“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.