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Republicans Can Win The Shutdown If…

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

It’s not a joke to say Republicans have an uncanny knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Of all the things the GOP excels at, this tops the charts. So as the longest partial shutdown of the government in history rolls on, it’s important to take a moment to check the status of things and game out how things could go. And, believe it or not, Republicans could actually end up with money for a border wall (or barrier, whatever) if only they ignore all their natural instincts and stand strong.


The sad profiles of federal employees claiming to be on the verge of destruction have already begun, as have the stories of others impacted by the absence of a small percentage of a small percentage of the government. These “human interest” stories are a staple of everything liberals do – appealing to feelings is much easier than making a logical argument when your policies make no logical sense. 

Rather than being sucked into answering for every sad tale of woe, most of which are fed to reporters by liberal activists and Democratic operatives, Republicans have to stand strong and refuse to take the bait. Respond to these inquiries with simple, obvious truths like, “It’s sad what’s happening. I wish Democrats had kept the House in session this weekend so we could work together to end this, but they have no interest in negotiation. So maybe you should ask them about it.” 

Most of these stories don’t stand up to basic scrutiny. As I said on my podcast on Thursday, one of the first stories of hardship doesn’t make any sense, but it was reported as fact anyway. 

CNBC reported on a man whose purchase of a new home was put on hold because of the shutdown. They reported, “Michael Thallheimer was looking forward to hosting Christmas Day at his new three-bedroom house in Rio Dell, California.  Then the government shutdown hit on Dec. 22, putting his USDA loan on hold. The government's mortgage program for low- and middle-income Americans in rural areas is currently not issuing any new funds in the meantime.”


The 22nd was a Friday, the shutdown didn’t start until midnight. How was this guy planning on hosting Christmas Day the following Tuesday, even with both Monday and Tuesday being federal holidays? Aside from the logistics of moving and hosting anything other than an unpacking party a few days later, how did the shutdown ruin his plans? Were federal workers going to work on the weekend to process his paperwork? Were they going to forego their Monday holiday? None of it makes sense, and none of it appears to have been questioned by the reporter. 

CNBC simply published it because of its emotional appeal. “Thallheimer doesn't know how much longer his landlord will let him stay at his current rental house, from which he was supposed to be long gone.  ‘I may have to be homeless for a while,’ Thallheimer, 58, said,” they wrote.

I don’t know the truth, but it sure doesn’t seem like the reporter does either. Yet only one of us seems to have any questions about a story that doesn’t hold up under casual scrutiny. 

There may be a logical reason for it, like shoddy writing, but it comes across as too good to check. And that’s what Republicans are up against as the shutdown rolls into its 4th week. 

All Republicans have to do is ignore their instincts, their weaker members, every pundit and journalist, and stick to their guns. 

A few Republicans have expressed a desire to cave, but they’re the ones whose natural position is submission - the Lisa Murkowskis of the world. Otherwise, it’s been refreshing to see so many not only refuse to buckle, but actually fight back. 


Across the aisle, Democrats are seeing cracks. Far more have spoken favorably of some kind of compromise that includes a barrier than Republicans begging for mercy. 

That fact will lead to more “shutdown stories,” because it’s all the left has. 

Their talking points have been surprisingly weak – calling walls “immoral” or saying they don’t work (which makes anyone who understands what happens when 2 solids meet, laugh). They’ve already started down the path of their disgusting hail mary pass – cries of racism. These aren’t the actions of people winning an argument. 

President Trump and Congressional Republicans have their fate in their hands, which is what makes me nervous. The mutant liberal army and rent-a-mob protesters are about to come out in full-force to cause made for TV scenes of screaming in faces and hearing on the Hill (think Kavanaugh hearings on steroids). 

A wall, a barrier, a couple of rocks stacked on top of each other, or some tall grass are all things that will trigger the Democratic Party’s army in the coming days. Government unions will provide the victims, and the media will provide the megaphone. But what Democrats don’t have on their side is common sense. 

Walls work. If the objective is to stop the flow of people and drugs across the vast open spaces along the border, something more than a line on a map is required. And the American people know that. 


Republicans are holding all the cards here, the only thing needed before the mounting pressure cracks Democrats in half is for them to have a spine; to prove their underpants aren’t empty and keep the government shutdown until, come Hell or high water, funding for a wall is passed out of Congress and signed by the president. It’s really that simple…which is why I worry that Republicans will screw it up.

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