As kids we all played the blame game. You remember when your mom would come in and see water all over the bathroom floor you would blame your kid brother (who was nowhere near the bathroom). The fact that the lie was incredibly transparent didn’t prevent you from trying to make it work. Naturally, as we all got older we realized the folly of such transparent efforts at casting the blame on someone else.At least now, as adults, if we try to deflect blame we do it with greater sophistication and finesse. We make the assumption that the people we are dealing with are smart, aware and perceptive. However, the GOP has not learned that lesson. They really believe that we haven’t advanced beyond our attempts at childish deflection. But now the game they are playing is deadly serious. They are playing games with our national security.
Majority Leader McConnell and his band of tricksters have added a defunding rider to the bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security while stalling the President’s immigration Executive Order. When brought to a vote yesterday Democrats showed uncharacteristic cohesion and prevented it from being approved. In the mind of the GOP, by voting their disapproval the Democrats voted against funding Homeland Security, so it is a no win for the Democrats. Either they vote to defund immigration or Homeland Security. Since the Department of Homeland security will run out of money by the end of February, the GOP thinks they have the Democrats in a bind. It is this kind of cynical behavior, that is dependent on public ignorance and apathy, that will succeed only if we are stupid. They want to be able to cast blame on the Democrats if Homeland Security runs out of funds. That’s like saying your kid brother is responsible for the water on the bathroom floor. If we let them get away with this narrative and cave, we are stupid.
There can be no doubt that the next 20 months will be contentious as the new crop of Presidential candidates try to establish and differentiate themselves. While it is doubtful that the GOP nominee will come from the Senate, it clear that Congress as a whole will play an important supporting role in the campaign. Therefore each vote will be viewed in that larger context. It is critically vital that the Democrats remain united and call the GOP out when they create a false “Catch 22”. In this instance it is particularly ironic that the party of national security is jeopardizing our national security by its shortsighted actions. Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the all important border patrols responsible for keeping illegal Immigrants out are paid through the budget of the Department of Homeland Security. Therefore, the “anti-immigrant party” is about to make it easier for illegal immigrants to come into America. It does seem that these actions are inconsistent, irrational and not well thought through. It is, in fact, the kind of behavior I would expect from a child who is not expected to be mature enough to appreciate all of the ramifications of his behavior. However, the frightening reality is that this is the behavior of United States Senators elected to serve the best interests of our nation.
As I noted a couple of weeks ago after the State of the Union Address, the President is again showing the strength and commitment we saw in 2008. He has the GOP back on its heels trying to figure out how to respond to this unexpected development. For the sake of the nation, it is vital that he and the Democrats remain strong and unequivocal on their vision of tomorrow.