The American people squeaked through another threat of a partial government shutdown, although there are those who wish President Donald Trump had overturned the bipartisan agreement that was worked out at the last minute. For the most part it can probably be safely said that the ones wanting a shutdown forcing federal workers to endure a back to back financial hardship, are the radio and TV conservative talkmeisters and their followers who have nothing to lose---Trump’s base.
Of course, if the tough talkers (not the wealthy media personalities) had their Social Security and other federal benefit checks suspended pending an agreement more to the liking of these folks, there would either be no shutdown or it would be over in a New York minute (the fastest recorded period of time: the gap between a light turning green and a cab driver honking his horn.)
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham are among the leaders of the hard right who believe that Trump shouldn’t give in to Democrats, and Republicans who they believe lack a backbone. The same media stars, who in effect claim that both Houses of Congress should submit to whatever the president wants, took a very different position when Barack Obama and Bill Clinton were president. Times change. Now there should be no compromise between the two co-equal branches of government.
Trump and the Republicans had two years in which to craft an immigration bill. They didn’t even try, and Trump only spent a fraction of the money Congress had appropriated earlier for border security. Their only legislative accomplishment for that time period when they controlled both Houses is the tax reform bill of 2017, which cut taxes at the expense of dramatically increasing the deficits despite another broken promise to cut deficits.
Trump stated that he is not happy with the funding bill and will get his wall built one way or another. Since then he has declared a national emergency in order to shift funds from one agency or department to another even if it alienates legislators who counted on that appropriated money for his/her district or state. The Oxford Living Dictionary defines an emergency as, “A serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”
I think it is fair to say that Pearl Harbor and September 11th were emergencies, and the president took immediate steps to respond in both instances. Considering that border security has been a decades long issue, one admittedly that both parties have been remiss in addressing, calling it a national emergency all of a sudden is an extreme measure out of proportion to the situation.
Obama was repeatedly accused of trying to subvert the legislative process with the issuance of his executive orders, although I am aware of only one that was overturned in the courts. Yet here we have a president who has signed an average of 4.27 executive orders per month in two years compared to Obama who signed an average of 2.9 per month, and not a peep from the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity. To add to the deafening silence, they even support overturning the expressed will of Congress in declaring a national emergency, something both Democrats and a number of Republicans disagree with.
Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ann Coulter among the loudest reactionaries, can afford to talk tough and even threaten Trump that Trump will lose his base if he caves in to the Democrats. But none of these mouthpieces has ever held an elective office. They only answer to their advertisers, and we know when they occasionally go off the rails with one of their rants and advertising is threatened, they fold quickly, like an Arkansas suitcase, better known as a gunnysack, which folds flat.
Meanwhile Georgia farmers and residents who were hit hard by Hurricane Michael last fall wait for the disaster relief that they have every right and reason to expect. These are taxpayers who face brutal financial hardships because of a real emergency, but the president seems indifferent to their plight.
And it’s always worth mentioning the deafening silence of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, et al when it comes to Trump’s broken promise---a firm and oft repeated promise---that the Mexicans would pony up $26 billion for the wall. Well, at least Trump got a little over a billion dollars of American cash to prove he is the great negotiator he claims to be. That should inspire the Mexicans to pay their fair share now, and we can count on the talkmeisters to press them for it.