regarded as odd, suspicious, or engaging in socially inappropriate behavior

    yes, that’s me

  106. rachel says:

    @James Pearce:

    @KM:

    No they won’t because McMansions make them more money.

    Yeah, I don’t know if the profit margins work out to be like that. “Big House = more money, small house = less money.” Not necessarily…

    Yes, necessarily. Think of it this way: a developer has N amount of money to build either one McMansion or four small bungalows. If he builds the bungalows, he will have to lay out much more money total to buy material and pay workers than if he builds the McMansion because there is an economy of scale here. Plus, he will have to spend more time on permits, inspections and finding four buyers.

    Sure, he may get more total money eventually when he sells the four bungalows, but he’ll get an easier and quicker profit from the one McMansion.

  107. Mikey says:

    @rachel: Where I am they build McMansions but right on top of each other, not much on the lot except the house and very close to the neighbor’s. They squeeze 17 of them onto six acres and they start at just under $1 million.

  108. rachel says:

    @Mikey: Right, and maybe they can sell four bungalows for the same price (or more) that they can get for one of those McMansions, but all those bungalows together cost more time and money to build and take more time to sell.

    Do you think James Pearce is going to get it now?

  109. Teve says:

    As you make a house larger the marginal cost per square foot goes down. That means marginal profit goes up.

  110. James Pearce says:

    @rachel:

    “economy of scale”

    Yes, the economy of scale…”the proportionate saving in costs gained by an increased level of production.” “Increased level of production” means build more, not “bigger.”

    So, no, the economy of scale doesn’t make McMansions more profitable.

  111. rachel says:

    @James Pearce:The prize for not knowing what he’s talking about (again) goes to James Pearce.

    I’ll put it this way, and maybe you will get it:
    1) Developers are in business to make money.
    2) They will build whatever gets them the most money in the shortest time in return for the least expense.
    3) They know their business better than you do.
    4) Whenever they have a choice, they build McMansions and not bungalows…
    5) …because increasing the “level of production” (i.e. size) of each house decreases the cost per floorspace unit of each house. This is the application of economy of scale, not the absolute number of houses.
    6) If this was not the case, mansions would still be one-off custom buildings for rich people.
    7) Sure, you can buy a new, small to medium-sized house in a new development of other small houses, but odds are the developers agreed to build them small because government subsidies aimed at housing poor people made it worth their while, or local regulations required it.
    8) Absent one or the other of those cases, developers will build McMansions…
    9) …because that’s where the highest profit is.

  112. Matt says:

    @rachel: Like SUVs in the car industry….