by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s worth reflecting on the issues that dominated the American political landscape just a few days ago if only to fully apprehend just how inconsequential they are.
For the better part of a month, House Republicans argued amongst themselves over whether it was necessary or even desirable to keep the U.S. government open if they failed to use leverage they did not have over Democrats to secure spending cuts. It was a conversation divorced from political reality, and it produced only one concession from the party in power — cutting off support for a U.S. partner that has been ruthlessly invaded by an overt American enemy. That concession proved unsatisfying because the debate in question was only ever a proxy fight over which Republicans had enough power to satisfy their ambitions. In the end, a handful of Republicans joined with Democrats to oust the speaker, paralyzing the House and calling into question the body’s legal authority to respond to world-altering events overseas.
The Biden administration had committed itself to frenetic gestures in its effort to convince its constituents that it wasn’t completely feckless. Last week, it was busily attacking Republicans for taking advantage of a law as it was written to make some obtuse case for ignoring the Constitution in the effort to cancel student loans. On a separate front, it assured its voters that it had done its best to avoid complying with the law that compelled it to okay the construction of a piddling 20 miles of border fencing amid a crisis that has seen nearly 3 million people pour over the border in a single fiscal year. The Biden administration seemed to regard the menace posed by America’s porous borders as subordinate to the undesirable political consequences associated with doing anything about it.