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I don’t think it was a cave.

Rather, I suspect it was a rearward advance to a previously-prepared position.  (Some would call that “a retreat”; I would call it “a trap”, but we’ll see where events lead us.)

Anyway,

Pelosi may think she won something, but if she won anything, the victory was Pyrrhic.  Her numbers are in the tank.  She didn’t get the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year, and she’s got another deadline looming in less than three weeks.  Trump may very well throw up his hands at the end of that period and tell the American public, “Well, I tried, but Pelosi is intransigent and isn’t interested in protecting American lives and property from an invasion over our southern border.”  Americans in general (other than the nutbag millennial progressives who were mind-raped by our universities over the past 20 years or so) are looking at the facts:

  • Trump is enunciating clearly that there is a national security problem at the border, and the “caravans” are only adding fuel to his fire
  • Trump stayed in Washington over the Christmas holiday trying to get some negotiations going
  • Pelosi and crew took off for the Caribbean and spent their Christmas on the beach
  • Dueling “fuck yous”: Pelosi cancels Trump’s invitation to SOTU, Trump cancels Pelosi’s boondoggle holiday junket
  • Trump continues to point to national security; Pelosi continues to stonewall on The Wall

Americans in general are seeing this chain of events and starting to think (if they didn’t know it already) there is something terribly wrong with the left wing of American politics.  They may not be rabid Trump supporters (they may indeed hate his guts), but they’re not happy about the fact that reasonable accommodations are not being made by the Democrats, who instead of taking Trump seriously are haring off to warmer climes and pursuing their own agendas that haven’t a chance in hell of succeeding as long as the GOP holds the Senate.

What I find most interesting is reports that some House Democrats are beginning to show signs of unrest over Pelosi’s stonewalling.  Not all Democrats are Pelosi and Hoyer and the egregious AOC.  Some still have enough brains to understand that their constituencies back home are not happy about the border situation and want something done, even if it’s not a $5 billion wall.  (The poll I saw reported over the weekend said that 80% of respondents want the border situation addressed, and not in a bullshit, handwaving way.)  Trump was even ready to hand Democrats a legal DACA solution AND fund payroll for the government workers who had missed a paycheck — and the leadership rebuffed him, showing that they actually don’t give a damn about the kids who were brought here by their illegal immigrant parents, other than using them as political props.  But there were defectors who crossed the aisle to vote with Republicans on these measures, suggesting that Pelosi’s grip on the Speaker’s gavel isn’t as firm as she thinks it is.  (Which should have been obvious anyway.)

The consensus on Saturday seemed to be that Trump had blinked and Pelosi had won.

I don’t think so.

GOPers need to keep their powder dry and see how the next three weeks play out.  If Trump continues to appear to be the good-faith negotiator and Pelosi et al. continue to stonewall, you have to wonder how much longer the rank and file Dems will continue to march in lockstep.  Members of the House have a problem — they get re-elected every two years.  Memories have a lot less time to fade.  And if they keep blocking a partial but significant fix* to a serious problem down on the border, more and more Members are going to start to think it’s time for real negotiations and compromises.

I keep saying it but people don’t listen:  Trump is a businessman, not a politician.  The art of deal-making is the art of compromise.  Trump keeps saying he wants a $5 billion Wall, but in truth, if it can be proven that spending less money to shore up existing wall sections, build out the wall sections that have already been authorized in past years, add additional high-tech protection in areas with less physical protection, and maybe even add more Border Patrol personnel is all we really need to do, Trump will likely accept that if the Dems are prepared to make some concessions from their side — like admitting there is a problem in the first place.

The more the Dems refuse to negotiate and compromise in good faith, the more they expose their real agenda to patriotic Americans.  The question is, how much longer will patriotic Americans stand for this bullshit?

PS:  I hope you’ll note that instead of immediately jumping all over this and getting upset that Trump had surrendered (like a lot of conservatives reflexively did), I waited until Monday and thought about the situation and its possible ramifications over the weekend.  As with the Covington affair, people need to stop shooting from the fucking hip, get the facts, and apply some critical thinking before they just go off and say something the Internet will never let them live down.  Get off Facebook and spend some time in the clean world.  It will do wonders for your ability to see things as they really are.

EDIT 1/29 TO ADD:  I’ve seen other people say that if he’s going to declare an emergency and build the wall with DoD funds, he should just have gone ahead and not give the Dems three weeks of breathing space.  But face it — Trump has to bend over backwards to make it clear that he’s not the obstacle, the Dems are.  Thus he stayed in DC over Christmas and said he was ready to negotiate at any time, while Pelosi and crew scarpered.  He could as easily have headed to Florida and held meetings via Skype if Pelosi wanted to talk.  Staying at the White House simply emphasized his readiness to talk and her unwillingness to budge (to the extent that she told her people to go ahead and leave town for Christmas).  It was an exercise in gamesmanship of appearances, and I think Trump won.

Likewise, the dueling “fuck you’s” were an unforced error on Pelosi’s part and a masterstroke by Trump.  Pelosi’s only possible reason for withdrawing the SOTU invitation was to deny Trump his national stage at a point where he could have used it to win the shutdown.  It was shallow and catty and mean, but that’s Pelosi.  On the other hand, Trump cancelling Pelosi’s junket at the last possible moment simply pointed up how unserious Pelosi was about the shutdown — for her, it was business as usual, despite the fact that the shutdown was close to a month old.  Trump shut that shit down hard, and you have to wonder if it had anything to do with how smoothly they came to agreement to reopen for three weeks and negotiate.

Not that I expect anything to come out of the negotiations.  It’s long been a tenet of diplomacy that the less you want a negotiation or a treaty to succeed, the more people you rope into the process.  There are seventeen people on that committee.  That’s at least twelve or thirteen too many.  Too many opinions means there will not be a serious agreement or understanding produced by the time the committee’s brief ends.  My guess is as good as anyone’s at this point, but I think we’ll be back to shutdown city after the end of the three-week hiatus.

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* The Wall is not a panacea and never has been (and I’m sure DJT knows it), but it’s a start.  Certain pundits have pointed out that drug traffic coming across the border is a result of American demand for drugs; without demand, there’s no cross-border trade.  On the other hand, the War on Drugs always has been and always will be a failure.  MS-13 is definitely a problem, but it’s a problem that can be dealt with if law enforcement is serious about it; for one thing, just start killing the fuckers when you find them instead of trying to arrest them.  I’ve said the same about drug dealers and drug cookers for years.  Cockroach?  Kill it.  If your chances of dying when you get caught rise significantly, you might think twice about being stupid.  No amount of money is worth bleeding out against a wall somewhere.  Want to get serious about dealing with these problems?  Make it a death sentence, to be executed immediately, to belong to a gang and/or deal in or manufacture illegal drugs.  If you have to, commission special magistrates to travel with the police to make sure it’s all legal.  Do I give a damn if that sounds like kangaroo courts or Judge Dredd?  No.  Get caught with a coven of MS-13 or with illegal drugs on your person, or red-handed cooking meth, you fucking deserve to die; you’re irredeemable as a human being because you hold the lives of other human beings so cheaply.  “I’m only filling an existing demand” isn’t an excuse.