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Chris Stirewalt | Do Republicans want lower spending or not?

“The president’s sequester is the wrong way to reduce the deficit, but it  is here to stay until Washington Democrats get serious about cutting  spending.”

— House Speaker John Boehner in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on  Wednesday.

Is sequestration better than nothing?

The inability of Republicans to plainly answer that question is giving  President Obama the upper hand in the ongoing spat over automatic decreases to  automatic increases in federal spending due to kick in a week from Friday.

Republicans, especially Defense Department stalwarts, have spent 19 months  doomsaying the reductions. The cuts have been described in apocalyptic terms  over and over and over again. “Harsh.” “Brutal.” “Devastating.”

Did they suppose that Obama would be on the other side of this issue? Did  they think that the greatest enthusiast for federal spending since Lyndon  Johnson would suddenly become a deficit hawk? Did they think that the master of  the perpetual campaign would grimly and stoically oversee the imposition of the  cuts?

The answer to almost any riddle about Obama – the presidential response to  almost any problem – involves three things: Campaigning, calls for more taxes  and spending and blaming Republicans.


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