Skip to comments.Has Obama overdone Nightmare on Sequester Street?
Posted on 02/22/2013 10:09:31 AM PST by SeekAndFind
That's the question Politico asks, but it's really only half of Barack Obama's problem in this standoff:
President Barack Obamas greatest adversary in the latest budget battle isnt the Republican leadership in Congress its his confidence in his own ability to force a win.
He has been so certain of his campaign skills that he didnt open a line of communication with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell until Thursday, a week before the spending ax hits. And when they did finally hear from Obama, the calls were perfunctory, with no request to step up negotiations or invitations to the White House.
Thats because Obamas all-in on an outside strategy, doing just about everything other than holding serious talks with Republicans. In the last two days alone, hes courted local TV anchors, called in a select group of White House correspondents to talk off-the-record, chatted up black broadcasters, and announced plans to stump next week at Virginias Newport News Shipyard. Throughout, hes talked in tough terms that signal little interest in compromise or suggestion of backing down.
Hes navigating a thin line. Obama is convinced hes got the upper hand on Republicans. Yet he can go only so long before he risks being perceived as a main actor in Washingtons dysfunction, threatening a core element of his political brand and the fragile economic recovery hes struggled to maintain.
In other words, he’s been great at yelling, “Wolf!” When it comes to action about what to do with the wolf — which may or may not be real — Obama has done nothing. He’s been relying on a compliant media to keep from pointing out that inconvenient fact, and so far, that seems to be working.
Normally, of course, budget matters wouldn’t require the high-wire act for negotiations. The House would pass one version of a budget, and the Senate another. When control of the two chambers are split, that allows both parties to pass their own priorities and then go into conference committee to hash out their differences. That system actually works, although no one ends up terribly happy with the results.
Obama, however, doesn’t want compromise. He wants to win at all costs, and that’s why he’s trotting out a parade of government workers to paint a horror story about what a reduction of 2.2% in the rate of federal spending — while the spending trajectory still increases — will do to Americans. Peggy Noonan calls this “government by freakout”:
The president’s sequester strategy is like Howard Beale in “Network”: “Woe is us. . . . And woe is us! We’re in a lot of trouble!”
It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout.
That’s what’s happening now with the daily sequester warnings. Seven hundred thousand children will be dropped from Head Start. Six hundred thousand women and children will be dropped from aid programs. Meat won’t be inspected. Seven thousand TSA workers will be laid off, customs workers too, and air traffic controllers. Lines at airports will be impossible. The Navy will slow down the building of an aircraft carrier. Troop readiness will be disrupted, weapons programs slowed or stalled, civilian contractors stiffed, uniformed first responders cut back. Our nuclear deterrent will be indefinitely suspended. Ha, made that one up, but give them time.
Mr. Obama has finally hit on his own version of national unity: Everyone get scared together. …
[G]overnment by freakout carries a price. It wears people down. It doesn’t inject a sense of energy, purpose or confidence in those who do business in America, it does the opposite. The other day I was in a Wal-Mart in southern Florida. It was Sunday afternoon on a holiday weekend but even accounting for that the mood and look of the place was different from what it was two and five years ago. Then, things seemed dynamicwhat buys, what an array of products, what bustle in the aisles. This time it seemed tired, frayed, with fewer families and scarcer employees. It looked like a diorama of the Great Recession. What effect do all the successive fiscal cliffs, ceilings and sequesters, have on public confidence? On the public’s spirit? They only add to the sense that Washington is dysfunctional and cannot possibly help us out of the mire.
It shows the world we lurch from crisis to crisis by habit now. This makes us look incapable and beset.
And therefore more in need of a nanny state.
Maybe Obama’s beloved government will bankrupt itself and we’ll finally be done with them.
The twitter hashtag has real potential.
#WhiteHouseSequesterWarnings Without proper feeding Michael Moore may reattack Tokyo.
#WhiteHouseSequesterWarnings Senator Menendez will have to resort to soliciting adult hookers in DC or New Jersey.
College will no longer be a time of eager bi-curious sexual experimentation for upper middle class co-eds. #WhiteHouseSequesterWarnings
#WhiteHouseSequesterWarnings Mexican druglords will have to find their own weaponry without help from the Justice Department.
#WhiteHouseSequesterWarnings unicorns will die, rainbows will be extinguished, & pixie dust will disappear. It will be the end of liberalism
#WhiteHouseSequesterWarnings We are now in serious jeopardy of losing “White History Month”.
I think team zero have over-played this and are waiting until the 11th. hour to scream “fire, fire, fire”
It is working though. My mother called me yesterday all in a tizzy because she doesn’t know what she’ll do after the Meals on Wheels program shuts down. I asked her what she was talking about and she said she heard it on the Weather Channel.
I finally realized she was talking about this sequestration mess.
When even Peggy Noonan thinks Obama has jumped the shark, he’s jumped the shark.
Our queered out TSA agents are going to have to sexually assualt men, women and children on their own dime now?
He is not overplaying the sequester because when it happens, he will see to it that those services that affect the largest number of people in very visible ways will be cut.
He will cut TSA agents so everyone can see the long lines at airports on the TV news (they will gladly cover it for him). He'll cut the meat inspectors so meat processors have to close down and there will be no meat on the shelves. More TV coverage!
He could cut much less important things (Dept of Education, for example) but he won't. He will go full throttle public relations, nothing less. It will be a disaster of his own making - of course, he won't be blamed for it.
My town got a new espresso drive-thru with pretty young ladies wearing only sexy underwear making the drinks. I noticed another one on my way to work...would be nice if a similar idea was adopted for the agents that frisked us....mmmm....uh oh did I type that out loud???
Precisely what he will do, which may just be his final move of desperation. Imagine these employees who would find out they lost their jobs because Obama threw a temper tantrum. It could get ugly.