John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Why Democrats oppose the wall

Posted on January 8, 2019
The food is terrible and the portions are so small.

That’s what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) objection to the Trump wall reminds me of.

It’s immoral and so expensive!

The real reason that congressional Democrats oppose the president’s number one campaign promise is the same reason that they insisted that George H.W. Bush sign a tax increase back in 1990.

They want to destroy Trump’s credibility, especially with his base.

Nothing about this debate is about morality or cost.

It’s all about politics, folks.

Walls, in and of themselves, don’t offer moral judgments.

Yes, we have had bad walls in the past. Berlin comes to mind.

But put yourselves in the shoes of the Soviet apparatchiks who built it. How could they have sustained their communist model with all of their people absconding to the West, where the taxes were lower and the food was plentiful?

Walls have served a purpose in the past and continue to serve a purpose today.

Hadrian built one to keep the Celtic barbarians from overwhelming the Roman Empire. And peace walls are still up in Belfast, perhaps because they remind us all of a more violent history but perhaps to keep that history from repeating itself.

Trump has an unfortunate habit of working hard to keep his campaign promises and it drives official Washington crazy.

I have heard that he gets up every morning and buzzes his Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, pounding him on the continued high cost of drug prices.

I assure you if the president were to adopt the Democratic position on prescription drugs, they would oppose him — well, just because you can’t have a Republican president doing something about high drug prices.

It’s all politics, folks.

For years, the Democrats have pushed to get trade deals that have more protections for labor unions and their members. The president is trying to do precisely that in the new North American Free Trade Agreement that his administration negotiated last year and by imposing tariffs on China.

Predictably, the Democrats now oppose what Trump is trying to achieve. They are all born-again free traders.

Of course, it is the wall that most animated the Trump campaign and it is the wall that must be stopped at all costs by the new Democratic majority.

I was watching the local news the other day, and they reported that the $5 billion dollars that the president has asked to pay for the wall would amount to about 40 bucks per taxpayer.

If that is so, it doesn’t seem like that big of a price to pay to get more border security and to reopen the 25 percent of the federal government that wasn’t included in the Department of Defense/Labor/HHS spending package that the president signed into law last year.

Now cynics might say that even if the Democrats cave and give Trump his money for the wall, he is still breaking a campaign promise because he assured us that Mexico was going to pay for it.

And of course, they would be right.

The president did promise that Mexico would pay for the wall and that looks very unlikely.

But the Democrats are not willing to take that chance. And I think they have a point.

Let’s say, for example, that Mr. Trump, in a press conference in October of 2020, is able to point to a huge steel fence on the outskirts of Laredo, Texas, and say that he delivered on his No. 1 campaign promise and then announce that he has a secret agreement that Mexico will pay for it.

Who cares if the Mexican government denies it? The Trump base will be pumped and the government shutdown will be long-forgotten.

That’s the worst-case scenario for the Democrats: A Republican president who can point to a wall to prove he keeps his promises.

And that’s why Nancy Pelosi won’t give Donald Trump his wall. It’s not about morality or cost. It’s all about politics.