Here’s how it ultimately breaks down, in pure and simple human terms. This Friday morning, over 800,000 federal employees will wake up, hit the “brew” button, and log into their bank accounts, which will show exactly the same amount of money that they did when the employees went to bed on Thursday night. There’s what all of this high and mighty rhetoric about the government shutdown boils down to. And that doesn’t include the army of contractors affected by the shutdown, who likely will never be made whole once the shutdown is concluded.
But fear not, Glorious Bleater has matters well in hand. Last weekend, he convened a high level “working group” to tackle the problem. Negotiators from both sides met on Saturday and Sunday to forge a path through this prickly forest. And that’s where you can separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to who really wants to end this shutdown. By who each side has negotiating.
Let’s start with the administration side of the coin. It’s a real, high powered, all star line up. Mick Muvaney, Mike Pence, and Jared Kushner. Mick Mulvaney, a Tea Party creep so slimy that slugs pour salt on him, a guy whose idea of compromise was voting lock step on crazed budgets from Paul Ryan that he knew had no hopes of being signed by Obama, so who cared. And the head of OMB who is such a numbers savant that he couldn’t find a way to get the meatier parts of repealing Obamacare through the reconciliation process, where 60 votes weren’t needed in the Senate.
Then there’s Mike Pence, This is a guy who started his public political career by shilling for the big tobacco companies. To hear Pence tell it, an apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a pack of smokes was the fountain of youth. And the capstone to his legislative negotiating genius was carving out a rescue deal for Carrier, which somehow or other managed to cut more jobs in Indiana than it saved, while costing the states taxpayers billions.
And batting clean up is none other than the non blonde half of Jarvanka, Jared Kushner. I can sum up Jared’s negotiating skills with three simple words. 666. Fifth .Avenue. This is a guy who brainlessly overpaid for a building that makes the comedy movie “The Money Pit” look like a documentary on the Kushner company. And he caped it off by negotiating a bailout loan from Qatar, while his father in law was desperately pretending he knew that the US Constitution said. I have no facts, but I suspect that Jared’s interest payment on that loan from Qatar is the UAE.
Boy, talk about “Murderers Row.” And who did the Democrats send in to go up against this Imperial Death Star of negotiating talent? Senate and House congressional aides and staffers. That’s right. Chuck and Nanicy went there. They sent in the heavy hitters, because they knew that when the bases are loaded, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, you need your closer.
I’m not being sarcastic or facetious here. Who in the hell do you think does the heavy lifting n the legislative process in Washington? The Senators and Representatives?!? Puh-lease! The only bills that Rand Paul ever wrote were to patients whose eyes he had treated. And the only bills that Duncan Hunter actually read were for golf shorts that he told his campaign to pay for. You may see new footage of various senators and congress critters emerging from high level meetings to do the peoples business, but who do you think actually writes the drafts of these bills, the legislators? Shee-it, they can’t finish the NY Times crossword puzzle. It’s aides and staffers who take the block of granite that their bosses give them, and make a sculpture out of it.
Here’s an example. In any given year, there are literally 100+ bills in various larval stages of negotiation and debate. How can any legislator, no matter how diligent, possibly be intelligent on all of them. It’s staff members who provide them with “cheaters,” 3×5 cards with brief summaries on the bills that are up for debate and consideration at any given moment. Legislators come and go, but the pool of highly qualified, savvy office workers remains constant. New legislators ask veterans for names to staff up. Alexandria Ocasio-Crtez, and her freshman classmates certainly brought loyal, qualified people that they’re comfortable in to work with them, but don’t kid yourselves. Their staffs contain experienced Hill staffers who know how to move things along. Mot senior level, experienced Hill staffers leave their jobs for one reason, and one reason only. Phone number paychecks working for lobbyists and special interests.
These last couple of days, I have heard commentators on all three major news platforms, MSNBC, NN, and FOX claiming that the Democrats may not have shown “good faith: in the team that they sent in to negotiate the end to the government shutdown. I see it exactly the opposite. Pelosi and Schumer sent in the experts, the ones who know what their bosses want, and the best way to get it. Dwayne Johnson may get $10 million for making a new blockbuster movie, but it’s a guy who only gets 10% of that, but who has spent years knowing exactly which buttons to push, and which words to say, who got it for him. Don’t judge a book by its cover, media.