Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding

Once again, President Trump is threatening a shutdown over the border wall that Mexico was supposed to pay for.

In an often bizarre performance before the White House press corps and the nation, President Trump told Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer that he will shut the government down if he doesn’t get funding for his border wall:

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday vowed to block full funding for the government if Democrats refuse his demand for a border wall, saying he was “proud to shut down the government for border security” — an extraordinarily statement that came during a televised altercation with Democratic congressional leaders.

“If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government — this country needs border security,” Mr. Trump declared in the Oval Office, engaging in a testy back-and forth with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California.

“I will take the mantle. I will be the one the shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it,” Mr. Trump added, insisting on a public airing of hostilities even as the Democrats repeatedly asked him to keep their negotiating disputes private.

“It’s not bad, Nancy; it’s called transparency,” Mr. Trump snapped after one such interjection by Ms. Pelosi, who appeared to trigger the president’s temper when she raised the prospect of a “Trump shutdown” over what she characterized as an ineffective and wasteful wall.

“The American people recognize that we must keep the government open, that a shutdown is not worth anything, and that we should not have a Trump shutdown,” Ms. Pelosi said.

“A what?” Mr. Trump shot back.

The unusual display in the Oval Office raised fresh questions about how and whether Mr. Trump and lawmakers can reach agreement by a Dec. 21 deadline to keep much of the government open, appearing to harden diametrically opposed positions on the president’s signature issue. It also showcased the interplay of two politicians playing to very different bases: Mr. Trump appealing to his core anti-immigration supporters and Ms. Pelosi to the young liberal lawmakers she needs to keep in her camp ahead of next month’s speaker election.

Outside the West Wing after the meeting Mr. Schumer said Mr. Trump had thrown a “temper tantrum” over the wall, saying: “The president made clear that he wants a shutdown.”

In a statement shortly afterward, Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi said it was up to Mr. Trump to avert the disaster he had promised, by embracing their proposals to essentially postpone the dispute for another year, either by passing the six noncontroversial budget measures that are outstanding and extending Homeland Security funding for one year at current levels, or passing one-year extensions for all seven remaining spending bills.

“We gave the president two options that would keep the government open,” they said in a statement. “It’s his choice to accept one of those options or shut the government down.”

Mr. Trump had begun the day appearing to soften his stance somewhat on the wall. In a series of morning tweets, he falsely stated that substantial sections of the “Great Wall” on the southwestern border that he has long championed have already been completed, and he suggested that his administration could continue construction whether Democrats fund it or not.

That would be illegal, but it suggested that he was looking for a way to keep the government funded past Dec. 21, even if Democrats balk at wall funding.

The meeting — the first time in more than a year that the duo the president likes to call “Chuck and Nancy” traveled to the White House to negotiate with Mr. Trump — was the first test of the new power dynamics among the three as Democrats prepare to take control of the House, and as Republicans scramble to accomplish as much as they can in the waning days of their dominance on Capitol Hill.

It quickly grew personal for Mr. Trump, who aides say respects what he sees as Ms. Pelosi’s strength as a negotiator and toughness in the political trenches, but who sought on Tuesday to publicly undercut her position by raising questions about her job security.

“Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now,” Mr. Trump said, appearing to allude to Ms. Pelosi’s struggle to garner the votes to be elected speaker under a new Democratic majority, where she is maneuvering within a caucus divided between hard-left progressives and more centrist lawmakers.

“Please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats who just won a big victory,” Ms. Pelosi shot back.

Mr. Trump’s approach to Mr. Schumer was initially friendly, but it soon turned sour.

“The wall, that’ll be the one that will be the easiest of all,” Mr. Trump said with a smile when he raised the issue for the first time as reporters looked on. “What do you think Chuck — maybe not?”

“It is called funding the government, Mr. President,” a stern-faced Mr. Schumer said, going on to point out that Mr. Trump had made false statements about the effectiveness of the wall and how much of it had been built.

“You don’t want to shutdown the government, Chuck,” Mr. Trump later told his fellow New Yorker, referring to a brief shutdown in January when Democrats insisted that protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children must be part of any funding measure. “The last time that you did, you got killed.”

This isn’t the first time that the President has threatened a government shutdown over funding for a border wall that, according to his original campaign promises, Mexico was supposed to pay for.

This isn’t the first time that the President has threatened a government shutdown over his immigration policy, and if it happened it would not be the first time during his Presidency that the government shutdown over immigration-related issues. About a year ago at this time, as Congress was headed back to Washington to deal with passing a spending measure before the then-current Fiscal Year expired, the President threatened to force a government shutdown if the spending bill didn’t include funding for his border wall. While he ultimately did not pull the trigger on that threat, it remained hanging out there and would play a significant role in events earlier this year that ultimately did lead to a brief government shutdown.

That occurred early in the year, of course, when the Senate tried to put together an agreement that would both deal with outstanding budget issues and resolve the issues surrounding the beneficiaries of President Obama’s Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. They were prompted to take this course of action largely thanks to a bipartisan meeting with Members of Congress and the Senate in which he essentially told them to go back and come up with a proposal to fix the DACA issue and stated that he would sign whatever they came up with. Within a matter of days, Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin had come up with just such a proposal that appeared to have broad bipartisan support. When they went to the White House to present that plan to the President, though, they found their proposal being rebuffed. This is the same meeting at which the President made his now infamous comments about immigrants from “shithole” countries. It was at that point, that things in the Senate started going downhill and led to the shutdown that ended after a weekend. Prior to the shutdown, the President had met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and came away thinking he had a deal that would have included both protection for DACA beneficiaries and some funding the for the border wall. Within hours after the meeting, though, the White House had rescinded the deal, and that led to the aforementioned shutdown. As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put it over the weekend, negotiating with this President is like negotiating with Jello. Even when he makes a clear and unequivocal statement on what he might accept in legislation, it’s become inevitable that the White House or Trump himself will walk it back. After the shutdown was over, as Congress sought to put together a budget deal, Trump again threatened a shutdown in February, but those threats were ultimately ignored. The President’s threats of a shutdown were renewed over the summer, and then again after the election as Congress returned to Washington to deal with the budget and other lame duck issues.

In reality, there seems to be little support in either party for a confrontation or shut down over the border wall. Even before they left Washington to campaign for re-election. Republicans and Democrats had largely agreed to the spending levels for the next fiscal year. The wall has been the only significant unresolved issue, although Democrats have been attempting to use it as a bargaining chip to be used to get things that they want, such as legislation that would protect the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and removal of the citizenship question from the 2020 Census questionnaire. With respect to the wall itself, Democrats had largely conceded spending roughly $1.6 billion on the project, well below the $5 billion demand that the President has set and far below the $20-25 billion, if not more, that complete construction of any so-called border wall has been estimated to cost. As a result, the parties are far apart with respect to this one issue and the only question appears to be how far the two sides are willing to push their position in the negotiations that are likely to take place over the next month if the government is to remain funded through the end of the Fiscal Year in September.

Additionally, there appears to be little public support for the border wall and certainly not enough to indicate that a government shutdown over the issue would inure to the benefit of Trump and the Republicans. For example, polling has clearly indicated that the American public is largely opposed to the Republican Party’s current orthodoxy on immigration. Throw into that mix the significant public opposition to the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance and family separation policies, both of which continue to be a source of problems on the southern border, and it seems as though it would be hard to underestimate the damage that a shutdown, especially a prolonged one, would do to the GOP on the eve of the midterms. Additionally, recent polling from National Public Radio and Morning Consult has shown that the public opposes shutting the government down over border wall funding. Despite all of this, the President continues to fight this battle convinced that this is a winning issue for him. That may be true when it comes to his base, but it’s most certainly not true with the American public as a whole. Because of this, I’m still tempted to think that Republicans in the House and Senate will find a way to make a deal that falls short of what the President wants, even if it means overriding a Presidential veto on the budget bill. If they don’t then they’re going to find themselves looking at a shutdown over Christmas that will clearly end up benefiting Democrats.

In any case, here’s the full video of Trump’s bizarre Oval Office performance today:

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Borders and Immigration, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, 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. mattbernius says:

    I for one look forward to our pro-Trump contingent carefully explaining how his performance was brilliant and how bad Pelosi and Schumer looked.

    BTW, for all the complaints against her, Pelosi’s performance today is exactly why she’s still the Speaker. In fact, it’s telling how much better she is at this than Schumer (though he did a good job of extracting that final quote).

    (That isn’t an excuse for the Dems not elevating younger leadership… but it is giving credit where it is due).

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    It’s hard for me to imagine what Trump was thinking. I guess this plays well with his endlessly gullible base. But he came across as a belligerent moron. I guess that’s because he, well, a belligerent moron…

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  3. Gustopher says:

    I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get tired of winning.

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    “Nancy’s in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now,” Mr. Trump said, appearing to allude to Ms. Pelosi’s struggle to garner the votes to be elected speaker under a new Democratic majority, where she is maneuvering within a caucus divided between hard-left progressives and more centrist lawmakers.

    He sought to undercut her on live television. Instead, he gave her an opportunity to display exactly why the Democratic caucus should support her for Speaker, and she promptly spanked him soundly.

    Good job, buddy.

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  5. CSK says:

    Actually, Trump said he would “proudly” shut down the government, just as last year he proclaimed that “the American people are proudly saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.” And that he would find a fix for DACA that would make Americans “happy and proud.”

    “Proud.” He loves that word. And he never uses it properly. He has the weirdest f@#king locutions I’ve ever heard.

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  6. EddieInCA says:

    A serious question for the commenters on here.

    I’ve been reading some of the right wing sites (HotAir, RedState, Daily Caller) and they all seem to be looking at this as a MAJOR Trump win. I saw it differently. Much differently, so I’m looking to check my bias and ask if anyone at all thought that President Trump looked like a winner in this exchange. To me, he came across as an arrogant, unintelligent bully.

    I’d like to know if my bias clouded my judgement. I actually am not sure in this situation.

    Thanks.

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  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    @EddieInCA:
    The DNC now has Trump on video saying that any shutdown that happens is his responsibility.

    Does that really sound like a big win for the GOP? Not only was Trump getting dunked on by Pelosi and Schumer, he’s too stupid to even realize he was getting dunked on.

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:

    Pelosi’s performance today is exactly why she’s still the Speaker

    @Neil Hudelson:

    he gave her an opportunity to display exactly why the Democratic caucus should support her for Speaker, and she promptly spanked him soundly

    Look…she stood up to him…something no Republican has done in two years. Credit for that. But c’mon…the bar is so fvcking low.
    I would have liked to see her ask him why he’s coming to Congress for funding, and threatening to shut down the Gov’t, when he repeatedly said Mexico was going to pay for it. I would have liked her to be a lot more forceful in calling out his lies about the border and the wall. He claimed, during that press avail, that they had caught ten terrorists and stopped contagions at the border. Why wasn’t he called out on that BS?
    Sure…she was tougher than we’ve seen since Individual-1 took office. IMO she could have, should have, been even tougher.
    She shouldn’t have left HotAir, RedState, Daily Caller any opening to claim victory for Individual-1.

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  9. mattbernius says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’ve been reading some of the right wing sites (HotAir, RedState, Daily Caller) and they all seem to be looking at this as a MAJOR Trump win.

    Oh, this will play well with his base. No question. And those places are all “his base” (remember that RedState, for example, purged most of the authors critical of Trump last year).

    The problem is 2018 demonstrated that just activating the base *wasn’t* enough. Again, the numbers demonstrated that his base showed up (unlike, say 2006 and 2008, when the Republicans didn’t show up).

    As analysts have pointed out, there hasn’t been a recent election where, generally speaking, a party’s base showed up in force and they lost this many seats.

    BTW, this is also why the Republican’s cannot afford to quit Trump. They don’t have anyone else that can rally the base.

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  10. Yixiao says:

    As best as I can tell from Wikipedia, the government has “shut down” about 10 times since 1980. I had to go look that up on Wikipedia, because I never noticed any of them.

    Wikipedia also says that “essential functions” don’t stop during a shutdown. So… Isn’t a threat of a shutdown just broadcasting how much money and resources the government is wasting on “non-essential” stuff?

    If the government can be “closed” and still provide all essential services, why do we need it to be “open”?

    (Okay, I’m being a bit over the top, but the basic question is valid)

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  11. Pylon says:

    Shut down the government = less work for Trump. No more pesky memos to read, no more bills to look at. So for Trump there are advantages.

    He also probably thinks it defunds Mueller or something.

  12. mattbernius says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Look…she stood up to him…something no Republican has done in two years. Credit for that. But c’mon…the bar is so fvcking low.

    I refer you to the Kavanaugh hearings (among many other screw-ups the Dems have made in recent years) for a reminder about how easy it is to utterly screw up a low bar.

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  13. CSK says:

    @mattbernius:

    Oh, yes, the Trumpkins consider this a triumph for Trump, because Limbaugh told them it was.

    As for Trump himself, he Tweeted the other day that he’d have a 75% approval rating if it weren’t for Mueller.

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  14. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Well, it’s a perfectly cromulent mistaken overuse of a word 🙂

  15. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius:

    his performance was brilliant and how bad Pelosi and Schumer looked.

    This is how bad they looked. Pelosi tried to shoo away the cameras.

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  16. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Crapulent.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @EddieInCA:

    To me, he came across as an arrogant, unintelligent bully.

    They count that as a victory. And at no point did he drool.
    Sorry, I know it was a serious question, but I really don’t think there’s a serious answer without diving deep into conservative psychology and recent history.

  18. Kylopod says:

    @Yixiao: I was 18 during the Clinton-Gingrich shutdowns of the mid-’90s, and given that my father was a federal government employee and the breadwinner in the family, it was unpleasant and more than a bit scary when he was furloughed indefinitely.

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  19. Teve says:

    @Yixiao: you’re confusing essential with important.

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  20. Blue Galangal says:

    @James Pearce: Because she didn’t want to tell him he was an idiot in front of the cameras.

    It was – nonetheless – clear to all.

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  21. Kylopod says:

    @Blue Galangal: It’s so much like Joffrey from Game of Thrones it’s scary.

    Minus the lopping off people’s heads bit, of course.

  22. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    In Springfield, it’s “cromulent.”

    You know, “An orange complexion embiggens the tiniest Trump.”

  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    What you saw today is why Dennison will never testify to Mueller…because he would fold like a cheap lawn chair within seconds.

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  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:
    Except Justice Boof was always going to be appointed, but it also led to a loss of 40 seats.
    Dennison doesn’t care about the wall. He wants the fight over the wall. They should have put that in his face, and nullified it by telling him to go talk to Mexico.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    If Trump want’s to shut down government over a wall he needs to go to Mexico City and shut down the Estados Unidos Mexicanos.

  26. Kathy says:

    @EddieInCA:

    I’d like to know if my bias clouded my judgement. I actually am not sure in this situation.

    That’s a good attitude. always question your biases.

    I doubt many in Trump’s base question their biases. If they like what their guy did, that’s a win, regardless of consequences like, oh, losing 40 seats in the House, or getting a special counsel appointed.

    In this case, the Cheeto is on tape saying he’ll shut down the government and not blame the Democrats. Hell, he’ll be proud to do so. Of course, if a shut down happens, he’ll blame the Democrats and deny he ever said otherwise. his base may (will) believe him. Today’s video will be ignored or explained away.

    But outside his base, it will simply not play. Those federal employees not getting paid, people whose vacations are ruined because the parks and monuments close, etc. will remember who did it.

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  27. DrDaveT says:

    @Yixiao:

    If the government can be “closed” and still provide all essential services, why do we need it to be “open”?

    Think of it as being like a hospital. The hospital can provide all essential services (e.g. trauma care in the emergency room, intensive care for those who would die overnight without it), but not provide any other services (e.g. everything else that hospitals do). That works for a few days, but after that it’s not much of a hospital. And people die who didn’t need to die.

    Think about this — the President is willing to shut down the Department of Homeland Security if that’s what it takes to protect our borders. If that makes sense to you, you are a Republican.

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  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    She shouldn’t have left HotAir, RedState, Daily Caller any opening to claim victory for Individual-1.

    You aren’t being fair to Nancy with this yardstick. If she hogtied him, gagged him, pulled his pants down and spanked him on national TV, those assholes would proclaim to all that she broke her hand on his buns of steel.

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And of course One Russian is very impressed with the toddler in chief’s performance. Definitive proof of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

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  30. Jen says:

    Pelosi handled that well–as I saw elsewhere, her performance was essentially a master class in how to manage a malignant narcissist.

    As far as his base is concerned: Trump talked over her a reported 15 times, so sure, they love it.

    It doesn’t change the facts, however. He doesn’t have the votes for his stupid wall now, and he sure as heck won’t have them in January. If he wants to take responsibility for shutting down the government–particularly the TSA during holiday travel–then he is welcome to it.

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  31. MarkedMan says:

    You know, the whole “invite them in for a private meeting and then call in the TV crews” thing has such a reality TV feel to it. I wonder if that’s where he got the idea? He seems to have forgotten the first rule of that genre: we only pretend to be unscripted. In the actual world, you don’t really stage something “spontaneous” , instead a) your “real people” are in on the game and are ready to react in the right way, and b) if it doesn’t work out you can leave it on the cutting room floor. By all accounts, though, when he was a reality star he played the role of “The Talent” to a T, disengaged, unaware of what was going on, constantly forgetting what had been agreed to and thereby forcing the producers in a mad scramble to paint a new plot around whatever idiocy had come out of his mouth.

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  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Well, he’s just a game show host, he’s not a game show producer. That requires some organizational and planning ability.

    The beauty part was him angrily subverting any effort his party and his TV network will make to shift blame to Democrats. He has the self discipline of a three year-old.

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  33. Kathy says:

    On the ongoing puzzle of Trump, consider what Pelosi said afterwards; “You get into a tickle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

    The reverse Midas touch.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I wonder if that’s where he got the idea?

    No doubt.

    By all accounts, though, when he was a reality star he played the role of “The Talent” to a T, disengaged, unaware of what was going on, constantly forgetting what had been agreed to and thereby forcing the producers in a mad scramble to paint a new plot around whatever idiocy had come out of his mouth.

    Hence, all those years he thought he was a genius when it was the producers who were genius at hiding his blithering idiocy.

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    Everyone needs to stop obsessing over the idiots. I mean, ‘the base.’ Trump’s got 40%. He’ll keep 30% no matter what. 30% of Americans thought Nixon was telling the truth even after we had tapes proving beyond any shadow of doubt that he was guilty. Trump will keep his 30% no matter what. In terms of polling the fight is over the distance between the 30% who are hopeless cretins, and the 10% who are just stupid, but not quite that stupid.

    We need to see what’s already been accomplished. From Day One Trump has been on the defensive. He has gained zero ground, made zero new converts, this despite an economy that would have any decent president looking at 60% approvals. But Trump is not at 60% and he never will be. As a political force we passed peak Trump within months of his inauguration. As Tucker Carlson said, “He’s just too fcking dumb to do the job.” (I paraphrase, but not by much.)

    So he’s got no wall, no Muslim ban, no defunding of Planned Parenthood. The courts have stopped him, the American people in the streets have stopped him, reality has stopped him. Trump can make mischief but this is important to recognize: he has no path forward. He’s not leading a movement or a revolution, he stopped moving forward almost immediately, and it’s been all defeat and frustration and reversals ever since.

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  36. Liberal Capitalist says:

    A few days ago someone said that Trump would find a way to say that breaking the law wasn’t a crime… Well, go figure:

    “Number one, it wasn’t a campaign contribution. If it were, it’s only civil, and even if it’s only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?”

    So, not a felony, not by him, and if it was, then YOU are wrong because not a felony but civil, but not anyway, because lawyer not me.

    Wow.

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  37. KM says:

    @Yixiao:

    Wikipedia also says that “essential functions” don’t stop during a shutdown. So… Isn’t a threat of a shutdown just broadcasting how much money and resources the government is wasting on “non-essential” stuff?

    No – it means the people doing the shutdown are too cowardly to *actually shut things down* and piss off their voters who depend on essential services. It’s a selective punishment of people they think they get can away with screwing over without hurting their constituents too badly.

    Tell me, if a McDonald’s is only serving coffee, burgers and shakes because they “shut down” the fryers in protest, is the location truly shut down or just running at minimal capacity? Does that mean the fryers are really extraneous and the location can get by without them? All it does is piss off customers but as long as they get *something*, they won’t grumble too much…. and that’s the whole point for the “shutdown”. Make you hurt enough you’ll crave the fries and give into the demands but not enough to drive you to alternatives.

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    “You get into a tickle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.

    Not really germane to the discussion, but – Is this a real expression? I’m not even sure what it means. I’ve heard something similar: “If you get into a pissing contest, you just end up covered in piss” but that doesn’t seem to apply in this context.

  39. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    This is how bad they looked. Pelosi tried to shoo away the cameras.

    It’s called second-hand embarrassment and it’s natural for most people to try and spare a moron from looking even stupider then normal on camera. Kinda like pointing out someone’s fly is down or there’s toilet paper stuck to the bottom of their shoe to spare them the public humiliation…. oh wait, nobody bothers to do that for him anymore because he doesn’t take the gentle hint and WANTS to be a spectacle.

    Still, Nancy has manners and tried anyway. A courtesy she extended to save him face and you’re giving her crap for it. So much for demanding civility!

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  40. mattbernius says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Except Justice Boof was always going to be appointed, but it also led to a loss of 40 seats.

    Leaving the question of the effect on seats aside (I think both parties are overweighing their narrative of those effects), my point wasn’t that the Democrats were going to stop Kavanaugh going through. It was more that, with a couple notable exceptions, they tried to “tie him in knots” and largely tripped over themselves to try and play to their respective bases (see both Booker and Harris).

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  41. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Hence, all those years he thought he was a genius when it was the producers who were genius at hiding his blithering idiocy

    Maybe not so much of geniuses. The show was a pretty big success in it’s first season, making it to the top ten in ratings (#7) and it still did well in its second year. But it declined pretty steadily after that, ending up as the 75th rated show in its 6th season (it mostly had two seasons per year). It was then saved from the chopping block by three things: 1) the fact that like all reality shows it was incredibly cheap to produce and it served to fill a hard to program slot; 2) just as it seemed that even that couldn’t protect it, the writer’s strike hit, and the networks became desperate for shows that didn’t need writers; 3) and finally, the producers were able to talk Trump out of his constant attempts to increase his own screen time and instead it became “The Celebrity Apprentice”, focussing on washed up actors and hungry up and comers willing to work for peanuts in exchange for exposure. There is a bit of genius in that, because if an actor had imploded due to personality problems or drug abuse but had cleaned up their act, you could play that up. If they were a disaster, well, that was even better for ratings.

    CA’s best season was ranked 46th, while its worst was 84th, the year before Trump entered the Republican Primary. When he started publicly contemplating a run for president it “rebounded” to 67th. Interestingly, Schwarzenegger’s stint hosting it came in at 90th, so really not far off of where Trump had been.

    Bottom line, it was a cheap to produce show that had only one on-air talent to manage, and drew enough of an audience to keep from being cancelled and find a niche as low cost filler. The producers probably made decent money from it and probably devoted as much attention to it as it required.

  42. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I don’t know if it’s a common expression.

    It means that if you tangle wit a skunk you’ll get sprayed. Essentially she’s calling Trump a skunk. I don’t see why she has to hold back and be so kind to him, and so insulting to skunks.

  43. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: @Kathy: It sounds almost like the sort of expression you’d hear in the South, and so it’s interesting hearing it from a San Francisco lawmaker originally from Baltimore.

  44. Tyrell says:

    I watched part of this tiff, row, dust up. Obvious it was scripted: sounded like one of the WWE story lines building up to a pay for view, but not as well done. Schumer was somewhat flat – he should tried the cobra hold on Pence. Pelosi should have threatened Trump and Pence with her fingernails. Of course if the tv cameras weren’t there they would have sat around having some good lunch and drinks while laughing it up about days gone past.
    These sorts of things have gone on before. Reagan and Tip O’Neal got it on back and forth several times. Johnson had some dickering with some people but generally kept everyone in line. Truman was tough and salty with a lot of people, including the iconic General Douglas McArthur. The important thing is that the leaders get together in a back room over cigars and bourbon and work out the deals.

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  45. grumpy realist says:

    Speaking as someone dealing with the USPTO daily, lemme tell you that a government shutdown may not be noticed by the hoi polloi, but it definitely is noticed by corporations who want to get trademarks and patents. Particularly if it turns out you lose your damn priority rights because you’re not able to file in time. (I think the USPTO decided the last time to grant everyone the filing date of the first closed day, but that was a “we’re being nice” sort of thing. There’s no law requiring it. If they had wanted to be assholes, they could have said the filings would be dated the first day the gov’t was reopened.)

  46. SKI says:

    @Yixiao: You clearly don’t know any federal government workers. They risk getting royally screwed every time this happens.

    Nor did you need any “non-essential” government services during a shutdown – like needing to get income verification to get a mortgage approved Some things the shutdown will impact from CFRB

    Social Security and Medicare: Checks are sent out, but benefit verification as well as the issuance of cards would cease. While unlikely to happen again, in 1996 over 10,000 Medicare applicants were temporarily turned away every day of the shutdown.

    Environmental and Food Inspection: In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency halted site inspections to 1,200 different sites that included hazardous waste, drinking water, and chemical facilities. The Food and Drug Administration delayed almost 900 inspections.

    National Parks: During the 2013 shutdown, the National Park Service turned away millions of visitors to more than 400 parks, national monuments, and other sites. The National Park Service estimated that the shutdown led to over half a billion dollars in lost visitor spending nationwide.

    Health and Human Services: The National Institutes of Health would be prevented from admitting new patients or processing grant applications. In 2013, states were forced to front the money for formula grant programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (cash welfare).

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS): In the event of a shutdown, the IRS, which verifies income and Social Security numbers, would again not be able to perform this service. In 2013, a backlog of 1.2 million such requests potentially delayed mortgage and other loan approvals. Billions of dollars of tax refunds were also delayed.

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: People commonly think of Baltimore as being in the north (and it certainly was a member of the Union) but Maryland was a slave state. MO, DE, and KY also share those characteristics.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist:

    but it definitely is noticed by corporations who want to get trademarks and patents.

    For all kinds of reasons. Companies do business with govts on a daily basis (depending on the company). I worked in a law office for a year and I was on the phone with various govt agencies every day.

  49. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    People commonly think of Baltimore as being in the north (and it certainly was a member of the Union) but Maryland was a slave state. MO, DE, and KY also share those characteristics.

    First of all, I was talking about the cultural South–the place where you find colorful, mildly vulgar analogies like the one Pelosi used. As a native Baltimorean myself (technically born in DC but where I spent most of my childhood and early adult years), there is not much “Southern” about the city beyond perhaps some features of the classic Bawlmer accent. As a former Census worker, I’m also perfectly aware that MD (along with Delaware, Kentucky, and W. Virginia–but not Missouri) is still technically classified by the federal government as part of the South. It doesn’t matter. The state hasn’t been “Southern” in at least a century.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As I point out to visitors who are taking in Baltimores beautiful waterfront, the highpoint south of the harbor is Federal Hill. Nominally the canons stationed there during the civil war were to guard the shipping traffic. But it was no coincidence that elevated a few degrees higher they would be pointing into Baltimore itself….

  51. bookdragon says:

    @MarkedMan: I think it is the polite Nonna version of the pissing contest phrase

  52. DrDaveT says:

    @Kylopod:

    As a native Baltimorean myself (technically born in DC but where I spent most of my childhood and early adult years), there is not much “Southern” about the city beyond perhaps some features of the classic Bawlmer accent.

    The most similar place to Baltimore that I have found, culturally speaking, is Pittsburgh. They are both blue-collar, organized into ethnic neighborhoods, parochial, shrinking, and intensely racist. (Most people don’t realize that Baltimore is about twice as populous, though.)

  53. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    They are both blue-collar, organized into ethnic neighborhoods, parochial, shrinking, and intensely racist.

    I’m not quite sure what you mean, as the city of Baltimore is about 2/3rds African American whereas Pittsburgh is majority white–unless you’re referring to the broader Baltimore area including Baltimore County (a big source of confusion among non-Baltimoreans).

    A quick explanation for those who may not be familiar: In the strictest sense “Baltimore” refers to an independent city in Maryland (meaning a city that isn’t part of any county). Next to this city is Baltimore County, which is a county that doesn’t contain any cities within it. The county is divided into rough areas–Pikesville, Towson, Owings Mills–but they aren’t political units (they’re more comparable to the NYC neighborhoods) and the only government is the county itself. Because of this, county residents typically say they’re from “Baltimore,” even though it’s an entirely different municipality than the city called Baltimore. Naturally, Baltimore County is a lot whiter and more suburban than Baltimore City.