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Feb 12 2019

So Much Losing

I imagine that Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio is tired of it by now.

There is no doubt that the Government Shutdown/Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism has turned out badly. Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio shed many points off his already abysmally low Approval Ratings and is likely to go even lower as his core of Racist Republicans realize they’re not going to get any measurable portion of his Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism.

First off, it’s not much of a Wall, in fact they can’t even call it that- it’s a “Barrier”. Secondly, there’s not much of it, 55 Miles instead of the 200 Miles in his $5.7 Billion ask. That’s just a little more than a Quarter of what was planned and even that wasn’t much.

Currently there are about 1000 Miles of Border which is, umm…, Unbarriered and about 650 Miles that represents Official Border Crossings and existing Fences and Barriers. So one way of looking at it is it only adds 8.5% to what we have now OR a mere 5.5% of the area claimed to need a Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism.

I’m sure Stephanie Clifford could come up with a comparison.

The same Racist Republican Media Vomit Machine that put the kibosh on the early December agreement is already indicated this is unacceptable, but this time Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio doesn’t really have the option of appeasing his Bigoted Base because the slightly less (really, it’s not much) Insane Institutional Republicans have no interest in another Government Shutdown and without that he has no leverage.

But it gets worse. This bill is lower than the $1.6 Billion he could have had in December, makes no concessions whatsoever on barring funding for an actual Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism, and concedes the Democrats a limit on the total size of ICE Detention Facilities which theoretically will cause them to release some of their current population of Inmates since they at at or near capacity.

Of course I expect he’ll ignore that provision and set up ICE “Black Sites” with scrounge money stolen from other parts of the Government. Likewise if he declares a spurious “State of Emergency” so he can dive into the Pentagon’s Bag of Golden Toilet Seats (c’mon, you don’t think they’re really buying Golden Toilet Seats, that money is for Top Secret Black Ops programs) he’ll certainly get tied up in the Courts and the Precedents are not good. Harry Truman tried that with a Steel Mill during the Korean War (something that might actually have Military significance) and got shot down in flames.

Now am I happy with this deal? No. Not a dime for the Vanity Project Penis Wall O’ Racism. Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio must lose, and more importantly, must be seen to lose. And as I said the restrictions on Detention Facilities is not as low as the initial ask (in fact it continues current spending levels) and will undoubtedly be roundly evaded.

And Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio is a reckless lunatic who could change his mind again and decide on another Shutdown because Sean and Laura and Ann and Rush are pouting.

But I do expect it will peel away some points from whatever constituency he has left which will erode his position for the future.

Trump’s failed shutdown strategy produced an even worse deal than he started with
By Aaron Blake, Washington Post
February 12, 2019

The amount of funding is actually shy of the original deal Republicans and Democrats reached last year that Trump rejected. At that time, the spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security included $1.6 billion for 65 miles of fencing, both slightly more than the current tentative deal.

This was the deal on the table (it passed 26 to 5 in the Senate Appropriations Committee in June) when Trump initially began demanding $5 billion for his wall. He’s now getting slightly less than that $1.6 billion while also making a concession to Democrats on detention beds.

This is a big reason the deal was almost immediately rejected by Trump’s most conservative supporters. Sean Hannity called it “garbage,” Ann Coulter retweeted a bunch of people deriding the deal, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) texted to The Post: “This does not represent a fraction of what the president has promised the American people. … I don’t speak for the president but I can’t imagine he will be applauding something so lacking.”

But even Meadows has conceded that Trump has almost no leverage left in this shutdown debate. Republicans, including Meadows, have signaled they aren’t prepared to shut down the government again at the Friday deadline. Without that, Democrats have no real reason to make concessions. Meadows has said he would support a regular, clean government funding bill if no deal can be reached.

That’s a pretty attractive fallback if you’re a Democrat. Democrats have now put Trump in the unenviable position of accepting a deal that is worse than what he began with if he wants wall funding, or rejecting the deal and risking congressional Republicans signing off on something with no wall funding, possibly leading to a veto standoff with his own party. And Republicans have put this deal on the table knowing they can’t really do any better, given their leverage was sapped by the shutdown.

For Trump’s part, he seems increasingly intent on moving past this debate and basically arguing that the wall is already being built. At a rally in El Paso last night, signs read “Finish the wall” instead of “Build that wall,” though there’s been no real shift in wall funding under his watch. It also appears he might still try to declare a national emergency to fund the wall, even if the current deal is agreed to.

But it’s all rather transparently geared toward saving face at this point, rather than winning the debate. Assuming Republicans can’t get anything more out of this deal than they have right now, it will be quite the capitulation. Trump could have taken $1.6 billion and/or declared a national emergency last year, before all this went down; he will have gotten basically nothing for shutting down the government for 35 days.

And he might just have to take it.