The hot buzz word in DC today is “Sequester.” From the lunchroom to the floor of the Senate, everybody is talking about it. And the pressure is on to resolve it.
Obama has nothing to lose in the sequester negotiations. He gave the GOP everything they asked for, and have been asking for in their rhetoric for years. You ask an average Republican voter, they demand to slash government spending. The Sequester is just what they’ve been asking for, and now they are fighting it tooth and nail.
What happened? Simple, Obama, along with the Democrats, stopped being the enablers. Without the Democratic Party being responsible adults, the Republican policies would result in a complete federal government shutdown. So, the Democratic Party, lead by Obama, simply decided on giving the GOP exactly what they wanted, and stepped back to let them deal with the mess. Confused as to how the Democrats were enablers? Lawrence O’Donnell explains how this setup works here:
The Republicans have been given everything they have ever wanted. They now have the across the board budget slashing that they have campaigned on since Newt Gingrich took power in 1994.
They expect the Democrats to bail them out again after running up the nation’s credit card. And now Obama and the Democrats say “No deal.” This is putting an incredible amount of pressure on the Republican party, more than they’ve ever faced before. That Obama already got the tax increases he demanded. Obama knows, if the Republicans don’t cave, they will suffer from the public backlash. The sequester was their idea, now they are panicking because it is looming. They assumed they could get their way, that the Democratic Party would save their hide while they go back to their tired old talking points and strategies. Now they are being forced to actually participate in politics, that being the party of “NO” means that they are the ones who are wearing the emperors new clothes.
Obama is letting the pressure of the sequester settle in, and force the existing divisions within the Republican party to the surface. Already the GOP’s civil war is forcing serious divides to settle in and become wedges. The division is exposing how fragile the GOP’s coalition truly is. Being built not on responsible governance, but on radical ideology, it could not stand on its own, only in opposition to some outside force. For decades, that outside force had been the Democrats, who predictably enabled the GOP radicalism by being the responsible party. Obama simply took away that opposition, and gave them the very thing they have been demanding, and now tells them to solve the mess they made.
Obama is the adult in the room, dealing with a Republican congress who are now, for the first time since Newt Gingrich reshaped them in the 1990’s, being forced to pay the piper. Governing is hard, it requires compromise, and responsibility. The Republican Party has been given a free pass from responsibility for too long.
And the piper is standing there, holding out his hand for the promised payment.
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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