Will Trump voters stick with Republicans in 2018?

This is a rush transcript from "Journal Editorial Report," January 20, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This is a Fox News alert. We are awaiting a press conference from House Republican leaders as we enter the 15th hour of the government shutdown after lawmakers failed to make a deal last night to keep the government-funded past midnight.

Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.

We are live this week as we mark the first anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration. It is being met with protests and marches across the country, including right here in New York City. More on that in a moment.

But first, let's go to Fox News contributor, Peter Doocy, on Capitol Hill on the very latest on shutdown negotiations.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Paul, the very latest is that since the Senate couldn't pass a four-week resolution to fund the government, they are trying instead for three-week resolution. Republicans are betting that among the ranks of their Democratic colleagues, there is enough support for the six-years' worth of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, that they could get some Democratic votes in the House, and the Senate if Leader Pelosi and Leader Schumer free them up to go.

I spoke earlier to Greg Walden, the Republican from Washington State. He says, "I think if the Democrats freed up they would vote for this, but their leadership has been constrained."

Nancy Pelosi meanwhile, the minority leader in the House, has signed off on this three-week-long continuing resolution. Only if DACA is attached though. It isn't right now. And we're about to hear from some Republican leader -- Paul?

GIGOT: All right, Peter, thank you.

Let's bring -- we will go to the Republican leaders.

(NEWS CONFERENCE)

GIGOT: We will continue to monitor this press conference by House Republicans and bring you updates.

For now, let's bring in our panel, Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor, Dan Henninger, Columnists Kim Strassel and Mary Anastasia O'Grady, and assistant editorial page editor, James Freeman.

Dan, you heard the House Republicans. Who do you think is winning the messaging war?

DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: I am getting a clear idea of the state of play here, Paul. At this point, perhaps the Republicans are winning the messaging war. We just watched all these congressmen talk about CHIP, the Children's Health Care Program. This is a program that most Democrats, at least out in the country, support.

GIGOT: Sure.

HENNINGER: Health care for children.

I think what's going on is there are two things on the Democratic side. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer whose baseline is taking back the House and maybe the Senate in November. Their job is to disadvantage the Republicans and Trump.

GIGOT: They think a shutdown will help in that.

(CROSSTALK)

HENNINGER: They think a shutdown will help.

GIGOT: Why?

(CROSSTALKL)

HENNINGER: Because Republicans always get blamed, the chaos --

(CROSSTALK)

HENNINGER: But the CHIP program and indeed the DREAMers, 800,000 DREAMers are something that are important to Democrats beyond the Schumer/Pelosi circle. At the margin, you will have some Democratic Senators and members of the House, they will come to their leadership and say, look, we are talking a three-week extension. Why can't we be released to at least vote for that and then get to dealing with these other issues.

GIGOT: Mary, this reminds me of what the Republicans tried to do with Ted Cruz in 2013. Tried to shut down the government over a non-government funding issue. In that case, it was repealing Obamacare. In this case, it's immigration negotiation, the deadline for which is five to six weeks away.

MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: I think Dan is right that the politics favor the Republicans because the rhetoric the Republicans are using points to CHIP and that is important to Democrats.

I think in a material sense, there is no effect on the American public. There will be no effect on the American public for a very long time.

The Democrats are trying to use this basically to use this as a lever for the DREAMer -- the immigration matter.

GIGOT: Right. Right.

O'GRADY: On that count, I think most Americans agree with the Democrats. If the Republicans can get the three-week window in order to negotiate a deal there, I think that's the best opportunity. But the pressure I don't think will come to either party in the short term.

GIGOT: James, already, the Republicans are talking about having an open debate on immigration after this window if they can pass this three-week continuing resolution. That might seem to be a political win for the Democrats because they are getting the Republicans to move.

JAMES FREEMAN, ASSISTANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Yes. I think the underlying immigration issue, most people don't want to kick out someone that was brought here as a child and has been a law-abiding citizen. I think generally, as we said, you have the Republicans typically get blamed for shutdown. On top of that, a lot of people in the American media hate the president. They can no longer cover them objectively. So that is the Schumer/Pelosi gamble.

But I will say it was interestingly the argument that Mick Mulvaney is making, that we are managing this shutdown better. In the past, President Obama tried to create maximum pain for consumers of government services to pressure lawmakers. Now he basically laid out how they are trying to avoid that.

GIGOT: Kim, why do Democrats think they can get away with this? They are the ones that are the cause of the shutdown. The House did its job. They passed it. Now there's a majority in the Senate to pass the House bill, except the Democrats aren't providing those over 60. Why do you think they will win?

KIM STRASSEL, WASHINGTON COLUMNIST: They went into this with conventional wisdom that has always been that Republicans are always blamed for shutdowns, whether they are in the White House, out of it, in Congress, out of it. I think one of the things that is materially different this time is that the Republicans actually have a united message on this. They are sometimes haphazard when it comes to shutdowns and divided. This time, you are seeing talking points repeated again and again. And it's a strong message, saying, look, you're putting the vulnerable and the military at risk. You are putting -- you're hearing this a lot -- unlawful citizens ahead of American citizens. I think that's something that could resonate.

Again, Democrats are counting this is a messy issue. In the public's mind, Republicans, as small government people, will be the ones blamed for it. But it's just not as certain this time that that's how it's going to roll.

GIGOT: Briefly, Dan, I guess the gamble is will the public say it's a pox on all of your Houses or will they blame one of the two parties? Generally speaking, coming out of this, Republicans tend to get blamed. In this case, it will be fascinating to see where those swing Democrats who are running in 2018, like North Dakota and elsewhere, where do they come down?

HENNINGER: Kim is making a key point. Usually, the Republicans get blamed because they are carting each other up with long knives. That is not happening here. No Freeman Caucus and no Ted Cruz shutting down the government. They are united.

GIGOT: All right, thank you all.

When we come back, as protests mark the anniversary of President Trump's inaugural, we will look back at the highs and lows of the first year in office.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: January 20, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT: That was President Trump delivering his inaugural address one year ago today, and sounding the familiar campaign theme of the forgotten man. The anniversary being marked by demonstrations in cities across the country. President Trump tweeting about the protests earlier, quote, "Beautiful weather all over our great country. A perfect day for all women to march. Get out there now and celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years."

Kim, you can't say he doesn't have a sense of humor.

Let's talk about the policy results of the first year. What marks do you give him?

STRASSEL: I think he gets maybe a "B." He's had some really important things on all of the major branches of government. In the judiciary, the nomination and placement of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. In the legislature, a big tax win. One of the biggest tax reforms in decades. Then from the executive branch, an extraordinary deregulatory push that I think is unrivaled in modern history. That's all been great. Some failures, too, of course. Notably on Obamacare and in particular ongoing chaos with especially evident in the first six months.

GIGOT: Mary, how do you score the policy side of things?

O'GRADY: On the policy side, I give him slightly higher than a "B." Maybe that's grade inflation.

(LAUGHTER)

I think he has done a good job, except with Obamacare, which is a disappointment to us. He's been very good at choosing human capital. And I think that's the one thing --

GIGOT: You mean his nominees --

(CROSSTALK)

O'GRADY: His nominees, yes. He has great people and -- people like Betsy DeVos and Scott Gottlieb and Scott Pruitt and John Kelly, and the list goes on and on. He has really solid people around him. And with those people, he's accomplished a fair amount. But he's his own worst enemy.

GIGOT: I want to get to that.

But I want to push back a little. The first six months were fairly chaotic in the White House, right? Until he put John Kelly in there to provide some order, you had some of the most vicious backsliding than I can remember covering politics, including what I call the Steve Bannon presidency.

O'GRADY: That's true. But I would separate politics from policy. In the meantime, he got a new Supreme Court judge, as Kim mentioned. He got people in place to do the kinds of things he ran on.

GIGOT: Then there is the "own worst enemy" part of it. A 39 percent, 40 percent approval rating, despite what Mary ascribes as policy success and a growing economy. How do you explain the 39 percent?

FREEMAN: He's a different kind of president. It's a --

GIGOT: Oh, you don't say.

FREEMAN: It's a --

(LAUGHTER)

You know, it's interesting. I think the policy has been much better than we have any right to expect. I think it's been a fantastic year. An "A" on his record. But, there is the side of him where he can be rude, undignified and boastful in the tweets. I would say the tweet we just saw is a counter example.

GIGOT: You think he wrote it?

(LAUGHTER)

FREEMAN: He brings humor and comes back with facts. I think that's probably a good model for him going forward to deal with his critics.

GIGOT: But you can't really count on that Dan, we've learned.

HENNINGER: No.

GIGOT: He's not certainly going to shift suddenly to someone else.

HENNINGER: As I like to put it, Paul, this is Donald Trump. He gave us two presidencies in one year. The Trump of Twitter, on the one side, chaos along with it. And the other side, the Trump of accomplishment. I think people are beginning to recognize the accomplishment.

I'd like to focus on one thing. The deregulation that occurred touched almost every major industry in America. Those deregulations are beginning to feed now into the real economy and people out there are beginning to notice it.

GIGOT: All right. Much more to come as we look back on President Trump's first year in office and ahead to the 2018 midterm elections. With the president's job approval numbers hovering around 40 percent, can Republicans survive a blue wave in November? And who will voters blame for the shutdown?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT: Welcome back to a live edition of the "Journal Editorial Report."

Throughout his first year in office, President Trump's approval rating has hovered in the high 30s or low 40s, with the latest RealClearPolitics polling average putting him at 40 percent. That could spell trouble for Republicans heading into the midterm election this year with Democrats holding an almost seven-point advantage in the generic congressional ballot. Will 2016 Trump voters stick with the president in year two and turnout for GOP candidates this November?

Let's bring in the panel.

James, the polling. You've been looking at those numbers. I talked to Democrats, they think it's a done deal. Speaker Pelosi is back. Is that true?

FREEMAN: They might want to hold off on popping the corks. President Trump's approval ratings have never been good. They've never been beautiful. They've been more sad most of the time. But what's new is that they are improving. On that generic ballot, if you want a Republican or a Democrat in your congressional district, it looks bad for Republicans, but it's much better than it was a few weeks ago. I think that big tax cut will have just as much political force as economic force. Most of the people in this country still think they are not getting a tax cut because of what they've been told by the president's critics. This is the political gift that will keep on giving --

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: You are counting on the economy to float up the sense of accomplishment for Republicans and give voters the sense that things are going OK. Why change?

What do you think about that?

O'GRADY: First, I think we have to acknowledge in the off years, it is usually better for the opposing party.

(CROSSTALK)

O'GRADY: So Democrats have an automatic advantage. I don't think generic polling is helpful because it will depend on the candidates the Republicans run in those districts.

But the other thing is the Republicans are basically trying to get this message out, but they are fighting against a guy who is continually shooting himself in the foot.

GIGOT: The president of the United States.

O'GRADY: Yes. If you read his tweets -- and not the one he tweeted today. I agree with James that was a very gracious and humorous way to communicate. In general, he is abrasive and always picking fights. It sort of belittles him. And people don't want to be associated with someone like that.

GIGOT: Dan, what else can Republicans point to? They're going to try to sell the tax reform, that's good. But let's talk a little bit about Trump on foreign policy. That's where a president has to be -- has an outsized influence. We'll hear from him on North Korea, Syria, elsewhere. What marks do you give Trump on foreign policy in the first year?

HENNINGER: I give him pretty strong marks. I mean, let's face it, Barack Obama dealt him a very difficult hand in the Middle East and Asia, with Russia, the rest of it. But sitting over all of this is North Korea. Let us recall, in September, the North Koreans detonated what was thought to be a hydrogen bomb. They are shown their intercontinental ballistic missiles can now fly a range of 5000 or 7000 miles. This reality is one of the things, you talk to average Americans, they say what we doing about North Korea?

GIGOT: We know from Hawaii, the false alarm last weekend, people are frightened about that.

HENNINGER: Yes, they are. I think the foreign policy is spending 70 percent of its time on that. Meanwhile, the Islamic State was effectively defeated in Iraq, in Syria, a big accomplishment. Russia continues to threaten NATO, the president's relationship with Russia has always been unclear with Putin. I guess the issue is, where is the focus, where is the policy set, where is the strategy going to emerge? He handled it pretty well, but we haven't seen a clear strategy yet for most of these areas.

GIGOT: Kim, when I talked to Democrats, it seems they had one message, really, it's their only message as far as governing, it's their big message for the midterms, and that is, stop Trump, resist Trump. We're not Trump. They're Trump. That's pretty much it. They are hoping that drives their voters out the way it did in Virginia and, recently, this last week in Wisconsin, the special election in the state Senate.

STRASSEL: That's why I pushed back a little on James. I do think the approval rating of Donald Trump does matter. You see that in Virginia and in Wisconsin. The Republicans have got two major issues. One is enthusiasm among the Democratic base. They've got to figure out how they can rival that among their own boaters, which is something that can be tough to do in midterm elections.

But also -- and this is where that approval number matters -- is Independents, especially in states like Virginia and Wisconsin, they are also often the margin -- at the martin of that number. That's one reason Trump's numbers aren't higher. That's something that has to be dealt with in terms of not just policy results but his ability to communicate with those people and not actively alienate them. Which is why we would love to see more tweets like the one he put out today.

GIGOT: OK.

All right, still ahead, the Dow hit 26,000 for the first time this week, up nearly 42 percent since President Trump's election a year ago. What's behind the record run and will the government shutdown spook the stock market?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT: The Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring to new heights, closing above 26,000 for the first time on Wednesday. That's up nearly 8000 points since President Trump's election. This, as Apple announced it will build a new campus in the U.S. and hire 20,000 new employees over the next five years. The tech giant also expected to pay $38 billion in taxes as it brings nearly all of its overseas cash back to the U.S.

We are back with Dan Henninger, Mary Anastasia O'Grady and James Freeman.

Mary, you like to be realistic about these things. What's behind this incredible run and is it warranted by the fundamentals?

MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY, COLUMNIST: You have basics of low interest rates. Lots of global liquidity. The global market doing well. The global economy doing well. You also have great tax reform. Lower regulatory burden in the U.S. and a strong economy.

GIGOT: So you think this is --

O'GRADY: All of those things are driving expectations for the market.

I think there is something else important going on which his sentiment has changed among a lot of people that were on the sidelines for a long time after 2009. They were very worried about going back into the stock market. Now those people are starting to jump in and that's a lot of capital coming from the sidelines and into the market. And I think that has driven prices.

GIGOT: You are talking about individual investors.

But sentiment, Dan, also means business sentiment. If you look at the small business index, the highest confidence ever in the last couple of months. You're looking at the Business Roundtable, the bigger businesses, they are saying it is bullish. Jamie Dimon, of JPMorgan, who is the head of the Business Roundtable, saying animal spirits are back. So that is part of this, too. They are willing to invest now in a way they haven't in a while.

DAN HENNINGER, COLUMNIST & DEPUTY EDITOR: Yes, that's right. Consumer confidence is at the highest level since 2001. If anyone can remember back that far.

It's a fascinating economic number. The stock -- the economy was flat during the Obama years, growing about 2 percent, below it's historic rate. The stock market, nonetheless, rose pretty steadily across the Obama years. Our view would be that's because the Federal Reserve had gone to quantitative easing, trying to drive assets into the stock market. Now since Trump was elected, the market has risen about 40 percent. Even higher. The arrow has gone like that. The big question is now, is the real economy going to continue to drive this unprecedented rise in the stock market or is an event, say, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, going to cause an inevitable correction.

GIGOT: I think the Fed is one of the big risks going forward, James, no question. We will see as they withdraw some of that quantitative easing and raise rates. Does that mean you will end up going down? I don't know the answer to that. If I did I would be a billionaire. What you think about the risk going forward? What are the risks?

JAMES FREEMAN, ASSITANT EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR: Stocks are not cheap. You can expect there will be a correction at some point. In terms of the market and economic risk, the Trump trade and immigration agenda causes a lot of risks. If your causing barriers to people crossing borders, that's a big negative for the economy. We are to this point, I think it would be irrational not to raise the value on stock when you see an economy growing faster. Dan talked about the slow Obama, 1.2 percent when President Obama handed it off to Trump. Since then, it's like a switch has been thrown, over 3 percent every quarter. Corporate profits the best around the world, ever.

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: See, this is why we love Freeman as the bull.

Let's take this down a bit. What do you think the risks are?

O'GRADY: Reality check. Stocks are prices based on expected earnings going forward. Right now, the earnings multiple is extremely high. Higher than historical averages. So the expectation is earnings will catch up. If those earnings do not catch up that's when the disappointment will come in with prices. I think it's normal to expect there would be a correction, whether or not something goes wrong in the economy or not. You cannot keep growing to the sky without those earnings coming in. If the Fed makes money tighter, it will be more difficult.

GIGOT: That Apple -- briefly, Dan, that Apple news this week is indicative of a lot of money coming back.

HENNINGER: That's right. There's about $338 billion that's going to come back in taxes. While Apple is doing that, who is leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average? Boeing, an old economy company. So it's going across the board, Paul.

GIGOT: That's $38 billion in taxes.

Still ahead, the Pentagon reportedly planning to build two new nuclear weapons, igniting a debate over America's military strategy. Will the plan bolster our ability to deter threats or make a nuclear conflict more likely?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT: Amid the funding stalemate that led to today's government shutdown, the Pentagon is reportedly planning to develop two new nuclear weapons in response to Russia and China's growing military capabilities. The new weapons among a range of recommendations that was commissioned by President Trump last year.

Earlier, I spoke with former Arizona Senator, Jon Kyl, a member of the National Defense Strategy Commission.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GIGOT: When you were in the Senate, you talked a lot about nuclear strategy. I know you follow it closely now. It's coming back. As all of these issues seem to do.is our nuclear deterrent deteriorating?

JON KYL, NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY COMMISSION: Yes, it is. That's the word, deterrent. The reason we are talking about new weapons is that potential adversaries know some of the weapons we have that might have been a good deterrent during the cold war are no longer as effective to prevent conflict or to deter an adversary from attacking us. As a result, we need to modernize the weapons and potentially develop new ones.

GIGOT: Why is that deterrent, what happened to the weapons we have? Why aren't they as effective as a deterrent?

KYL: The ones we have are very old, designed in the '60s and '70s and built in the '70s and '80s. They were never intended to be active for this long. They are now in the process of what's called refurbishment. The technical term is life extension. The reality is they are taking really old weapons and dusting them off hoping they will work. But we don't test them so we don't know for sure. Secondly, the type of weapons we had that them were these megaton city busters that we would potentially use in the event that the Soviet Union were to attack us. We weren't very precise in our targeting. Now we are very precise. And we understand, when we retaliate, we may want to be much more discreet in how we retaliate. We don't need to blow everything up. Therefore, our great big weapons are not as credible as a deterrent. The potential adversary wonders whether we would use these big weapons if we have a different kind of weapon. The ones they are developing, we probably have a better deterrent.

GIGOT: On the refurbishment front, I know you cut a deal with President Obama when he was trying to get the Senate to approve his arms control treaty with Russia. That deal -- I can't remember exactly the figure, I think it was tens of billions of dollars to upgrade our nuclear arsenal. Did the Obama and administration follow-through and is it enough?

KYL: More or less, and not quite.

(LAUGHTER)

The administration did request the appropriate amount of money the review had called for. Later, they sloughed off and frankly Congress didn't do its job either. So we are short. We haven't spent as much is this modernization plan called for. The good news is there is a consensus in Washington on this modernization plan. Both with regard to the nuclear weapons themselves and their delivery systems called the triad, submarines, bomber fleets and ICBMs. Whether that's enough in the long run I'm not sure. At least there is consensus on what we need to get going.

GIGOT: The small nuclear weapons point, I wonder if there will be a political consensus because some of the Democrats may end up blocking the development of new weapons thinking this will make nuclear war more likely. Rather than your excellent point about discriminant deterrence. That if you can just take out, for example, Kim Jong-Un's leadership as opposed to annihilating the peninsula, you want to do that.

KYL: Right, exactly. The consensus is on the modernization plan. That is to say upgrading our production and building facilities. Creating the new weapons - refurbishing the old weapons and providing a new mechanism for delivery in all three, sea, land and air-based weapons. What's there hasn't been a consensus around and will have to be debated is the development of these two slightly different kinds of weapons. You are exactly right. The group that doesn't believe in nuclear weapons says that will start another round. The Russians and the Chinese are already doing this and of course we know the North Koreans are. Not like we are starting it. The question is, is our deterrent really going to deter? Will the others I believe we will use them? Some of our weapons are so big and destructive, I think the president would have a hard time saying we will kill everybody in North Korea in order to decapitate their leadership. That does not make sense of our deterrent may not be credible enough.

GIGOT: Two missile defenses. We have interceptors in Alaska and a few in California. They are so few. The system is rather primitive. They can be overwhelmed by an adversary with a lot of nuclear weapons.

KYL: Yes, right now, we might be able to deter North Korea or defeat them. This is killing a bullet with a bullet. We have 44 of these missiles. The number is classified as to how many you shoot for launch, but you have to shoot more than one to destroy the incoming missile. The North Koreans therefore could build enough ICBMs that it could overwhelm our primitive system. Missile defense is one of the critical areas we have to spend more money on for these ground-based missiles that you alluded to but also the systems we have at sea and also our radars and other tracking facilities which enable us to spot and track and therefore target the incoming missile properly.

GIGOT: Thank you, Senator Kyle. I appreciate it.

KYL: Thank you, Paul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GIGOT: When we come back, are pork barrel politics making a comeback on Capitol Hill? Some members in Congress are calling for the ban on earmarks to be lifted. And they are getting help from President Trump?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GIGOT: Finally this week, amid the government funding fight, are earmarks set to make a return to Congress? The controversial practice to secure funding for projects in their home districts. It was banned by House Republicans in 2011 following public outcry like the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. Now some lawmakers want to bring them back and President Trump seemed to voice support for the idea last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Our system lends itself to not getting things done. I hear so much about earmarks, the old earmark system, how there was a great friendliness when you had earmarks. But of course, they had other problems with earmarks. But maybe all of you should start thinking about going back to a form of earmarks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIGOT: We are back with Dan Henninger, Kim Strassel, Mary Anastasia O'Grady and James Freeman.

Kim, is the president right that your mark should be brought back?

STRASSEL: This may count as worst idea in Washington ever.

(LAUGHTER)

Look, the president is right that we don't have a system that lends itself to getting stuff done. That was the case even back when we had earmarks. If he thinks that tossing people bridges and crossings and museums that suddenly Democrats will support him. He might want to think his midterm strategy. The problem with earmarks is that they are a gateway drug to more spending at a time Congress needs to be fiscally responsible.

GIGOT: What about the argument that if you can just give a few little projects on the side to people, then you can make them vote - help them make a hard vote on Medicare reform. You'll save a lot more money in the long run. It's the grease for democracy and legislating. Not a gateway drug.

STRASSEL: I would say #resist.

(LAUGHTER)

Look, Democrats are not going to sign on to a Medicare vote just because someone gave them a project in their district. Their campaign for this coming midterm is to make sure the president does not notch any accomplishments.

GIGOT: Anybody here going to defend --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

HENNINGER: How about this deal? If they give us our hard reform of Medicare and Social Security written into law, we will give them this.

(LAUGHTER)

We won't care at that point.

O'GRADY: You know, that --

GIGOT: Go ahead.

O'GRADY: Polling shows Republicans care about this issue, in the way Kim is talking. I think earmarks --

GIGOT: They don't like earmarks.

O'GRADY: They hate them. Earmarks to Republicans are big, bloated government spending. Rotten. If Trump brings them back, it will be the biggest betrayal he can possibly do.

GIGOT: But here's the other argument, James, they make in Congress, under the Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse. By giving away earmarks, they've ceded that to some unelected bureaucrats in the executive branch. We don't want to do that. We will take responsibility for ladling out the cash.

FREEMAN: Yes. That's a reasonable argument.

(CROSSTALK)

GIGOT: You like it?

(LAUGHTER)

FREEMAN: Yes. I think when you look at it in practice though --

(CROSSTALK)

FREEMAN: -- what this does is it gets a person who might otherwise want to exercise spending restraint and consider $20 trillion of debt to think instead about the project that everyone in the district is wondering about. I guess I disagree with Kim a little. I'm not sure a turtle crossing and a bridge won't buy you some votes if the check is big enough. But this is traditionally not a grease towards better government. It's usually a greasing a larger, bigger spending bill than would otherwise be approved.

GIGOT: Kim, brief response?

STRASSEL: No. This is, as Mary said, the worst thing you could message, send as a Republicans when you were elected on draining the swamp.

GIGOT: And trying to get reelected in 2018, reelected.

That's it for this week's show. Thanks to my panel. And thanks to you especially for watching. I'm Paul Gigot.

Stay with Fox News for continued coverage of the government shutdown and protest marches.


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