Short diary for a simple question.  The President and Congressional Democrats agreed to the sequestration, in part, because it was designed to make discretionary spending cuts so painful that the public would demand that Congress actually pass sensible budget reform.

Then it happens.  And, while the prospect of a slowed economy, laid-off federal workers, and horrific cuts to Head Start did not merit media attention, the specter of flight delays actually got some people to take notice.  So, the President and Congressional Democrats quickly negotiated to eliminate the flight delays, destroying any leverage they had to force the GOP into a real conversation about repealing the sequester and employing common sense in its place.

So, my question.  For those of you who follow this more than I do and think more deeply about it than I do–what the heck just happened?

Do the President and Congressional Democrats secretly like the sequestration budget?  Are they actually happy with it, but just have to give lip-service to opposing it?

Or, are they so afraid of a budget fight that they will go out of their way to avoid even fights that they will win?

Or, are they playing some form of super-long game where they might have the framework for a Grand Bargain laid out with the GOP behind the scenes, and part of the deal is keeping sequestration in place?

Any and all insight is appreciated because I am completely and totally flummoxed as to what could possibly have motivated the Democrats here.

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