Political analyst Jess Brown says shutdown highlights failure of U.S. political leadership

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- With the government shutdown heading to a fifth week, WHNT News 19 political analyst Jess Brown, says leaders on both sides are failing the country.

“This country would be better off, almost in terms of solving this problem, we would almost be better off, to pick adults at random from the phone book and put them in these positions,” Brown said.

The budget impasse is an abject failure of leadership, Brown said.

“I think this is a new low for shutdowns and I don’t just mean it in the sense of the length,” he said.

WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Jess Brown

Brown said active duty military personnel are being punished and they don’t have any options.

“42,000 Coast Guardsmen are not being paid,” he said. “If I’m an employee at NASA, I might not want to, but I can call NASA today and quit."

“If you’re an enlisted or an officer in the Coast Guard, call up your commander today and tell them you won’t be reporting for duty tomorrow … and see what happens.”

Brown says Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby is skilled enough to fashion a shutdown deal. He said Shelby’s ability operate politically as a “submarine” and not a “battleship” puts him in a unique position to help the Congress find a compromise.

“He will not want to offend the President, he will not want to offend his fellow partisans, but he also wants to open up these agencies,” he said.

But, Brown says it’s a historically bad time.

“In my mind, we’re more poorly led than at any time in the roughly 50 years I’ve been watching the government pretty carefully.”

The U.S. Senate voted on two budget bills Thursday afternoon, one that included President Trump the border wall money he’d sought, and the other to reopen the government without wall money. Both were voted down.

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