Remember when everybody on Capitol Hill agreed that DACA needed to be extended? Nobody wanted to see these young undocumented Americans living under the threat of deportation- or so that was how the story went. Democrats and Republicans were all on the same page right before Christmas that the very first order of business in January of 2018 would be to get this easy item taken care of. Now it is mid-March and nothing has happened for those being protected by DACA. This is a frustrating turn of events but I saw it coming because I saw this kind of game played over and over again in a very different context growing up.
I grew up in a very urbanized area of Detroit. There were a lot of people around who pretty much spent their days trying to figure out how to separate other people from their valuables. There was this thing called “the Lucy” that was based on the Peanuts cartoons where Lucy would convince Charlie Brown to try to kick the football over and over again and she’d pull it away at the last minute. She’d laugh while he flew through the air screaming in fear and anguish.
In my neighborhood it was better to actually get robbed physically than to fall for “the Lucy” because it reflected something amiss in your character that would make you a perpetual victim. You could thwart a robbery just by seeing it coming and having a pocket knife at the ready. But if your mind is wired to be a little bit too gullible or a little bit too averse to conflict or a little bit too scared, you might fall for a “Lucy” every damned day of the week. It’ll never end and you’ll never win until you make a change within yourself.
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi fell for “the Lucy” in a major way. The Republicans insisted that they were going to bring DACA to the floor in January for a vote. With DACA in place, Dreamers do not face deportation. Without it, all hell will break loose and they will be in the most precarious position a young person can be in. It is a truly untenable arrangement for us to allow anybody to live under those conditions in the “land of the free.”
So, as the Republican sales pitch went, there was no reason for the Democrats to hold their feet to the fire and insist on a DACA vote in December before the budget gets done. No, Chuck and Nancy, don’t bring this up NOW while you have all of the leverage in the world. Just wait until January after we’ve had a month to have a drunken celebratory parade about passing the tax cut bill, undermine the Russia investigation and blame YOU for the insurance markets collapsing. At that point you will have far less leverage than you have now, but that’s okay because we all want DACA to be addressed- even our president who pretty much hates everybody who wasn’t born in a red state- much less out of state.
When Chuck and Nancy voted with the Republicans to fund the government in December and wait on a DACA extension vote in January they blew the best chance they’d have until 2020.
To be clear Paul Ryan couldn’t be sure he could pass a government funding bill without Nancy Pelosi because the Republican “Freedom Caucus” can be counted on to obstruct like f**k and will vote against the bill- and it would fail and cause a government shutdown. Nancy and Chuck were afraid that the Democrats would get blamed if there was a government shutdown. So they are going to go along with Paul “The Butcher” Ryan because he can’t control his own caucus and they are afraid the voters will punish THEM for it.
So when January rolled around and the Republicans pulled a Lucy and snatched the DACA ball away, the Democrats are going to look as stupid and hapless as Charlie Brown flying through the air. And that is a bad look for leadership. So in my assessment it’s over for Chuck and Nancy. The Democrats need new blood in the leadership ranks and they need it now. Be respectful of the work that they did but it is time for Chuck and Nancy to move on. There is no way to make Charlie Brown look like an effective leader. You can love Charlie Brown and always welcome him but he just can’t be in charge.
Sorry Dreamers. The Democratic leadership has failed you. I wish I had better news five days before Christmas. The least I can do is tell you the truth.