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U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders in the Roosevelt Room of White House to discuss the economy, November 16, 2012. Left of President Obama is Speaker of the House John Boehner.                             REU
Conservative opinion writer Byron York does a pretty good job of dismantling House Speaker John Boehner's illogical position on the sequester:
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner describes the upcoming sequester as a policy “that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more.”

Which leads to the question: Why would Republicans support a measure that threatens national security and thousands of jobs?

York's real problem with Boehner is that he believes Boehner is doing a bad job of making the case for the sequester. In other words, York thinks Boehner is making a mistake by criticizing the sequester in such harsh terms. But that particular train has already left the station—Boehner has repeatedly said the sequester is the worst thing ever, but that he wants it to happen. York accurately describes that paradoxical position as "untenable." Moreover:
The effect of Boehner’s argument is to make Obama seem reasonable in comparison. After all, the president certainly agrees with Boehner that the sequester cuts threaten national security and jobs.  The difference is that Obama wants to avoid them.
Again, in York's view, Boehner's primary mistake was condemning the sequester. He thinks Boehner should have framed the sequester as being modest but meaningful. But that's not what Boehner has done. Instead, Boehner is insisting on following through on the sequester at the same time that that he's saying he doesn't want the sequester to happen.

At this point, given his repeated trashing of the sequester, it's hard to see how he could suddenly start making the case for it. And if he doesn't go down that path, Boehner has two options: He can continue to holding his illogical position on the sequester or he can open the door to getting rid of it, either by agreeing to compromise with Democrats on revenue or simply by proposing to repeal it.

Getting rid of the sequester would be the best thing for the country, but if Boehner can't bring himself to do the right thing, he's going to remain trapped in a paradoxical position of his own creation.

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Comment Preferences

  •  What is the difference between (4+ / 0-)

    Boehner's and the president? They both wanted a sequester. They both got it. They both say it will mean the end of the world as we know it. They both blame the other guy for it.

    •  None (4+ / 0-)

      The President: Cutting the deficit will cost jobs!  Which is why we need 4 trillion dollars in balanced deficit reduction!

      Wait, what?

      •  So you favor deficit spending forever? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Observerinvancouver

        In other words, we can put you down as a supporter of Reaganomics?

        One big difference between a planned deficit reduction and the sequester is the sequester hits all programs good or bad equally. Another is it kicks in now, instead of being phased in or out over a 10-year planning window.

        So exactly why do you feel it is a bad thing for the US government to finally pay its bills? We've done the opposite thing for almost every year out of the past 30+ years, and look where that's got us.

        And we do not get to the point of paying our bills except by - you guessed it - deficit reduction and eventually deficit elimination. The wise way to do that is to back-load the effects so they do not occur today while the global economy is still unstable.

        •  No, I don't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quicklund, quagmiremonkey

          So no, you can't.

          •  Then I don't understand your objection (0+ / 0-)

            Why shouldn't PBO establish a medium-term plan to cut the deficit? And how is putting an end to the Era of Reganomics something identical to Republican policy?

            Eight years is probably not enough time to reverse the fundamental economic policy of thirty years, not in a nation of over 300,000,000. Not when taking office during a deep global recession. But by 2016 it should be clearer how unhappy old guard Republicans are with his changes.

            •  We need stimulus now (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quagmiremonkey

              We don't get stimulus now by talking about cutting deficits. now.   We need policies crafted for the present and near term.  The President should put all his focus on that.  Growing the economy now is the best deficit reduction plan he could do, anyway.

              •  Hear, Hear! MPociask N/T (0+ / 0-)

                Mollie

                "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                by musiccitymollie on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 03:09:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  But this is over a 10-year planning window (0+ / 0-)

                What I am trying to say is we will not be under a stimulus program during the entire ten year period. The back end of this period is when PBO want to target the budget reduction portion of the 10-year plan. This is the yin and yang of Keynesian theory. Deficit spending during downturns and paying back that debt during upturns.

    •  I know what the difference is: (8+ / 0-)

      While both (like everyone else) are flying by the seat of their pants, Obama has his pants on.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:45:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good point.. the posturing is getting laughable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask

      from both sides.

      ABC News last night chided the President for all the puffery when he has not had a single meeting with the GOP since the first of the year in regards to the sequestration.

      It's all political bullshit.  When it hits, no one will notice anyway.  The President, once again, trots out first responders who are paid locally and may only be very limitedly affected by any cuts, if at all.  It's all bullshit, and I think most Americans have turned a deaf ear to this buffoonery by both sides.

      •  Spot on! Laughable is an "understatement." N/T (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bon Temps

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 03:11:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Better said: they both wanted it...as a deterrent. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask, thomask, mchestnutjr

      Neither believed the sequester would or should be implemented. It wasn't like it was the good idea of either of them. But they said very different things at the time about the "Grand Bargain," the deal that included the sequester as an enforcement tool.

      Speaker Boehner was the guy who claimed on CBS News the next day that he got 98% of what he wanted.

      President Obama, in signing the bill Congress passed, said: "Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need, and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year."

      Now, the President is trying to be responsible ... and Congress is out of session.

      Given our fragile recovery and the pressing needs of the nation, austerity should not have any role in negotiations about the debt ceiling, the deficit or the budget. But that's not solely up to us, or Democrats or the President to decide.

      If you want to get stubborn about it - or assert some false equivalency between Boehner and Obama - we'll get the sequester and take the chance the public sees austerity for the mess it will be.

      (Personally, I believe living with the sequester would be OK for a while. It will (1) be the only hope of starting to corral military spending; we will never get as good a chance! and (2) show vividly that the GOP's high-level rhetoric will not be tolerable policy for the public when it translates to specific programs.)

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

      by TRPChicago on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:28:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  All the difference in the world, friend! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund, Observerinvancouver

      Obama is ready and willing to cancel it.

      Better?

      Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

      by Clem Yeobright on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:28:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  for what? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quagmiremonkey

        Both sides are being irresponsible. Both rhetorically and politically. Cancel it for what he wants. Boehner will cancel it for what he wants. same difference.

      •  He threatened to veto its repeal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie, MPociask

        He wants this crisis to help sell his Grand Bargain as the lesser of two evils.

        "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." Barack Obama

        by quagmiremonkey on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 01:22:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is true--a 'veto threat' was issued. N/T (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quagmiremonkey

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 03:13:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ok reconcile these two statements (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quagmiremonkey, MPociask

          "“I will veto any effort to get rid of automatic spending cuts.”

          "“If congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place it will jeopardize our military readiness. It will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research. It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that’s outlived its usefulness or a vital service that Americans depend on every day. These cuts are not smart. They’re not fair. They’ll add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls. . . . These cuts are a bad idea, they’re not good for the economy, they’re not how we should run our government. There’s a smarter way to do this.”"

          •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

            The fan club counters that this somehow makes him "THE Adult in the room", as if that appellation will help anyone pushed down by his policy choices.

            "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." Barack Obama

            by quagmiremonkey on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 05:22:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It isn't that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quagmiremonkey

              he isn't more adult, just that neither is acting honestly or responsibly. It's like the gop are 1st graders and he's a 4th grader.  The embarrassing, groveling fealty that so many here display for any utterance by this administration can be really nauseating on occasion.

    •  Congrats on raising false equivalency to a new (0+ / 0-)

      level.  The Presdent agreed to sequester to save the world financial system from collapse.  John Boehner agreed to save his job.  

      In addition, if Boehner the slightest competence as Speaker he ought to have been able to keep his conference in line and avoided the sequester in the first place,

      We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. B. Franklin

      by Observerinvancouver on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 12:04:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Congrats on raising blind ideology and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quagmiremonkey, MPociask

        mindless partisanship to, well, actually about the same level as always around here.

        The President did not simply "agree" to the sequester, he brought it to the table and literally demanded it. Boner, rather than lead as well, said "thanks!"

        Now neither will take responsibility. And if you think the President didn't do that for HIS reelection I have a bridge for sale.

        •  the difference is... (0+ / 0-)

          It's like when a child complains, again and again, that the moonbeams coming through the windows are too bright and she cannot get to sleep.

          Eventually, the frustrated parent offers a preposterous solution, suggesting that maybe the child should have a talk with the moon, trying to convince it to go away.  

          President Obama, annoyed by the obstructionists in Congress, offered an off-the-cuff proposal that any sane person would have laughed about before settling down to come up with a more reasonable plan.  

          But the childish Republicans, who enjoy playing games, never caring about the life-or-death consequences that the impact of their 'decisions' can have for real Americans, continued to act nonsensically, almost whimsically, ignoring their relative positions, pretending that they were in the place of power, while the president was a mere nobody.  

          The difference is, President Obama is the adult in this situation; Mr. Boehner and the others are demonstrating the maturity and understanding of two-year-olds.  

  •  On Wapo, Chris Cilliza (19+ / 0-)

    has a good post.

    Why Congress won’t win a sequester showdown with President Obama — in 3 easy steps

    Here’s why — in 3 very simple steps:

    1. Regular people have no idea what the sequester is right now and, even once it kicks in, aren’t likely to pay all that close of attention to it unless they are directly affected by it.

    2. Obama is popular with the American public

    3. Congress is not.

    snip

    Because the sequester is (and is likely to continue to be) very ill-defined in the minds of most Americans, the politics of it will devolve into a popularity contest between the major players. Which gets us to the fact that Obama is at (or close to) his high-water mark in terms of job approval while Congress sits in political reporter/used car salesman territory.

    snip

    Republicans in Congress are operating under the assumption that the blame game on the sequester — the subject actually hasn’t been polled all that much to date — will shift once people begin to pay closer attention. But that assumes that people will deeply engage on sequestration, a complicated topic whose impact outside the Capital Beltway may not be strongly felt immediately.

    If they don’t — and you usually can’t go wrong betting on the side of the American public not paying all that much attention to the policy fights in Washington — then sequestration will turn into something approximating a high school popularity contest, and that’s not a game Republicans are positioned to win at the moment.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:19:48 AM PST

    •  I am hoping if the sequester kicks in that (6+ / 0-)

      Congress is hit repeatedly over the head about tax cuts affecting the rich is the whole reason why government workers are being furloughed, normal people are having long lines at airports, payments are being delayed, shortages of foods that must be inspected (like meat), closed parks and, gasp, cuts to defense projects.

      The commercials have already been written - Boehner saying he's happy that he got 98% of what he wanted with the sequester, accompanied by rich people on their yachts smoking fat cigars interspersed with photos of unemployed people or reconstruction projects put on hold while waiting for this to be worked out.

      This all comes up again at the end of March when the fiscal cliff 2.0 comes right back.

    •  People will care about sequestration (0+ / 0-)

      at the point where they begin to realize that it won't merely affect people who happen to work for the federal government,

       - when it affects their travel plans (because TSA staff has been cut)

       - when it affects food costs and availability (because USDA food inspections will be cut)

       - when their tax refunds are delayed (because IRS staffing and hours have been cut)

       - when they lose out on that bid to buy a home with an FHA mortgage (because FHA approval of the transaction is delayed by furloughs at HUD)

       - when the job market begins to tank again (because federal spending really DOES pump money into the economy)

       - when they realize that the federal government is an integral part of their everyday lives even if they think it isn't.

  •  My daughter - Slap (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miracle11, JML9999

    My sister - Slap, my daughter - Slap, my sister - Slap

  •  9s clip of Boehner claiming he got 98%... (5+ / 0-)

    Keystone XL Pipeline - Canada gets the money, Asia gets the oil, America gets the toxic refinery pollution and potential for a pipeline leak ecological disaster.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:25:57 AM PST

  •  Old Prison Joke (7+ / 0-)

    Inmate 1:This food is terrible
    Inmate 2:And the Portions are so small

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:30:19 AM PST

  •  Not only the worst speaker ever, also (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jerrypw, diffrntdrummr, earicicle, mindara

    hands down, the stupidest.

  •  Definition of Stupidity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mindara, sfbob

    Boehner and Repug House and the sheeple who vote them in every election.

    "You can blow out a candle, but you can't blow out a fire. Once the flames begin to catch, the wind will blow it higher." Peter Gabriel - "Biko"

    by jerrypw on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:32:31 AM PST

  •  Boehner's giving me a fucking headache. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    earicicle, Sybil Liberty, Quicklund
  •  To be fair, (4+ / 0-)

    when the Republicans made the sequester deal, they were probably banking on Romney winning, especially with Karl Rove feeding them numbers.  Meaning there'd be no showdown to have.  

    Conservatives need to realize that their Silent Moral Majority is neither silent, nor moral, nor a majority.

    by nominalize on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:50:23 AM PST

  •  Repeal the sequester with an up/down vote. (4+ / 0-)

    If Repubs are free to vote, it will be repealed.

    We deserve a vote, Mr. Speaker!

  •  Byron York: "Harden your heart, Oh Great One" (3+ / 0-)

    Speaker Boehner (looking around nervously): "Shhhh! Do you want people to believe I can do something about this???"

    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 Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:56:29 AM PST

  •  Sooo... (3+ / 0-)

    It's Obama's fault that Boehner fell for the sequester...

    America, we can do better than this...

    by Randomfactor on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 10:56:30 AM PST

  •  Well Obama Is The One Who Appointed That (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, quagmiremonkey

    ridiculous "debt commission" (aka the cat food commission) to make "deficit reduction" proposals. And of course, the commission came out with recommendations, and those spending cut recommendations couldn't be agreed on and passed by Congress, which led to the sequester. I voted for the President, but this is a mess of his own making - he NEVER should have brought up the deficit, let alone appointed a "debt commission."  

  •  It's Obama's Fault That Boehner Voted For It.... (6+ / 0-)

    So did Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor & Darrell Issa. 179 Republicans voted for the sequester.   Apparently Obama has secret powers to make people do stuff.

    I guess in that case, I can blame Obama every time I eat potato chips, ice cream, chocolate & fast food.  He forces me to stop @ Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonalds & Burger King.  He also makes me watch reality TV.  

    Obama made me do it.  There.....it's his fault.  

    •  Yep. Sad to see people helping repubs ONCE MORE (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      etherealfire

      I mean...  Boehner and his gang are doing everything they can to blame President Obama and there will be a good number of people on this side who will gladly oblige and direct all their anger at President Obama instead of the republicans, who for two years have done a lot of hostage taking, and have used their congressional power to pursue an agenda that is anathema to a majority of americans.

      Wash, rince, repeat.

  •  Remember the Taxi where Ladka and Simka divorce? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund

    They're forced into it because of Ladka's less-than-wilfull infidelity and they both feel terrible about it.

    Jim proposes: If you love each other so much, why don't you just get married again?

    Alex says: xrist, Jim, if they could do that would they be sitting around here moping?

    And Ladka and Simka slap their foreheads and say "Thanks, Jim!"

    Republicans just need someone as smart as Jim Ignatowski ...

    Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

    by Clem Yeobright on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:25:34 AM PST

  •  This is on the Republicans lock stock and barrel.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, etherealfire, sfbob

    Eric Cantor acted like his usual dickish self and walked out on the so called "Grand Bargain". And held the debt ceiling hostage at the same time. Obama made the deal with the condition that a "catfood commission" would ultimately take place (and since Eric the Dickish Cantor was the only one who walked away from the 1st Bowles commission this kind of makes sense) and that if they did not come to an agreement on the new catfood commission, the sequester would kick in. The military cuts in the sequester are so enormous, no one could have really thought the Pugs would even think about going there. And as bad as the discretionary cuts are, they're not near as bad as the military ones.

    The Republicans are going to cave. They have to. Most of their districts are heavily dependent on military contracting or military bases. Not to mention what this is going to do to the stock market. Boehnerhead has gotten himself in one hell of a clusterfuck and he doesn't have any graceful way out. But he's gotta get out somehow.
    C'mon John.....why don't ya keep on downing that Jim Beam? Or Wild Turkey? I don't think the answer at the bottom of that bottle, but drunks have been trying for millions of years, so there must be something to it!!

    Fucking incompetent loutish drunk

    "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

    by mindara on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 11:44:15 AM PST

    •  I'm afraid they will let the sequester happen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask, mindara

      and THEN restore defense spending, ONLY defense spending. Putting democrats in a difficult position politically.

      Am I the only one thinking that defense contractors are not putting that much pressure on republicans right now because they have been reassured that the budget for defense will quickly be restored after the sequester happens ??

      •  I don't think Obama would go for that...and the (0+ / 0-)

        pugs have more to lose than the Dems. It won't be pretty, but it would make no sense for Obama to make that kind of deal.

        "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..

        by mindara on Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 12:42:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    That a good reporter/ television interviewer could really get boehner on this. Ask him to describe exactly how bad sequester will be and do it in great detail. Then ask "so this is the worst thing that can happen?". He now has to answer yes, and probably will want too. Follow up question "worse than cutting the deficit?" He will of course squirm and explain how the deficit is a huge problem and go on about borrowing and such. Go back to cutting the military, and watch him squirm more. Finally tie the two together, "so it is obvious we can't keep adding to  our deficit and can't cut our military, sounds like we have a revenue problem." End interview

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