Nancy Pelosi is clearly playing hardball by essentially disinviting President Trump from giving a State of the Union address at the end of January. It’s a good move in terms of political leverage and to make a point. But it’s good for a reason that goes beyond political posturing or negotiation. It’s the same reason it was a good thing that Democratic senators are refusing to move bills on non-budgetary issues until the shutdown ends.
The President has deliberately, intentionally stopped the federal government from functioning, except on certain continuity over government bases, to force an issue that has little public support and which he’s unwilling to bargain over through a normal legislative process. That’s not okay and we can’t allow it to migrate into becoming normal. The foundational role of the federal government and the essential responsibility of those who run it is that it runs. It isn’t security or the general welfare or anything else. It’s to run it. It’s no different from the fundamental responsibility of the electrical utility, which is that the electricity works. It’s critical to preserve the reality that this is a crisis and really nothing can be discussed or dealt with before this crisis is addressed.
Otherwise it migrates into something normal and it’s not normal.
We should remember that Newt Gingrich first injected the bacillus of shutdownism into the body politic in 1995. The political consequences were so catastrophic that it remained dormant for almost two decades until the neo-Gingrichites took over the House in 2011. Since then we’ve had basically nonstop shutdowns, albeit most quite short. This needs to be eradicated from the framework of American government. It is almost exclusively the work of Republicans and it is an attack on the very foundation of democratic government. It’s pure hostage taking and extortion. To the extent it continues to exist it needs to be recognized for the grave crisis and abnormality that it is.