Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DHS: Caving Like Carlsbad?

The headlines are that Boehner is going to allow a vote in the House on the Senate's clean DHS funding bill. Conservatives have moved to the final stage of political grieving: Letting It Burn (there's a post-grieving stage of Make It Burn--but it's thankfully not for everyone). Assuming this goes down as described in the headlines (there's still some doubt) what does it mean?

It Means Boehner's Had It With Delusional Strategies
Look, guys, The Omnivore is sorry--but this shutdown deal was never going to work. The reasons are all too obvious (lack of coordinated messaging, lack of friendly mass-media, lack of ability to blame Obama instead of pinning the tail on Congressional maneuvering that most people don't understand or care about, the logical flaw of tying together things that do not require being tied together because it's what conservative voters want--but then having it sell it as something else entirely, and so on)--If you didn't see this coming, you have no one to blame but yourself.

But, oh, Boehner's a squish, isn't he?

Uhm: The Canary-In-The-Coal-Mine should have been Ted Cruz. You remember him? He has his own super-conservative-hero comic book. He's listed as a Passover attraction. That guy? When Cruz wasn't manning the ramparts in the Senate you oughta have taken a long, hard look at that. But that's because he got all beat up, right? Wrong--well, not wrong--he did get beat up--but not by McConnell and certainly not by Harry Reid. He got beat up by the polling averages that showed him his strategy to, uhm, hold the government hostage (yeah, The Omnivore knows: your blood-pressure just went up) was a loser.

What Cruz presumably realized was that he was unable, by sheer-force-of-will, to force the public-at-large to see things his way: that Obama had to be stopped at all costs--even if those costs were America's credit rating or government services . . . or whatever. This is because (SECRET ALERT) the whole country is not doctrinaire conservatives. The country at large doesn't hate Obama and his little dog too like real-American red-blooded TruCons do. They just don't--so tying funding or services or whatever to repeal of actions you don't like (whether it be EO-Amnesty or the ACA)--just seems like holding those things hostage because YOU want those things (DHS) too--or, at least, you say you do.

The strategy was always delusional. Boehner (probably) always knew it--and saying "Let's just try not backing down and see what happens" is amateur hour strategy used by people who aren't in the shopping cart aimed at the ramp with a rocket tied to the back. Those GOP House members in supah-safe-gerrymandered districts?

They're not in the shopping cart, dude.

Look To The Courts
Of course Congress was never going to wallop Obama on this because the branches are theoretically equal. If what Obama is doing is illegal then, uh, YES GUYS, that belongs in court. In fact--that's where it ought to go first. Trying to use the Power of the Purse as a bludgeon is also a particular kind of malfeasance (what's the difference between de-funding and using as a bludgeon? Well, a clue is when you need a special amendment to de-fund something rather than just, you know, not funding it).

It also should be clear that the idea of litigating legislation is not the problem--it's the symptom. Part of this is that the rhetoric of calling Obama a tyrant or criminal is being taken literally by the GOP base--which leads to the natural question of "Why don't you impeach or arrest him?" The answer is always: "Well, it hasn't gotten that bad yet."

Or sometimes it's "The Democrats won't let us!"

But this isn't true. The idea that Obama is about to be removed by the Army (a persistent conservative rumor) or the Supreme Court (a well executed parody-news site that has gotten some traction) is simply a lie. It's a lie that baldly declaring Obama a rogue agent isn't helping with.

Yes, the courts may reverse his EO. They may undo part of the ACA--but they upheld ObamaCare which a LOT of people claimed with authority they did not actually have and certainty they were foolish to possess was clearly illegal. The Omnivore himself was pretty sure the court would strike it down--but did not claim it HAD to be so or that he was a constitutional lawyer. The  courts striking down an executive or legislative action is also different than breaking a law for which you can be arrested--Conservative demagogues intentionally do not draw that distinction--and this is leading their followers down blind alleys.

The courts may well settle Amnesty--that's okay: that's what they are there for.

The constitutional geniuses who are feeding an atmosphere of hysteria and despair aren't helping things.

Boehner's Future
There is talk of Boehner being removed: Hope that doesn't happen. Yes, he folded--but he was dealt a losing hand and forced to 'bluff on it' . . .  with his cards up. Yes, it's a poker analogy--but it's an apt one: try playing that way with full commitment to the game and see how far you get. Here's how far: You'll get cleaned out.

Boehner stopped the bleeding before the artery was severed (Friday) and before a potentially fatal injury could occur (a terrorist attack while DHS was shut down). If you think that Obama would have taken the blame for that you're like the drowning guy who pulls his rescuer down and sinks him too.

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