Considering that a good number of print and online media doesn’t seem to know whether to use the word “sequester” or “sequestration” when it comes to writing about the… sequester… or sequestration… federal spending… whatever, one can forgive the average American citizen for being confused about it all. The Huffington Post does a decent job of explaining, linking to the actual sequester document (though they, too, use both words seemingly interchangeably!), so take a look there and see if you can sort it out.
But what most thinking Americans do know is that it’s not good, it’s not going to bring peace to the valley and if it’s allowed to continue until the 27th of March, when the Continuing Resolution that funds the government runs out, well, that’s just… bad. Federal spending – how much and on what – is at the heart of the sequester imbroglio and it becomes a point of interest to see just how the American public sees the debate.
So as Congress and the President bend and stretch and dodge and parry in a variety of moves meant to bring us closer to resolution on federal spending, who’s taking the heat for this unfortunate, should-have-been-avoided, completely counterproductive state of affairs? Who’s being blamed for the federal spending sequester-mess?
Yep, the Republicans.
Despite the fact that most Republicans would like to make their constituents believe President Obama is at fault (even Mitt Romney couldn’t resist getting in a “sequester dig” and he’s not even in government anymore!) and even with wiser minds concluding that the bipartisan “supercommittee” of six senators from both sides of the aisle are to blame, a new Washington Post/ABC poll reveals that 67 percent of those polled disapprove of the way Republicans are handling – or not handling, as it were – federal spending overall. Worse than even that statistic: 51 percent of Republicans disapprove as well.
In that same poll President Obama’s disapproval rating on the sequester is at 52… certainly not great, but a long way – 15 whole points – from 67.
But the bad news for the GOP continues. A Wall Street Journal poll shows that only 29 percent of Americans support the GOP stance on the budget, while 45 percent support Obama’s views.
On the question of who’s doing a better job of uniting the country as a whole on the topic: 22 percent say the GOP, 37 percent go for the Democrats… Obama rakes in 48 percent.
And yet Republicans continue to hold tight, not only to their stand against budgetary compromise, but in their view of the President as intransigent. However, as Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast summarizes, it’s possible, as the impact of the sequester slowly makes its way into the day-to-day workings of American life, the citizenry currently backing the President may wobble in their support.
“… if there are furloughs, airline delays, rising unemployment, national park restrictions and more immigration detainees released, the public may quickly move into pox-on-both-your-houses territory. Obama is clearly more popular than his opposition, but it may not take long for voters to start wondering why he hasn’t been able to resolve what he rightly calls a manufactured crisis.”
A manufactured crisis. One thing this country – with its hearty list of authentic crises to manage – does NOT need.
We’ll see how the polls adjust as we continue waiting for this sequester… sequestration… the “manufactured crisis” to be resolved. Whatever we call it, the clock is still ticking.