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The Democratic National Committee's new video: #StopTheSequester
With seven days to go until America's Next Manufactured Fiscal Crisis™ is set to kick in, here's an update on the latest news and developments on the looming automatic spending cuts known as the sequester:
  • President Obama called House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday to talk about budget issues, but there's no expectations that a sequester replacement deal will be agreed to by March 1.
  • The administration continues to believe that a Grand Bargain is possible and that the opportunity to achieve it will present itself at some point this year. Certainly, there are many Republicans who would like to strike such a deal, but as long as the House remains dominated by right wingers whose real goal is to dismantle, not preserve, social insurance programs, a Grand Bargain will be elusive.
  • As you can you see at the top of the post, Democrats are out with a new video highlighting media coverage of the economic damage that would be caused by the sequester. Yesterday, Republicans released a deceptively edited video designed to blame President Obama for the sequester.
  • Speaking of the blame game, Republicans are losing it badly.
  • As Greg Sargent writes, "both sides" are not equally to blame for the refusal to compromise. Yes, both sides created the sequester, but the only reason the sequester was created in the first place was that Republicans refused to negotiate over revenues while simultaneously refusing to raise the debt limit without spending cuts. President Obama, for better or worse, has wanted a Grand Bargain all along.

As we'll see below the fold, there are some signs of GOP division, Politico has more heartburn, and the smallest victims of sequestration will be impoverished four-year old kids.

  • A growing number of Republicans would prefer a Grand Bargain to sequestration, but they remain outnumbered by the GOP's in-house lunatics.
  • Peggy Noonan is feeling vibrations again.
  • The White House doesn't want the sequester impasse to freeze progress other important initiatives like gun control and immigration.
  • Politico seems to be concerned that President Obama has "there has been no discernible effort by the White House to work on a bill that might pass." Of course, what's really going on—and I think at least one of the Politico reporters who worked on the story understands this—is that the president is trying to use the bully pulpit to create the political conditions that would allow a deal to be struck.
  • Local newspapers are beginning to notice the sequester will cause economic damage in their area.
  • And, finally, if the sequester moves forward, 600,000 poor mothers and children who receive support from the Women, Infants, and Children program will be cut from the benefit roles and the cuts will primarily hit four- and five-year old kids.. This will likely be seen as good news by Ayn Rand fans like Rep. Paul Ryan. After all, as Newt Gingrich says, if it weren't for liberals and their love for stupid child labor laws, these youngsters could be working as janitors in local schools, and kicking them off WIC is a critical step towards the goal of teaching them how rewarding it is to earn a paycheck.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I am thankful for Republican intrasigence (22+ / 0-)

    since it seems to be preventing the "grand" bargain that will gut the safety net.  If they weren't such stupid arrogant bullies, just imagine the damage they could do.

    If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes. - Alan Lewis

    by MadRuth on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:35:00 AM PST

  •  Crisis governing has become white noise (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, shoeless, mwm341, kat68, OhioNatureMom

    Jumping from zero hour crisis solutions that move the crisis out another two months for a repeat has become old and stale. John Boehner's faux outrage is no longer effective.
    On the other hand, getting out directly to the people and demonstrating a willingness to compromise, pointing to the plans and deals already proposed, connecting with local media outlets - hey, that's change I can believe in. And watching the pundits freak out about President Obama this week shows it is working, and bypassing the village in the process is just a bonus.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:46:19 AM PST

  •  Always Thought the End of America (12+ / 0-)

    Would be more fun, like riding around the desert on scooters like in a Mad Max Movie. This is just a dreary, dull, unending slouch to nowhereland.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:50:57 AM PST

  •  The President WANTS the Grand Bargain (4+ / 0-)

    This is about HIS legacy, and HIS legacy only. That is ALL he cares about. As that NY Times article pointed out, the elite, of which HE IS PART, don't get nor care what effect they will have on ordinary peoples lives. It is very easy for the President to call for this. It will NEVER affect him, his friends, or his kids. He doesn't care, and thinks he KNOWS BEST. He is NOT on our side. But the problem is, NO ONE IS!

  •  I'm sensing the Tea Party's austerity-crats are... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nebraskablue, OhioNatureMom

    ... chortling up their sleeves, and in full denial that their constituents will blame them.

    We have a responsible President, worried about the economy and the public's welfare ... and they are doing brinksmanship without getting blamed for any specifics.

    President Obama now has to get off the austerity band wagon himself (he doesn't have to deny that the deficit and our debt is a problem; just be quiet about it) and call the extremists out.

    The Senate should send across to the House a bill that kills the sequester. Period. Let the House do with it what they will. In this game of political chickenship, we should assure that the chicken has crossed the road.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:54:57 AM PST

  •  How I hope Obama's conversation went: (6+ / 0-)

    "You guys aren't fucking me, you're fucking yourselves.  John, I expect an emergency resolution passed by the house to prevent mass layoffs in the federal sector by March 20th...and Mitch, rein in your own crazies and let that fucking thing come to a vote.  Now get the fuck out of my office."

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:56:15 AM PST

  •  Regardless of the outcome (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hulibow, tari, dalearden1942, kat68

    history will blame the GOP. It is astounding that they don't see that.

    There is nothing more exciting than the truth. - Richard P. Feynman

    by pastol on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 07:56:30 AM PST

  •  For once I agree with the House Republicans. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nchristine

    They oppose the "flexibility" option that the Senate Repubs are floating because they think that the administration would manipulate cuts to adersely impact their districts.   I only WISH that the Obama White House was Nixonian enough to stick it to the GOP districts. But sadly, they are not. If the "flexibility" option was enacted it would be disastrous for the Democrats because "Washington Bureaucrats" (ie, Dems) would be blamed for every decision that adversely affected anyone. An across the board cut would maintain the current narrative which is just fine for our side. The only thing I would manipulate would be to cut back severely on air traffic controllers so people's flights would be delayed by days, not hours. That would create an uproar loud enough to end this thing within a week.

  •  Who is to Blame for Sequestration? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nchristine

    Both parties are more or less equally at fault for creating such a drastic budget cutting mechanism. FactCheck.org is just one of the many media outlets that detailed how both sides created the budget sequester during the summer-long debt ceiling negotiations in 2011.

    Both sides created the sequester, but there is a more important question to be answered: who is to blame for not avoiding it?

    That responsibility, unfortunately, lies mostly on the shoulders of Speaker Boehner and his immovable Republican caucus in the House of Representatives. The House initiates all legislation in this country. We cannot move forward with any legislative policy unless it first receives a vote in the House of Representatives, and Speaker Boehner has not allowed any debate or vote on repealing or replacing the sequester. http://ow.ly/...

  •  Does "Grand Bargain" poll well? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2laneIA

    Or is it simply required tribute in order to be deemed sufficiently "serious" by Villagers?

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:02:05 AM PST

  •  Easy to play the patriotic Army card (8+ / 0-)

    but the cuts in the military are the only ones that make sense.

  •  politico's "reagan repub shills" concern trolling (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AnnieR, PorridgeGun, shoeless, nchristine
    Politico seems to be concerned that President Obama has "there has been no discernible effort by the White House to work on a bill that might pass."
    in other words POTUS hasn't submitted the total destruction of SS and Medicare while pouring more $ into the pentagon
  •  ah, more of that Weimar-style governance (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, nchristine

    that we've been getting for the last two years running. Deadlock, threats to blow up the full faith and credit of the US (off the table--at least for now), threats to impose swingeing cuts (very much on the table) in order to get specifically targeted, highly regressive cuts to SS/Medicare, and impotence, apathy, and lethargy on the part of our entire governing class.

    No one wants the government to work--neither Obama nor the Republicans. Obama wants the Grand Bargain and the Republicans want to torpedo the economy so they can destroy the Democratic party and make it possible for them to steal the presidency in 2016.

    Both sides will get what they want, I fear. The cost for their mutual victory will be taken out of our hides.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:08:33 AM PST

    •  What part of the Grand Bargain is "not working?" (0+ / 0-)

      Obama may want a slightly different amount of social spending than you, but how is that a) not a functioning government, or b) in any way equivalent to what the Republicans want?

      False equivalency is a Republican talking point. Every single time you say "Both sides do it," Karl Rove gets a hard-on.

      If your goal in life is to fluff Rove, please do it somewhere else.

  •  Are the Republicans losing the blame game? (3+ / 0-)

    I was watching MSNBC this morning, Chuck Todd's show, and all the tweets underneath were blaming the President, including blaming him for not legislating?  I had to stop reading the tweets; the ignorance was making my head hurt.

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:11:36 AM PST

    •  who cares? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Willa Rogers, nchristine

      Really, who gives a shit who is more responsible for this mess?

      The Democrats are in charge. Therefore, the onus lies on them to do something constructive. Going negative on the Republicans isn't going to cause voters to flock to the Democratic banner. Playing the blame game is a waste of time.

      Why this obstinate insistence on trying to peel away what remains of the GOP voter base? They won't stop voting Republican no matter how much you try to convince them that the Republicans are malicious and obstructionist. Bleating "but the Republicans are so mean and so malicious" doesn't win new Democratic voters or get rid of old GOP voters. It's just indulging in schadenfreunde.

      If the Democrats spent a tenth as much time and effort on fixing the problem as they put into trying to pin the blame for this clusterfuck on the Republicans, the problem would have been solved long ago.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:23:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Chuck Todd wouldn't selectively be pulling tweets (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnieR, howd, nchristine

      to fit his villager agenda by any chance?

  •  The Republican Sequestration Tax... (3+ / 0-)

    It seems to me that Democrats' entire focus should be on your bullet point number three, Jed:

    ". As you can you see at the top of the post, Democrats are out with a new video highlighting media coverage of the economic damage that would be caused by the sequester. Yesterday, Republicans released a deceptively edited video designed to blame President Obama for the sequester."

    Why should that be our primary focus? Because...the economic damage caused by Republicans' irrationality, incompetence and intransigence would be far worse and cost ALL Americans more than any tax increase ever would.

    Which is why we should start referring to this entire Republican-manufactured crisis called "Sequestration" as John Boehner's Sequestration Tax.

    If there's one thing Republicans love to pretend it is that they are allegedly against all taxes (they aren't...they are against taxes on the richest Americans primarily and themselves secondly...and...to heck with everyone else, based on their past actions.

    Regardless...in my opinion, Democrats need to focus like a laser on what these Republicans are doing to this country with this entire thing...and...just as importantly...what Republicans need to do to eliminate the problem they've caused.

    We Democrats, from this point forward, need to use the following talking point as our number one talking point for every Democrat until this is resolved:

    "This is The Republican Party's Sequestration Tax." Repeat after me: The Republican Party Sequestration Tax...the Republican Party Sequestration Tax...the Republican Party Sequestration Tax.

    The reason we need to call it that is because Republicans love to pretend to hate taxes and demagogue the issue constantly. Lets turn the tables on them. If Republican policies cause Americans to lose money...it's a tax. Republicans put us in this bind, by failing to raise the debt limit, as ALL previous Congresses before them have done. So...this is nothing less than a tax on ALL Americans by Republicans.

    The second Democratic talking point, after incessantly referring to this as what it is...the Republican Sequestration Tax...is to demand Republicans end it by...

    ...simply raising the debt ceiling.

    "Number one talking point: Republican Sequestration Tax.
    Number two talking point: raise the debt ceilnig to kill it."

    That should be the Democratic Party mantra until Republicans decide to end their demagoguery, dishonesty and political shenanigans.

    •  Good luck with getting the word out through (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath, PorridgeGun, Mr MadAsHell

      a corporate owned media.  By the way, couldn't agree with you more.

      "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

      by AnnieR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:14:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  on Meet the Press and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AnnieR

        all other programs...Democrats can use this as a talking point in all of their interviews...the more they use it, the more likely it will make its way through the corporate media's Republican filter censors.

        •  They just have to put McCain and Graham to the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wdrath

          side for a couple of weeks and actually invite Dems to the table.  Of course, I'm exaggerating, but is it that much, really?  I agree with you.  Now to find Dems who will actually spread the word.

          "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

          by AnnieR on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 09:11:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder if you would want to add this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg

    A very in your face poll to those who are pushing cuts as the main objective to avoid sequestration.

    PEW POLL is bad news for the GOP

    For 18 of 19 programs tested, majorities want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels. The only exception is assistance for needy people around the world
    .

    GOP- Fact Free since 1981!

    by KingGeorgetheTurd on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 08:53:34 AM PST

  •  I have started suggesting a replacement for (0+ / 0-)

    Sequestration.....

    Congresstipation.

    We will never be free from fear as long as we fear the NRA.

    by captainlaser on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:14:55 AM PST

  •  The quest for a "Grand Bargain" hasn't got a (0+ / 0-)

    fucking thing to do with preserving social insurance programs.

    How far fucking right is the front page here going to go?

    From defending assasination without trial to advocating that lock in a shitty 9 dollar an hour minimum wage to pretending that repeated efforts to get Chained CPI are about "preserving" social insurance, it's reading like the New Democrat Daily.

    Perhaps one or two fucking people on the front page who have done just one or two days of honest goddamned labor in the last twenty years would at least provide some diversity.  

    At this point, this site has become the voice of the people workers need to take this Party back from.

    income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

    by JesseCW on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:57:55 AM PST

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