The first government shutdown to ever occur when one party controlled the House, Senate and White House has a feel of being both the car crash you’ve seen coming for so long that it’s almost a relief when the collision finally happens, and of being a manufactured cliffhanger on a show that long ago lost the ability to come up with fresh storylines.
The parallels to reality television don’t end here, despite the damning difference between Washington’s callous ineptitude and a showrunner’s desperation coming in the form of the countless Americans whose lives will be impacted in ways ranging from not being able to find a clean bathroom at a national park to not being able to pay their mortgage.
The most frightening realization is that this kind of drama is actually in President Trump’s wheelhouse, such as it is. It’s episodic: this week’s failure to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government was just the latest in a series of short-term episodic fixes to paper over the federal government’s inability to come up with, agree on and implement a long-term spending plan. You may not remember because the news cycle has been cranked up to 11, but there were not one, but two CRs passed last month alone.
And it’s an impasse in search of a dealmaker. Someone who understands the art of the deal like he wrote the book on it. Someone who doesn’t see things in black, white or grey, but only in green. Someone who can step into difficult situations on a regular basis to make the tough, disciplined calls and stick to them. Someone who strides into conflict in search of resolution, unafraid to take the heat and the blowback.
With a crisis situation seemingly tailor-made for the president’s very particular set of skills, this should end well and quickly, no doubt.
Josh Shapiro: As he celebrates his one-year anniversary as attorney general, Shapiro can also trumpet how he has bolstered his staff with a number of high-level former employees of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office who have fled the scandal and uncertainty of the previous year.
Medical marijuana patients: And advocates, entrepreneurs and legislators, all of whom can finally point to the opening of the state’s first dispensary, located in Bethlehem. They just have to wait until next month for the place to begin, well, dispensing its products.
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh: Both cities made the cut to be among the finalists for Amazon’s HQ2 sweepstakes, and will vie with 18 other competitors to become the economic envy of most of the rest of the country.
Pat Meehan: I mean, jeez.
Daryl Metcalfe: A warm welcome back to the chair of the PA House State Government Committee, who took time out of his busy legislative schedule to lead a righteously outraged group of 25 fellow House Republicans to express outrage at a word change on state-issued birth certificates that now allows for two parents of the same sex to … be listed as parents. No word yet on why it took five full months to gestate and foment the necessary ire on the issue – the Wolf administration made the change last August.
Ryan Costello: In another head-scratcher, the GOP Congressman accused his Democratic opponent, Chrissy Houlahan, of dispatching supporters to trespass on his property – despite evidence he mistook ordinary Planned Parenthood canvassers for political operatives – and police saying unequivocally that there “was no crime.”