Unexamined Premises

Prizzi's Honor, Seed of Chucky

The way we were: Oct. 2, 2013. (AP photo/Susan Walsh)

As the shutdown heads into its fourth week, the nation is getting used to the radical idea that we can actually do without the fleets of bureaucrats who, in the immortal words of the Declaration of Independence, have been “sent hither to harass our people and eat out their substance.” For decades, as the federal leviathan has grown ever larger, and poked its voracious snout into all manners of unconstitutional fodder, the people of the United States have largely sat idly by, hoping to catch some of the droppings from the creature’s maw in the belief that it will not eat them too as it forages merrily along.

To be sure, the furloughed public servants are merely suffering delayed paychecks thanks to the Democrats’ refusal to accept the results of the 2016 election, and while the public has not been as deliberately inconvenienced as it was during the dog-in-the-manger Obama shutdown, its effects are nevertheless being felt at such points of intersection as the national parks. Still, life has gone on otherwise pretty much as before — and the longer the shutdown rolls on, the more easily the way we were can be forgotten.

So the longer Donald Trump wrangles with his two superannuated cartoon antagonists, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the stronger the president’s position becomes. This despite the Democrat Media’s insistence that the shutdown is a terrible thing, costing the lives of (as usual) untold women, children, and minorities. Indeed, the New York Timesin an attempt to be helpful, even went so far as to illustrate “What the Shutdown Would Look Like if It Happened in Other Industries.”

The 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay is more than the 748,000 people employed by the mining and oil extraction industries in the United States. (And it’s 16 times the size of the entire coal mining industry.) It’s also more than the 640,000 people employed by the entire textiles and clothing manufacturing industry. It’s more than double the number of people who work for Target and more than four times the number of people who work at General Motors.

The Treasury department furloughed roughly 72,400 workers. That is nearly three times the number of people who work at FacebookThe Department of the Interior furloughed about 56,000 employees, which is more than the nearly 50,000 people who work at Chevron worldwide … and more than 10 times the number of people who work at Netflix.

One would think that these numbers only serve to prove how unconscionably large the federal government has become, but of course that’s not the way the Democrats and their fellow travelers near Times Square see it. The employer of last resort must stay in business to keep hiring more and more people for more and more positions in the metastasizing bureaucracy, where lifetime employment is very nearly a constitutional guarantee.

Trump’s best play, then, is to string out the shutdown as long as possible, keeping the pressure on the Democrats either to acknowledge the problem on the border, and the moral necessity of protecting the country from what amounts to a slow-motion invasion — a reconquista — from the Latin south, or to simply drop all pretense and come out for the abolition of the country as founded, on the grounds of, you know, racism.

As Maerose Prizzi and her consigliere are discovering, what can’t go on forever, won’t. As the national debt soars to ever more irrational levels, and the current deficit alone a trillion dollars, the brinksmanship must soon come to a crashing end, and if a good chunk of the federal workforce goes down with it, tant pis. The pair’s pathetic, boilerplated response to Trump’s speech Tuesday night was widely ridiculed: two tired political hacks taking their horror show on the road once too many times. From the wreckage, perhaps we can all make a fresh start. Then again, given the determined nature of the other team, maybe not:

Alas, even as Pelosi and Schumer start to fade away, their unholy partnership has bequeathed America a terrifying newcomer, who’s already picking up the hammer and sickle and getting ready to party. She’s too young to run for president in 2020, but have no doubt that the Democrats are grooming her as the female Barack Obama. Shutdown or no shutdown, here she comes:

It’s a race against time. Will the Trump GOP manage to secure the border, break the bureaucracy (a Republican invention, we should recall), and get a handle on the debt before the “Democratic Socialists” dance their way to power? Be afraid. Be very afraid.