Fox News Channel’s Chris Stirewalt slammed the “fake” and “stupid” government shutdown fight as most Americans don’t agree with the political grandstanding by either side.
The Fox News politics editor weighed in as part of a panel discussion on Friday, reacting to news that the government was headed into a partial shutdown as Congress failed to pass a spending bill due to a fight over border wall funding.
“This is a fake, stupid fight. It is insulting to the intelligence of any voter who pays even a second of attention,” Stirewalt said in response to Fox News host Ed Henry’s question about the possibility of a “sweet spot” where Democrats and Republicans could compromise.
Republican and Democrat lawmakers reached a standstill in the heated debate as President Donald Trump demanded $5 billion in funding for the border wall to be part of any spending package. The president said he would not sign the Senate-passed bill earlier in the week which did not include any border wall funding and House lawmakers approved $5.7 billion for the border wall as part of a bill that would fund the government through early February.
That bill faced an intense battle in the Senate where Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi led opposition that came to a boiling point Friday.
“In a government that is running a $1 trillion deficit, we are fighting over the difference between $1.6 billion and $5 billion,” Stirewalt argued on the Fox News panel.
“There is no wall. The wall is made of slats now. So the Democrats say you can build walls if you don’t call them walls. The Republicans say you can build fences but you must call them walls,” he continued. “This is as dumb and unworthy as anything I have seen this Congress or any Congress do. The normal thing that humane, decent people would do is say ‘you are at 1.6, you are at 5 billion, so 3.3 billion sounds good to me.’ It’s just so dumb.”
Stirewalt’s contention that the average American does not reflect or approve of the partisan tug-of-war unfolding in Washington, D.C. was echoed by former Clinton administration political adviser and 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign manager, Mark Penn.
In an op-ed published by Fox News Saturday, Penn argued that “most of the country has moderate views” and want to see compromises made despite the “politics of personal destruction and ferociousness in our political discourse.”
“More than 70 percent of registered voters say they want members of Congress to compromise and get things done, rather than stick to their principles and create even more gridlock,” Penn wrote. “Watching President Donald Trump demand a wall, and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer say Trump will never, ever get it, is exactly what the voters don’t want. We elected them to figure it out.”
Penn noted that Republicans, in the majority for two years, have failed to resolve long-standing issues that Trump promised in his campaign to address. But with Democrats taking back the majority in the House come January, Penn believes it’s time for them to step up and move the country forward.
Pelosi and Schumer “have an opportunity to show a better way – to make the hard-won compromises necessary to solving the problems of immigration, infrastructure and health care. I expect them to bargain hard but ultimately find ways to move us forward,” he wrote.
“Whether the Democratic leadership will do better than the Republicans remains to be seen. The Republicans had right and moderate factions that disagreed about everything. The Democrats now have a growing left caucus that can put the brakes on those who want to see action now over kicking the can down the road,” the former pollster added.
“Everyone loves to hate moderates now, and yet it was moderates who decided the last midterm elections,” he wrote.
And as Stirewalt noted on Friday, the grandstanding and stuck-in-the-mud fighting in Congress and the White House are not supported by average Americans. The “new level of polarization” in politics actually “brought more people on both sides out to vote” in the midterm elections last month, Penn noted.
“Despite the strong views that Americans hold about the direction of the country,” Penn asserted, “overwhelming they want the two sides to compromise.”
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