The Shutdown Will Continue

It’s been an exciting few hours on the Mahablog. After several days of thrashing around, several terrifying minutes when the site  disappeared, and spending too much money I finally got an SSL certificate installed. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was quite an accomplishment, and as a result the url has changed from http:// to https://. Your old links will still work. This was necessary, I am told, because it makes the site more secure.  My suspicion is that it’s just a way to squeeze more money out of us small website owners. Hosting is cheap, but you pay through the nose for security.

Anyhoo, Martin Longman has some ideas about what Mitch McConnell is up to.

Over the last several years, he has usually ranked as the least popular senator in the country with his own constituents. In the latest Morning Consult poll, only Jeff Flake and Claire McCaskill had higher disapproval numbers, and neither of them survived the last election cycle. The thinking goes, then, that McConnell simply cannot afford to buck the president.

There’s definitely some truth to that, but it’s also important to think about McConnell’s concern for the Republican Party’s majority in the Senate. He does not want hurt the reelection prospects of his colleagues because it could send him back into the minority. So, he has very little interest in passing a bill that Trump will criticize and veto.  He suffered that fate once already before Christmas, and he’s not keen to experience a repeat.  It’s also key to McConnell’s current thinking that Trump had signed off on the deal last December before suddenly reversing himself  once he received criticism from people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.  He doesn’t have any reason to take Trump’s word that he’ll stick with any deal that is negotiated.

The best way of looking at this is that McConnell is angry with the president. He was double-crossed. He wasn’t consulted. He doesn’t believe in the wall. He doesn’t believe that Trump’s strategy will work.  He doesn’t want to take ownership of a deal that the president will characterize as insufficient or weak.  He doesn’t even want to appear with the president in front of the cameras.

McConnell is not going to take a leadership position to end the shutdown until something else happens. The something else could be an incident resulting from a breakdown in airport security, or a sharp downturn in public opinion against Republicans, or something breaking in the Mueller investigation.  And then maybe he’ll step forward to push a bill through to open the government. Otherwise, he’s going to let Trump bang his head against a wall until either he or Nancy Pelosi breaks. And I don’t think Nancy Pelosi is going to break.

See also: Trump’s phony ‘compromise’ has now been unmasked as a total sham by Greg Sargent, and Trump’s So-Called ‘Compromise’ Is Loaded With Poison Pills by Nancy LeTourneau.

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