Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said he suspects the White House is engaging in an age-old political trick called the Washington Monument strategy — threatening to shut down popular services, such as the monument, unless budget cuts are reversed.And why is canceling White House tours uglier than, say, the Secret Service layoffs and furloughs that the cancellation was designed to avoid? A House aide explains:
“It’s the old, ‘If you don’t [approve] this bond levy for the school district, we’re going to eliminate football,’” Simpson said. “I understand the strategy of the administration: They’re trying to make it as ugly as possible to put as much pressure as possible on Republicans to change their position. It’s just not going to happen.”
“Basically it creates a constituent relations nightmare,” said one House staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and is not authorized to speak with the press.Clearly, this is one asshole who has no idea what a real nightmare is—a nightmare like losing your job. Canceling the tours may have allowed the Secret Service to avoid layoffs and furloughs, but presumably the cancellation impacted the jobs of non-security tour staff. They're the ones facing a real nightmare.
“It’s incumbent on the members’ offices, not the White House, to call them and tell them one by one,” the aide added. “It’s probably like if you’re a high-end car dealer and you have a recall on your cars and you have to call all these people who paid 80 grand for their sports car and tell them there’s a fatal flaw.”
Also, that car analogy is awful, and as you'll see below the fold, it's not just because car dealers are way, way more popular than Congressional Republicans.
The other big problem with the analogy is this: Congressional Republicans are the reason the car has a fatal flaw. They aren't the victims here. Instead, they're whining about being forced to deal with a problem that they created.
Nonetheless, these lazy and selfish sacks of you-know-what are so freaked out about the possibility of calling their
precious constituents political contributors with the news that White House tours have been canceled that they'd rather see somebody get laid off or furloughed—as long as they don't have to place the call breaking the news, of course.
And don't forget, this is just a microcosm of a larger pattern of malignant policy priorities with respect to the sequester from the GOP. As Jason Linkins writes in Huffington Post:
The pain of cancelling the White House tours is going to felt by a statistically negligible portion of the population, who will simply have to make do with any of the many thousands of other things to do in Washington in the meantime. On the other hand, the real pain of the sequestration is more likely going to come in the form of the 750,000 jobs that the Congressional Budget Office projects will be lost by year's end, if no deal is made.Nonetheless, Republicans are up in arms. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) whined that the public had been "banned" from the White House. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said it was "petty" and seemed "childish." Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) described it as "an extreme consequence" of sequester (unlike those unextreme job losses, I guess). Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) said canceling tours was "wrong." And Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) even introduced legislation demanding the tours be reinstated.
But despite all their angst, I have a piece of good news for distraught House Republicans: There's a simple way for them to get their White House tours back. All they have to do is end the sequester. And you know what? There'll be a side benefit: hundreds of thousands of people won't lose their jobs and and the economy will grow faster.