John Boehner is kidding himself if he thinks a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security would be blamed on Democrats, but he certainly seems willing to test the theory.
Senator John McCain, on the other hand, is not quite so anxious. Appearing on Meet the Press, he told Chuck Todd that "[Americans] want things done. You cannot cut funding from the Department of Homeland Security. We need to sit down and work this thing out."
He's right on the political side of it for sure. The only reason Republicans have the majority is because the electorate decided that if divided government wasn't working, they'd try putting the entire Congress into the hands of Republicans. Right now that's looking like a terrible judgment call.
The Hill reports that moderate Republicans like McCain are ready to pass a clean funding bill and move on in order to avoid the inevitable scorn they will feel if the self-proclaimed party of national security leaves the agency responsible for it shuttered.
“More likely Republicans will be blamed. We control the House and the Senate,” former Homeland Security Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) told The Hill on Friday. Americans “know that we caused the last government shutdown, so we have the lasting specter of Ted Cruz hanging over us,” he added.
“Especially in New York, you’re reading about ISIS, about Paris, reading about beheadings and people burned to death, and our response is to shut down Homeland Security?” asked King, who lost more than 100 constituents in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Other Republicans have fresh memories of how the GOP’s popularity plunged in the fall of 2013 after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) rallied conservatives to shut down the federal government for 16 days in a failed bid to defund Obamacare.
“Everytime the Republicans think our strategy is gonna work out politically and the president will be seen as the one who has stopped the workings of government, it has not worked that well for us and we have been the ones to blame,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said. “So I’m optimistic in these coming days that we can find a way forward.”
Shutting down Homeland Security is taking it to a new level however, going after a big Republican constituency (national police personnel along with ex-military and flag waving patriots) at a time when foreign policy and national security are at the top of the agenda. Very risky business for them.
Watch the GOP presidential candidates over the next week or so and we'll probably see whether the establishment is just doing a kabuki dance or if they're really nervous.
Meanwhile, the nativists are going hard at it. Here's a small example from Judson Phillips of the horribly racist Tea Party Nation. Entitled "Stealing America", Phillips writes:
The left has a huge problem. They want power. They need power. They live for power. Nothing makes liberals more miserable than when they are voted out of power. They do not care what the will of the people is, liberals believe they should never be removed from power.
Now, the left is doing something that will help them steal America. No, this is not simply stealing an election. This is stealing America.
What are they doing?
Barack Obama’s executive Amnesty, which the Republicans are pretending to oppose, is making it easier for illegal aliens to vote in elections. Under the Obama Amnesty, illegal aliens are getting Social Security numbers. Many states are now rushing to give illegal aliens driver’s licenses. Under the 1996 “Motor Voter” law, local DMV’s are required to offer people who get a driver’s license the opportunity to register to vote.
A Social Security number and a driver’s license are often all the verification that someone needs to register, even if they are not a citizen.
I think we know where that's going. This is the kind of person that John Boehner is giving in to in order to pretend there is any kind of cohesiveness or ability to govern on the part of Republicans.
When you hear him blame the Senate Democrats, think about Judson Phillips and remember that's who he's pandering to.