S.-Show in Trumpville

Federal government shut-down shenanigans. Big shout-out to our man on the White House beat, Jonathan Lemire from Lowell of the Associated Press and MSNBC TV, for his crisp, insightful, and informed commentary when paired last night with veteran broadcaster Brian Williams as they followed the folly in the US Senate in real-time leading up to 12 midnight. For a long stretch it was just Jon and Brian until analysts began phoning in (Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd) and popping up in video feeds (Kimberly Atkins of the Boston Herald and others). The play-by-play was painful to watch with Sen. Graham of South Carolina in the middle of a huddle of 25 Democrats and Republican Jeff Flake — negotiating for an acceptable time frame for another kick of the budget can down the road. All this while reporters checked in to say the President was monitoring TV coverage. Nearing midnight, the White House put out an offensive tweet attacking Sen. Schumer and the Dems, showing that there was no interest in fair bargaining. Despite a meeting earlier with DT and Schumer in which Schumer (not a favorite of mine) said Dems would be willing to add funding for the famous US Wall (never to be paid for by Mexico, be sure of that) to the discussions on the brink. Jon kept us posted with texts and his Twitter receipts. The clock ticked down to 12:00 AM with the incompetence and arrogance of Senate Majority Leader McConnell on full display. And when it was his turn to tell the public that he had failed to gain the votes needed to pass the budget extension, McConnell’s prepared invective against the Dems rang false. He is trying to figuratively pin the tail on the “Donkey” party, but enough Dems stayed as stubborn as their mascot’s stereotype. The GOP controls House, Senate, and Presidency—it’s their failure. Meanwhile, the villain in the White House said he would not bargain toward a solution until the Dems surrendered to McConnell. All this being no surprise, something the Senators knew was coming weeks and months ago. The GOP in Wash DC is trouble and should be sent packing in November, a long way away. The whole debacle was an embarrassment and a case in point about why DT was elected President in 2016. Trump convinced enough people that he would get the federal gov’t machinery patched up. But it’s been nothing like that. He has no interest in rising above the mess. He manufactures chaos for his own benefit—that’s what it looks like from the outside.