The President’s pitch this afternoon was a combination of rehashing his Oval Office address from two weeks ago with some limited sweeteners in exchange for $5.7 billion for his wall in order to try to bring the Democrats to the table and reopen the parts of the government that are in shutdown. This includes a temporary, three year DACA extension; a temporary, three year reinstatement of the Temporary Protected Status Program; and slight adjustments to the President’s hard line attempts to rewrite US law and treaty obligations in regards to those seeking asylum. The proposal was dead on arrival. It was dead on arrival with the Democrats, but it was also dead on arrival with the President’s revanchist, nativist, white supremacist, xenophobic, and neo-nationalist outside advisors and supporters.
The proposal was dead on arrival with the Democrats because the Democrats, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, seem to have finally learned that once you pay protection the first time, you never get out from under the thumb of the people running the protection racket. If the Democrats agree to any of the President’s requests regarding border security – from those they agree with such as funding for better technological solutions and more money to handle those seeking asylum, let alone those they don’t such as the wall – before he agrees to reopen the government and/or before Senate Majority Leader McConnell actually stops acting as if he’s a presidential appointee and not an actual senator, let alone the majority leader, then the President and/or Senator McConnell will just continue to take hostages in exchange for having their demands met. In fact the next hostage in their sites is the debt ceiling, which will come up again in March. Given that Mick Mulvaney of the Freedom Caucus is both the Acting Chief of Staff and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and his former colleagues still in Congress Mark Meadows and Gym Jordan have the President’s ear, they will be peddling him the same snake oil they’ve been peddling since 2011 – that it doesn’t matter if the US crashes through its debt ceiling. Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Schumer, and their caucuses can’t negotiate under these conditions because they’re not actually negotiations where everyone actually gives something to get something. They’re shakedowns. They’re an attempt to leverage a self made crisis, in this case by the President, abetted first by former Speaker Paul Ryan and now by Senate Majority Leader McConnell, to achieve what actually can’t be achieved through good faith legislative negotiations among legislators, between each chamber of Congress, and negotiations between Congress and the White House. The President believes in a zero sum world, in order for him to win, whomever he is dealing with must lose. Speaker Pelosi has no intention of losing.
The President’s proposal is also dead on arrival because his outside advisors and supporters feel betrayed by what he is proposing.
— Michael D. Shear (@shearm) January 19, 2019
Anne Coulter has already lambasted it:
Trump proposes amnesty. We voted for Trump and got Jeb!
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 19, 2019
100 miles of border wall in exchange for amnestying millions of illegals. So if we grant citizenship to a BILLION foreigners, maybe we can finally get a full border wall.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 19, 2019
Rush Limbaugh hasn’t weighed in yet, at least not that I’ve seen, nor has Hannity or Tucker. Ingraham sort of has on her twitter feed. My guess is they’re all waiting to see how this plays so they can figure out whether they need to slam the President to get him back into line or support him against the Democrats. Coulter really only wants full on white Christian herrenvolkism, so slamming the President on this right away is easy. Regardless, this isn’t playing well with his base and I’m sure that Stephen Miller, who both channels that base to the President and is in contact with the interest entrepreneurs who manipulate it, will do what he does best behind the scenes and by the time Senator McConnell can bring this to a vote, the President will have changed his mind again and walked away from the sweeteners.
The President cannot be negotiated with because he is not a reliable negotiator, changes his mind constantly, and lies constantly. Senator McConnell cannot be negotiated with because he is not a reliable negotiator and because he recognizes no rule, norm, tradition, and/or law unless it can be manipulated to benefit him. It is easy for the Democrats to reject this proposal. If they agree to anything before Senator McConnell brings the clean appropriations and continuing resolutions to the floor that the Senate under his leadership passed 100-0 during the lame duck session in December 2018 and the President agrees to sign it before negotiations over immigration and border security start, then they have surrendered on every legislative and policy dispute for as long as the President is in office and Senator McConnell is the leader of his caucus.
The President’s base and supporters rejecting this proposal is also easy. What they really want is all immigration or, at least, all immigration by non-whites to cease. They want the US closed. And they want the people they hate* – people who are Hispanics and Latinx, Native Americans, African, Arab , Asian , Muslims, Jews, non-Christians, and/or LGBTQ – to be excluded from the US, those who are already here excluded from the full rights and privileges of citizenship and residency, and the government of the US reestablished solely for the welfare, security, and posterity of white Christian Americans.
Every time they try to achieve this they lose. Often those losses have come at great cost. Perhaps this time when they lose the rest of us should work very hard to make the changes that will ensure they don’t try again at some future time.