The president predicted that the deep defense spending cuts mandated by the “sequestration” process, which would go into effect if Congress cannot reach a deficit-cutting deal in the coming months, “will not happen.”And half the Republican Senate caucus ran to Politico to complain about it. This is representative:
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said the president is "not a dictator yet," expressing surprise over the president's prediction during the debate that sequestration "will not happen."For those who don't remember, immediately after the deal was struck McCain announced his intention to renege on the deal and block the cuts. McCain has known from the beginning that the defense cuts included in the deal were not going to happen. He wasn't going to let them.
"I was astonished, I almost fell out of my chair when the president said, 'Don't worry, sequestration won't happen.' We've been begging the president to sit down with us to avoid what his own secretary of defense said would be a devastating blow to our national security. He just said, 'Don't worry, sequestration won't happen.' He's not a dictator yet," McCain told POLITICO Live.
No one in Washington has ever thought that these cuts to defense were going to happen, ever. The question has only been on whether and how Republicans were going to break the bonds of Grover Norquist and agree to revenue increases. This isn't about a refusal of Obama to negotiate, it's about the irrationality of the Republicans on taxes.
Give President Obama the upper hand in upcoming negotiations. Give him a better Senate.