Is Nancy Pelosi prepared to stonewall on the Border Wall/government shutdown showdown even though she’s anticipating that it would “create a serious safety hazard” for Americans or “take a big chunk out of the economy” – which would involve major job and wage loss? Is she counting on this, at least to some degree, to win a big political victory? I certainly don’t know the answer. But Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin thinks she does. Moreover, those aren’t only precisely the claims she made in a column this past week. It’s a position for which she believes the House Speaker deserves praise.
In the process, Rubin both showed how far into fringe Never Trump-er territory she’s proudly marched.
The point in question came at the end of a piece in which Rubin fulsomely praised Pelosi’s skill in dealing with Mr. Trump – and especially her shutdown-related decision in effect to prevent the President from delivering the annual State of the Union speech in its traditional (but not Constitutionally mandated) place on the House of Representatives floor. According to Rubin:
“We don’t know how this will end, but should the shutdown create a serious safety hazard or take a big chunk out of the economy, there is little doubt who’s going to get the blame. And Pelosi knows it.”
My overall take on the Border Wall/shutdown battle is that Mr. Trump has demonstrated far more willingness to compromise than has the Speaker – and that it’s up to her to start reciprocating in order to re-open the government and minimize the chances that major damage will be done. But you don’t have to agree with me to recognize how bizarre – in fact, outright sick – Rubin’s contentions are.
For Rubin here is not simply saying that Pelosi is playing the same kind of game of chicken as Mr. Trump, or placing more of the blame on the President because she considers his position less defensible. Rubin is also saying that, regardless of the merits, Pelosi is basing her stance at least in part on an expectation that a shutdown-related calamity, either disaster-wise or economy-wise, will take place, and that most of the resulting blame will fall on Mr. Trump and his party and his cause – not hers. And in Rubin’s view, what’s most important to know about this calculation is how likely it would be to harm the President, and how therefore it crowns Pelosi as a political genius.
What the column really shows, of course, is that Rubin is so thoroughly infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome that it’s more important for her to see the President take a major political hit than to maximize the odds that everyday Americans don’t take major economic and worse hits from the shutdown. And unless Rubin is wrong, and she really isn’t counting on this, no one should be more offended by this column than Pelosi.