Democrats appear to be winning the public blame game after the government shut down.

Democrats appear to be winning the public blame game after the government shut down.

Let's play the blame game

The big news this week is, of course, the federal government’s shutdown. The last time the government shut down was in 2013, when demands by rightwing Republicans on the Affordable Care Act froze the appropriations process for 16 days. This year’s shutdown is much different, of course, driven by disagreements over immigration policy (and it’s not a precise Dem-GOP argument), and in one sad way it’s unprecedented: there has never, in the 242-year history of the United States of America, been a government shutdown when one party had control of the presidency and the two legislative branches of Congress.

  • The exact dispute is this: Republicans are demanding the government be funded before any immigration talks take place, while Democrats are insisting that protection for ‘dreamers,’ the approximately 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children, be part of any funding deal. Whichever side wins will immediately have the leverage in any negotiations over DACA and immigration reform.
  • A public blame game is playing out between Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Minority Leader, and the White House: Schumer’s accused Trump of setting a moving target after negotiations between the two failed on Friday, and Trump is accusing Democrats of “holding our Military hostage” and choosing undocumented immigrants over American citizens.
    • At the moment, it seems like more Americans agree with Schumer: according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, about 48% of respondents placed the blame on Trump and congressional Republicans, while just 28% blamed congressional Democrats. Democrats are also winning the image battle on social media: the hashtag #TrumpShutdown beat out #SchumerShutdown on Twitter, as Reuters reports.
  • Despite the public animus, there is some movement on a bill to fund the government through February 8th.
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a vote on the short-term funding bill for Monday, at 1am.
    • Moderates on both sides met in Susan Collins’ (R-ME) office to discuss a path forward, though nothing’s come out of these discussions, that we know of.
  • The shutdown took place on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, and forced him to cancel plans for a lavish celebration/fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. An upcoming trip to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum is also in limbo.

The Washington Post has answers to everything you’d want to know about the government shutdown.

The Editors at the National Review are urging Republicans to “hang tough,” arguing that “the Democratic demands both are unreasonable in themselves and set a bad precedent.”

At the New Yorker, Benjamin Wallace-Wells asserts that the shutdown is really about who gets to be an American.

Lightning round:

The Women’s March 2.0 again drew hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of participants all across the world.

  • Women were encouraged to register to vote, as part of the process of channeling the protests into a movement.
  • President Trump acknowledged the marches on Twitter but attempted to spin them as a celebration of “the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months.”


Facebook is now ranking news organizations that are active on its platform by user feedback, relinquishing its role as arbiter.

  • “We decided that having the community determine which sources are broadly trusted would be most objective,” wrote Mark Zuckerberg.


Amazon announced the final 20 cities/regions in the running to be the home for its second headquarters, or HQ2.

  • The finalists are: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Columbus (Ohio), Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montgomery County (Maryland), Nashville, Newark, New York, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Toronto, and Washington DC.


Tom Petty died last year from a drug overdose, according to the Los Angeles County coroner.

  • From the LA Times: “An autopsy found that Petty had several drugs in his system, including fentanyl, oxycodone, temazepam, alprazolam, citalopram, acetylfentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl.”
  • Petty’s family attributed his overdose to a painful broken hip.


The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to hear arguments on Trump’s travel ban.


The US Justice Department intends to retry Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NY) on corruption charges after a jury failed to reach a verdict back in November.

header image: lorie shaull / flickr

International roundup: “Operation Olive Branch”

International roundup: “Operation Olive Branch”

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