The Federal government shutdown demonstrates political failures on multiple levels by the majority party, to wit:

1:  Failure by the majority whips (Senator Cornyn and Representative Scalise) to broker the political deals necessary to ensure a unified vote of their party.  Were I Speaker Ryan or especially Majority Leader McConnell I would be having very sharp words with my whips while inquiring as to why our party, with a Constitutional majority in both houses, could not unify to pass a budget bill or budget continuing resolution.

2:  Failure by Majority Leader McConnell to use an established Senate tactic to pass legislation with 51 votes.  The procedure used to seat Justice Gorsuch could have been used to pass the budget legislation bypassing the need for 60 votes–basically, attempt to stop the Democratic filibuster; have the filibuster affirmed by the Parliamentarian; vote to overrule the Parliamentarian by simple majority; overrule the Parliamentarian and then pass the legislation via simple majority.  Indeed, on many of the political talk-shows across the political spectrum over the past week it seems this procedure was the anticipated route to passage until Thursday afternoon when the Senate began talk of needing 60 votes for passage.  That would indicate that not all Senate Republicans were “on board”–refer back to point 1.

3:  Failure by the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate to prioritize legislation correctly.  In this, the budget legislation should have been prioritized and passed in the House BEFORE tax reform, at a time when Luther Strange and John McCain were able to be in the Senate thus giving the GOP at least 51 (or more likely 52) votes necessary to pass legislation in the manner explained in point 2.  Knowing McCain is ill and that Strange was leaving the Senate and failing to fully take advantage of their votes is a political blunder of massive proportions.

4:  Failure by President Trump to exhibit his self-proclaimed “dealmaking skills”.  Were they effective then at the very least one should have seen all GOP lawmakers in both houses united to pass legislation OR a bipartisan effort with completed legislation presented by a triumphant President in the Oval Office in a well-deserved, well-earned display of mature governance (and a tremendous publicity opportunity).  Since this did not happen an observer must wonder where the President’s dealmaking skills went during this crucial time.  Perhaps they will return soon.

Conservative media and political figures are presenting this shutdown as the responsibility of the minority party.  The evidence suggests it is the responsibility of a majority party that 1)–cannot organize its membership into a coherent and reliable voting bloc; 2)–that lacks strategic leadership in Congress; and 3)–that seems to lack a President with the skills necessary to navigate difficult political waters.

Alexander Vasquez