Saturday, February 23, 2013

But the Days Grow Short When You Reach Sequester

Remember Molly Ivin's quip about some Texas pol or other that if his IQ drops any lower, we'll have to water him?  His condition has spread to most of the country, sparing neither age, sex, nor party.

There's been a lot of Chicken Little talk about the Sequester recently.   President Obama warned the nation in his weekly message that "a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will ... slow our economy, they'll eliminate good jobs."  Oh noes!  And our defense budget will be slashed!  We'll be defenseless!  Canada will be able to pour over the border and take us without firing a shot!  Then they'll force their socialist healthcare system on our helpless citizens!

Numerous writers have pointed out that the fuss is overblown, another manufactured crisis allowing Obama and the Congressional Republicans to strut and orate and blame each other.  Even if the cuts are implemented, military spending will merely drop to 2006 levels -- you know, when Bush was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- from $600 billion to $550 billion.  You can still buy an awful lot of drones and cluster bombs with that.  The civilian spending cuts will be more serious, but they're what Obama and his allies in Congress want anyway, and it is the military spending cuts that have our elites and pundits' pants in a bunch.

But one other thought was nagging me from the back of my mind.  Weren't these budget cuts part of the deal Obama made with the GOP in 2011 to resolve (or "resolve") the debt-ceiling "crisis"?  And weren't they then hailed by Obama's adulators as proof of his tactical brilliance -- a rope-a-dope that would let the Republicans think they'd won, but then POW! they'd be flat on the canvas with stars and little tweety birds circling over their heads?  Yes, they were.  Not all of them: even Gene Lyons, usually one of the God-Man's more reliable apologists, turned up his nose at that rhetoric. This guy was only concerned that "There are at least four dopes punching him [while] Muhammad Ali only had one."
So what does this leave our media-besieged President? The powerful bully pulpit, one he's hardly used so far, unlike FDR Pres. Obama badly needs to start using his considerable media and oratorical skills to cut through the right-wing noise and nuttiness. This week would be a good time to start. To go on the attack against the extremists who clearly dominate so much of the media debate.
Remember, a well-controlled memory is a necessity in an Inner Party Member.  I see many well-controlled memories around today.