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In the 20 February edition of the Washington Post E.J. Dionne wrote "Republicans Run Out the Clock," an opinion piece which needs more attention.  Here's what he says about the sequester:

Here is the most important thing about the battle raging in the capital over $85 billion in automatic spending cuts: Republicans are losing the argument but winning the time war.

The more time we spend on pointless disputes about budget cuts no one is expected to make soon, the less we spend trying to solve the problems that confront us today — and, God forbid, thinking about the future.

The Republicans are masters at distracting the media and the national attention into pursuing things that should not matter - or, even if they do matter, which should matter a lot less than nearly everything else.  They have been directing the conversation during the last few years:

Benghazi!  Benghazi!  Sure, four Americans died but what about the thousands who die from gun violence every year?  And the attacks on consulates in the Bush era?  And the 4000+ Americans in Iraq?  And the 100,000+ Iraqis who died?

Death panels!  Although I loathe Sarah Palin, I concede her ability to turn or deliver a phrase that catches on.  That phrase did a lot to undermine the popularity of Obamacare and helped deliver the 2010 election to the Republicans.

Sandra Fluke is a slut!  I loathe Rush Limbaugh, and would never tune to him.  But even with his falling popularity, he's quoted many nights on MSNBC.  Maybe the MSNBC viewers yearn for this. Maybe it's just easier for them - and all resources are limited - to complain about Rush Limbaugh.  Perhaps it is even necessary, because some of the lies must be countered.

But we need to do more than play defense, because they're running out the clock.  We see this in many instances.  The delay of the confirmations, from Hagel down to many judges.  The delay of implementations.

E J Dionne concludes:

The return of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles to Washington’s public stage this week was a reminder that we are trapped in the same old play with the same characters and the same themes.

On the merits, Obama has public opinion in his corner. His proposal to avoid the economic drag of the sequester with a reasonable amount of deficit reduction built on a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases through tax reform occupies the debate’s broad middle ground. If the GOP wanted, based on its past positions, it could take a deal of this sort and declare victory, given all the cuts that have already passed.

But that is not the victory the Republicans seek. The sequester game is a contest in which their side wins simply by running out the clock, no matter what the score is. Thus, Obama can’t just score points. He needs to figure out how to end this game so he can play the one he promised us when he said his reelection could “break the fever” in Washington. Alas, it has not broken yet.

Obama is aware of this, partly because this second term is his last term to serve as president, and so he is taking his case to the people - with gun control, with the sequester.  

We have to find a way to keep the Republicans from setting the agenda.  More powerful, more interesting distractions of our own?  

Suggestions if you have any.

*
Tired of politics?  Need to escape?  Try my Greek mythology based novels, either the story of Oedipus from the point of view of Jocasta, or a trilogy about Niobe, whose children were murdered by the gods - or were they?

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Comment Preferences

  •  So Many of Our Own Reps Are Conservatives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    that the answer is no.

    We do not have a way.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 06:26:44 AM PST

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chloris creator
  •  They can make as much noise as they want. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chloris creator

    Democrats have to stop trying to placate them. It isn't possible to satisfy a person who wants the equivalent of the world stopping so he can get off. It is an unrealistic objective, designed to fail. What we need to realize is that because failure is more certain than success, people looking for security plan to fail. That's how they feel in control.

    "See, I said it was going to be bad and it is, so I was right."

    Lawrence O'Donnell made the point the other day that Republicans make a mess of the economy and then Democrats bail them out. But, there's more to it than that. Republicans come up with impossible agendas and people vote them into office because the agendas are impossible. If a proposal is negative, what better way to deep six it than to hire someone who will fail? Then Democrats come along and say, "we're so much cleverer; watch how it's done" and accomplish what shouldn't be done -- like putting all the mothers of small children to work, so they can hire other people to take care of their children. See how that grows the economy? More people get paid, but no more work gets done and, in some cases, if there happends to be a diddler in the day-care home, the quality is much worse. But, not to worry, we'll put the diddler on trial, making work for lawyers and then we'll put him in prison to make work for jailers. And so the cycle of human husbandry (exploitation) goes on.

    One of the worst ideas to come along was Al Gore's "balanced budget," which makes sense for states whom the federal officials have put on an allowance, but makes no sense for an entity that produces its own currency. The next worst idea from Gore was the selection of Lieberman.

    Anyway, Obama is enamoured by the sequester 'cause he thinks it will let him cur fat out of the Pentagon. Personally, while I think there are better things for the makers of military hardware to produce, I have the same opinion about that as I do about guns in general. I don't care how many are owned by whom, as long as they are not used to kill people or other living things.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:52:14 AM PST

  •  without knowing it dionne starts to get to the roo (0+ / 0-)

    root of the problem- all three of those egs and the others are all talk radio successes that are basically INFUCKINGVISIBLE to the left because RW talk radio can't be read, even in the era of computer transcription software. and it is therefore ignored while it continues, even with the problems created by the rush boycotts, to kick internet ass.

    the entire sequester situation is pure talk radio. limbaugh and sons spent week leading up to the debt ceiling deadline telling 50 mil a week default was no big deal and it would even make obama give them the cuts they want. now dems let team limbaugh get away with blaming obama with the sequester.

    so,  all the 1000+ RW radio stations across the country are blaming obama for the sequester and will do so until the 2014 elections, with some success. maybe they'll keep the house.

    but nowhere on those stations or anywhere for that matter, is the question being asked that would actually hurt limbaugh- king teabagger and his teabagger spawn, was limbaugh stupid enough to think default wouldn't be a problem, or was he just lying to push the teabaggers to the edge of default for bargaining purposes.

    dems should have ads asking if limbaugh was lying about defaulting.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:49:34 PM PST

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