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Should the GOP Shut Down the Government Over Vaccine Mandates?

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Shutting down the government is always a good time—concerning having things to write about. It's usually a losing proposition for the side whose party doesn't occupy the White House. Why? Well, it's simple: you're never going to beat the bully pulpit of the presidency. 

The GOP lost the shutdown battle with Bill Clinton. They also lost the 2013 shutdown battle over health care with Obama. In these fights, even when the opposing party controls Congress, the White House will usually come out on top. Can the same be said about this president? Say what you will about Barack Obama, but the man had political skill. He was not pegged as slow, weak, or frail. He could bring it when needed—and he didn't barf out word salad that didn't make any sense a la Biden. I only ask since we have some Republicans who are mulling shutting down the government over vaccine mandates. 

The government is about to run out of money again. We're about to start the continuing resolution games, and there will be haggling. It's the same old game, but Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) doesn't want to be part of any bill that funds the draconian COVID protocols that Democrats adore (via NY Post): 

A group of Republican lawmakers led by Texas’ Rep. Chip Roy is calling on GOP leadership to withhold its support for a bill needed to avert a government shutdown next month if COVID-19 vaccine mandates remain in place.

“After Feb. 18, 2022, government funding will expire and congressional Republicans must once again decide whether they will vote to fund a federal government that is enforcing tyrannical COVID-19 vaccine mandates on the American people,” the lawmakers wrote to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

The Supreme Court recently struck down a vaccine-or-test rule for companies with at least 100 employees. However, mandates are still in effect for the military, federal employees, federal contractors and most medical workers.

The members argued that by funding the government, lawmakers are agreeing to fund the implementation of the mandates despite voicing individual opposition.

Should we roll the dice on this? Joe is not Clinton. He’s not Obama. He can’t string sentences together. Any presser about a hypothetical shutdown would be scripted, staged—and with all the usual pre-screened questions. You must maneuver—quickly. Joe can’t do that. You must be visible. Joe calls lids around 12:45pm every day. Given what we’ve seen, a shutdown fight could cause Joe to collapse. 

There's a lot on the table. It could further expose this administration as incompetent. It could confirm what has been widely reported: that Joe Biden's staff does most if not all the work as the man simply cannot keep up. At the same time, even with a weak president, it could lead to Biden riding an approval surge as the public will probably blame the GOP for a government shutdown. That's what usually happens unless an ulterior motive is blatantly obvious. Senator Chuck Schumer tried a shutdown fight with former President Trump and quickly retreated when it was clear to everyone and their mother that Democrats were doing this to save illegal aliens. 

Biden's numbers are in the toilet right now. A shutdown fight could cause those to rise. I know he's weak and lost in the woods, but given the track record of shutdown fights not being won by the president as of late—it's not too good. Is it worth going for it when Biden is doing his best to screw his own party over for the 2022 midterms? He's already crumbling. Why start a fight that Republicans could very well lose and make him seem likable, if only for a brief while? I'd rather weaponize the Democrats' love affair with these COVID protocols that have been undercut by the science, especially on masks. Those who think the pre-vaccine regime is effective at curbing the spread are neck-deep in science fiction. Better yet, the local level is where a lot of this stuff can be chipped away, so pay attention to your local county commission and state lawmaker races. 

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