Credit: Medill DC/Flickr

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly rescinding his offer to give President Donald Trump big money for his stupid border wall. The problem is, the cat is already out of the bag. Having once shown a willingness to fork over billions for a senseless boondoggle that is supposed to be paid for by the Mexican government, everyone knows that Schumer will cave on this issue in the future. Taking back his offer makes him look ridiculous.

Overall, I understand why Schumer decided to take the CHIP money and reopen the government for three weeks, but he’s been off his game during this whole shutdown business. In Middle East terms, money for the stupid border wall should have been the Jerusalem of these negotiations, best left for last after everything else was adequately negotiated. In the meantime, every request for money should have been met with mocking derision and a suggestion that Trump telephone Mexico City if he wanted an appropriation.

In the end, I suppose wasting tens of billions of dollars on an ineffective and senseless racist symbol that can be seen from space could be worth it. If this country can now be counted among the real shitholes on this planet, then maybe we could sully ourselves with such a deal without anyone forming a lower opinion of us. The price would have to be right, though, wouldn’t it?

It couldn’t be just to release some hostages that the Republicans (most of them, anyway) don’t really want to keep.

Now if Schumer started out saying that the Consumer Financial Protection Agency needs to be funded or there’s no wall, that might almost be something slightly above shameful capitulation. As things actually are, the Democrats are playing this scared. They have a big political lead and they don’t want to blow it in the fourth quarter.

And, I get that. They absolutely cannot pull an Atlanta Falcons on these midterm elections, and their leadership is responsible for not letting that happen. That doesn’t mean they’ve played their cards right here though, because it’s not the tactical retreat that is the problem. It’s the overall strategy that concerns me. It might be intimidating when a major political party holds children’s health hostage since it shows they have absolutely no limits and no moral compass whatsoever, but that kind of aggression must be met in kind. Instead of asking for more, Schumer was loading offers on Trump’s plate only to have them pocketed and rebuffed.

He needs to do better.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at