America Held Hostage Day 26

Flags by Jasper Johns

I did a daily update on the 2013 Ted Cruz shutdown using the Jasper Johns image above and the *original* title of a teevee news show hosted by Ted Koppel. Here’s how I explained it back when Cruz was clean-shaven and idea of President* Trump was a punch line:

I keep dating myself (I kiss and tell too) on this blog but I do it for a good cause. I remember when ABC News launched a late night newscast after bored students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took a bunch of hostages to avoid studying for finals. The show was originally called America Held Hostage before morphing into Nightline, which is apparently still airing but I haven’t seen it in eons. A late night network news show is now kinda quaint but it was cutting edge in 1979.

The Trump shutdown is in its 26th day, which is the longest in American history. That makes it the latest in a series of dubious firsts for the Trump regime.

The modern era of extortion by government shutdown started in 1995 when Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House and Bill Clinton president. The Gingrich shutdown was the previous record holder at 21 days. Clinton stood frim and the GOP took the blame for that shutdown.

I feel the pain of federal workers who have missed a paycheck but it’s important for Democrats to hold firm on the Trump shutdown. If they cave, he will keep doing this every time his will is thwarted. It’s extortion pure and simple.

Speaker Pelosi’s SOTU gambit was smashing. She *is* the host of the event and is hoping that Trump will be unable to resist the clarion call of a speech in the most dramatic setting imaginable. The Insult Comedian loves the sound of sycophantic GOPers cheering his every lie, after all. He’s unlikely to revert to the pre-1913 custom of a written SOTU. Woodrow Wilson initiated the modern in-person SOTU but he was a noted orator, not a ranter like Trump.

It’s time to thank the president* for taking responsibility for the shutdown. I’ll never forget the smirk on Chuck Schumer’s face when Trump fell into that trap. It’s what happens when you have no impulse control and cannot STFU. That’s why Rex Tillerson called him a fucking moron. Thanks, Trumpy.

At day 26, it’s no longer just the Trump shutdown, it’s the Trump-McConnell shutdown. There are the votes in the Senate to override a presidential veto but Chinless Mitch won’t schedule a vote despite how badly Republicans are tanking in the polls. The Turtle has crawled back into his shell. I didn’t know they hibernated.

The last word on the Trump-McConnell-Limbaugh-Coulter shutdown goes to Josh Marshall:

Republicans are desperate – and not even doing much or well to hide it – to have Democrats start negotiating with them about a wall. We’ve moved on from demanding the chunk of money. Now it’s wanting to negotiate, begging frankly. For all the atmospherics and strategies, the only important point to make is that the President is holding the government hostage to force his way. That has to stop. The shutdown bacillus that Newt Gingrich injected into our political system in 1995 must be eradicated. It was dormant for almost two decades until Republicans (neo-Gingrichites) returned to power in the House in 2011. It’s wrong. It’s destructive. And it’s the same principle we apply to all terrorists. You can’t negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, because it encourages the behavior.

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