After reading that House Republicans are thrilled at John Boehner's decision to forgo any more talks on the sequester, Kevin Drum writes:
I'm not surprised about this. After all, Republicans are fine with the domestic cuts, and probably figure the inevitable horror stories won't be bad enough to do them any lasting damage. They can tough it out. And while cutting every single agency by the same amount is dumb, it's only for seven months. They're allowed to rejuggle the cuts during the upcoming budget cycle.Regarding that bit about "the inevitable horror stories": Yes, some people will feel the pain immediately, but for most Americans, the pain will come as a ripple effect -- unemployment inching higher, the economy becoming more and more sluggish, or even going into reverse. And since the pain of the cuts won't be instantaneously shocking to many people, Republicans can probably count on the fact that when it really hits, most Americans won't even connect it to the sequester. We'll be three or four crises further along by then; we won't still be talking about the sequester, and most Americans won't even remember what it was.
As for the defense cuts, they're probably counting on putting that money back into the budget somehow. There are enough Democrats who will go along with this to make that possible.
So here's what they get: A bunch of cuts to domestic programs. A short-term hit to the Pentagon. No tax hikes. And lots of chaos over the next few months, which will make voters even more disgusted with Washington than usual. What's not to like? This is Republican heaven, assuming their political read of the situation turns out to be correct. And it might.
Republicans will just say that any uptick in unemployment or reversal of the recovery is the fault of "the Obama economy." Or excessive spending -- remember that after this, Republicans will still say government spending is "out of control." (It's always "out of control" when Democrats are in chaarge.) Or maybe they'll blame a downturn on those job-killing Obama tax cuts on the rich. They love that one. (The mainstream press, of course, will blame "Washington.")
It'll just be one more thing Republicans did and hung around Obama's neck.