New York Times reporter Carl Hulse managed to find good news for Democrats in the party’s abject surrender on the government-shutdown front, in his “news analysis” for Tuesday’s front page, “Hope for Bargain in a Swift Surrender.” The jump-page headline: “With Swift Surrender, Democrats Hold Hope Of Reaching a Bargain.”
A front-page story by Jonathan Martin that ran Saturday also whistled past the graveyard, that the public would have forgotten all about the shutdown by election day 2018, getting Democrats off the shutdown hook: “Shutdown? It Could Be Forgotten in a Trumpian Flash.” How convenient for the Democratic Party.
Back to Tuesday, Hulse seemed glad the Democrats have supposedly gotten their “miscalculation” out of the way:
Senate Democrats blinked. But the saving grace for them may be that they did it quickly.
Over the weekend it became clear that using the shutdown to insist on protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants was a serious miscalculation. By abandoning the strategy on its third day, Democrats believe they limited whatever damage there may be and gave the public time to forget about the disruption before the crucial November election.
Well that’s a relief:
They also won a commitment from Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, to allow debate on a wide-ranging, bipartisan measure that could achieve their goal of protecting hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
But by supporting the government’s reopening, they provoked a surge of outrage from the party’s left as progressive activists and lawmakers assailed the deal as a capitulation based on a mere promise by Mr. McConnell, a longtime foe known for his obstruction of the Democratic agenda.
Eventually, Hulse admitted that the Democrats had overreached:
But over the course of the weekend, Democrats increasingly came to realize they had maneuvered themselves into a difficult position that made many of the party’s moderate senators uncomfortable....
However, he really spun the aftermath:
In relenting so rapidly, Democrats saw some tangible benefits. They managed to highlight the plight of the Dreamers while avoiding a prolonged shutdown that could have ultimately damaged their cause. And by conceding defeat on Monday, Democrats avoided widespread disruptions in government operations that would have cascaded during the week and beyond.
As expected, Hulse kept scrounging for silver linings:
While Democrats gave that ground, they are not without weapons. Should the negotiations collapse, they will be able to pound Republicans for abandoning the Dreamers. They could also vote again to shutter the government, though that seems unlikely after this episode.
Hulse sees things far differently when Republicans push controversial legislation, blocking Obama’s Supreme Court pick, or threatening to shut down the government themselves. When that happens, Hulse portrays it as an irrevocable failure that will doom the GOP in the next election and maybe for years to come: It’s Hulse’s favorite kind of story. He has penned dozens of wishful thinking pieces seeing resurgent Democrats and doomed Republicans.