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Friday, February 22, 2013

Obama Was Against The 'Easy Off-Ramps' On Sequester Before He Was For It

By Susan Duclos

Liberals seem to be a tad upset (big surprise) over a video reminder from November 2011 of Barack Obama threatening to veto "any effort to get rid of the sequester cuts," continuing on to say "Already, some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts. My message to them is simple: No. I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts – domestic and defense spending. There will be no easy off-ramps on this one.”

Video below:

[Update] Obama is so desperate to avoid his own "mess" that he now is saying through his mouth piece, Jay Carney, that he will accept a major "easy off-ramp"of a two month deal. (Via Roll Call) [End Update]

Following that statement, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed two bills that would replace those sequester cuts with spending cuts more palatable that the ones set to go into effect on March 1, 2013, those bills died in the Senate.

FACT: House Republicans are the only ones who have addressed the president’s sequester, and have passed two bills replacing it with responsible cuts and reforms.

  • The sequester was the Obama administration’s idea – as Bob Woodward has explained, the White House proposed it and insisted it be included in the 2011 debt limit agreement. See page 326 of his book where he makes that clear.
  • The House passed the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act (HR. 5652) in May 2012 and the Spending Reduction Act (H.R. 6684) in December. Learn more about them both here.
  • Senate Democrats never passed legislation replacing the president’s sequester. It took the GOP-led No Budget, No Pay Act to get them to even consider passing a budget for the first time in four years.
  • President Obama doesn’t have a replacement plan either. He hasn’t even said when we’ll see his budget -- which is late, again, and which could have addressed his sequester.

Now Obama and Democrats want to replace that law, which is all spending cuts, across the board, with cuts and tax revenue, meaning more taxes and Obama is suddenly all for finding an "easy off-ramp," just a little over a year after he said he would veto any attempt.

He is so desperate now  that he has taken to his bully pulpit once again to play the same old song, as Peggy Noonan accurately describes it, "Government by Freakout."

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.

 Noonan goes on to show how Obama's strategy is starting to backfire:
It leaves the vulnerable feeling more anxious, and the sophisticated feeling more jerked around. The president is usually called popular, but his poll numbers are well below Bill Clinton's and Ronald Reagan's at this point in their presidencies. He's pretty much stuck at George W. Bush's levels. The president and his people overestimate his position in this 50-50 country.

Beyond that, the president damages himself with his cleverness. At the end of the day he looks incapable of creating a sense of stability. The thing he misses as he shrewdly surveys the field is what he is: the president. He is the man people expect to lead, to be wiser. He is the one they expect to come up with a plan that is a little more than Let's Threaten Catastrophe. As Ron Fournier asked in a spirited piece in National Journal, is the fiscal standoff "just about scoring political points, or is it about governing? If it's all about politics, bully for Obama. A majority of voters will likely side with the president over Republicans. . . . If it's about governing, the story changes: In any enterprise, the chief executive is ultimately accountable for success and failure. . . . There is only one president."

One of the problems for Obama is not only his prior veto threat, but the appearance of using human shields and props, threatening the well being of Americans, if he cannot get his way on inserting tax policy into a replacement for the sequester which is only spending cuts as is.

He played his class warfare card in the fiscal cliff deal, he won, and received a higher tax rates for upper income Americans and the expiration of the payroll holiday tax cuts which resulted in taxes going up for 77 percent of working Americans.

The battle lines are drawn, Obama wants tax hikes, Republicans spending cuts.

Republicans point to the fiscal cliff deal and how Obama already received his tax increases, with no balanced spending cuts to accompany them.

What Obama is not saying as he makes the media rounds and stands behind his sympathetic human  props to claim that it is Republicans who are being unreasonable, is the one truth he cannot admit to.

The sequester is law and it is only spending cuts and the initial proposal for the sequester was generated by the Obama administration.

With more and more Republicans publicly stating they are willing to let the sequester happen and let the chips fall where they may, Barack Obama has run out of options, he has no hand because he shot his whole tax wad on the fiscal cliff deal.