Heading Over a Cliff, Part Two
by Deacon Blues
We’re headed for a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, because of the bad decisions by two men: President Obama and John Boehner. Obama for his part never should have poked the House GOP in the eye right after the 2014 elections by going ahead with his Executive Order, setting the relationship with the congressional GOP on a needlessly hostile course. Even then, if he had stopped at prosecutorial discretion to relax deportations and not gone further with granting benefits to those affected, he would have a stronger case. Instead, the White House went too far and despite what Democrats feel about the Texas federal judge’s preliminary injunction, there is more to the legal challenge that should trouble the president’s defenders.
Boehner has shown his own hostility and outright hatred for the president since the new session started, demonstrating once again his own moral defects and a penchant for overplaying his hand. His combative tone to appease his far right base has only eliminated his options, meaning that no matter what Mitch McConnell and Joe Manchin think they can accomplish with splitting the votes into separate measures on the DHS funding and the president’s immigration actions, the House GOP won’t allow them to go forward, ensuring that there will be a DHS funding shutdown this weekend.
Democrats and the White House are ready for this, armed with the knowledge that the public disagrees with the House GOP effort to tie DHS funding to the debate on immigration, with 60% of the public against what Boehner is doing. Yet McConnell and the other adults in the Senate GOP know that the train wreck is coming for the Republicans anyway, because while the party itself will suffer nationally for what is about to happen, the individual House Republicans, tucked safely in their gerrymandered districts will not pay a price. And President Obama and Nancy Pelosi are only too happy to let it play out for several weeks or a month while Boehner and his caucus make one damaging statement after another towards Latino voters in 2016, allowing Democrats to recover from their recent problems.
Update, Wednesday 2/25 AM: As expected, the House GOP is going crazy at the talk about any splitting of the DHS funding bill from their effort to roll back Obama's executive order. For his part, Boehner admitted this morning that he hasn't spoken to McConnell in two weeks, so the benefits of total GOP control of Congress are now well apparent.