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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tide Turning re: Sequester?

A week or so ago, it seemed all you heard about the sequester was how bad it would be and how it was all the Republicans' fault.  Which prompted me to put up a few posts disagreeing with both themes.  Today, though, there are hopeful signs that the tide is turning and more people are beginning to see that the Administration has been overplaying its hand for political purposes and a backlash has emerged.

First, there was the Bob Woodward eruption, although my post last week explained why I think he is wrong on his history, even though I admire his willingness to speak out contrary to the Administration and the majority of the Inside the Beltway elite.

Next came this Saturday Night Live parody of the Administration's parade of horribles, which degenerates into the Village People feeling the pain.

Even the stalwart New York Times on Sunday carried a smackdown in an editorial by former executive editor Bill Keller entitled "Obama's Fault". Keller argues that Obama erred in not embracing Simpson-Bowles in his prior term (love to go back and look at the Times' editorial stance on Simpson-Bowles back then when I find time); and in not letting the Bush tax cuts expire on everyone.

Tom Brokaw went on NBC yesterday and said "Speaker Boehner is right" that the Senate has failed to act, and complained that "the President ... spent entirely too much time in the last two weeks, campaigning, in effect, all around the country."

This morning, echoing Brokaw, Business Insider even set aside the pom-poms it usually carries and ran a post "Why John Boehner Might be Right to Blame Obama for the Sequester".

And the public seems to be catching on, as Gallup's daily poll of the President's job approval rating, which had been above 50% all year on a rolling three-day average, has dropped now to 46% (h/t Big Government). 

It seems pretty clear that the median voter wants to see Washington adopt rational spending discipline, does not share the Administration's preference to keep spending up as long as it is financed by taxes on upper-income earners, and rejects the Administration's scare tactics and bad faith efforts to maximize the pain of the cuts as a political tactic looking towards the 2014 midterm elections. One can only hope the Democrats' internal polling is showing similar themes and they will get out of their tax-and-spend straitjacket and move toward the center by adopting rational spending cuts, as to which I think there are probably enough Republican crossover votes to make such an effort bipartisan.