Why would they do such a thing? The answer is obvious: because they think it will allow them to blame Obama for every negative consequence from the spending cuts. Furloughs in Virginia? "Damn Obama for choosing to attack Virginia," they'd say. Disabled kids lose their teacher? "Why didn't the president give them more priority? We never would have done that."
In other words, the GOP gambit is a transparent piece of B.S. designed to allow Republicans to claim that spending cuts are painless—or at least would be painless if there weren't an evil president named Barack Obama sitting in the Oval Office. It's the kind of thing Democrats would be insane to embrace and the White House is pushing back hard. Tuesday afternoon, President Obama made his case, speaking at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia:
Now, lately, some people have been saying, well, maybe we'll just give the President some flexibility. He could make the cuts the way he wants and that way it won't be as damaging. The problem is when you're cutting $85 billion in seven months, which represents over a 10-percent cut in the defense budget in seven months, there's no smart way to do that. There's no smart way to do that. You don't want to have to choose between, let's see, do I close funding for the disabled kid, or the poor kid? Do I close this Navy shipyard or some other one? When you're doing things in a way that's not smart, you can't gloss over the pain and the impact it's going to have on the economy.The tragic thing here is that Republicans know this. They know the cuts will hurt the country and its citizens. That's why they've spent so much time developing Twitter hashtags like #Obamaquester and dreaming up harebarained schemes like giving Obama the authority to spend money however he sees fit. But they have yet to do the one thing that would be the most obvious thing of all: to throw in the towel and give up on jamming the sequester down our throat.
And the broader point is, Virginia, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.