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I believe the impending sequester, if handled correctly, represents the best chance to win back the House in 2014.

Just to be clear, I think the sequester is a terrible idea that will act as a drag on our economy, so nothing in this diary should be read as an endorsement of the sequester itself. But it nevertheless presents a significant political opportunity.  

Here's my simple suggestion: Pivot from talking about "the sequester" to talking about "the cuts." The sequester itself has disputed paternity - "It was the President's idea!" vs. "We only suggested it because we had the debt-ceiling gun to the nations head!" So it's hard to fully pin the sequester on the Republicans. So simply stop talking about "the sequester." Instead talk about the cuts.

The cuts are easy to pin on the Tea Party and the Republicans - Federal spending cuts are what they have been pushing for all the time.

Why this "cuts" strategy will be a political winner is easy to see. Many people, if asked, are in favor of cutting "government spending." That's because "government spending" is an abstract concept. But once these cuts go into effect, people will see the actual effects of cutting spending. Folks waiting on a runway because of air traffic controllers that have been furloughed are most decidedly not in favor of those cuts. That scene gets repeated again and again across the country in different parts of the economy.

And every time the effects of the cuts get publicized, we simply say: That's what the Tea Party has been pushing for - cuts in spending. Make them own the cuts.

What has happened in the UK and Europe emphasize the misguided attempts to encourage a recovery by cutting spending. But those are abstract - here we have an opportunity to demonstrate the actual concrete consequences of cuts. When soldiers get furloughed, ask about the small businesses near the bases to show the multiplier effect of cuts.

This could be like the Gingrich's government shutdown - a once in a decade political gift. We don't have to like the sequester, but we certainly should embrace it (and not just because the Pentagon shares some of the pain).

The President has already started to do this with a state-by-state breakdown of the cuts. But he hasn't quite fully pivoted from talking about the sequester to talking about the cuts. Remember, Republicans and the Tea Party want cuts - make them own the cuts! And when they whine about not wanting these particular cuts, make them specify exactly what cuts they would substitute.

So remember - it's all about the cuts, which is what the Tea Party and the Republicans have been asking for. Talk about the "Tea Party cuts" and how they will damage the economy. They wanted to take an ax to government spending - fine, then let them own the consequences.


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Comment Preferences

  •  A corollary is to "own" the defense cuts.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA

    ...most people support cutting defense spending over cuts to  other government services, and recognize how completely out-of-control defense spending is.  The tales of the $5000 toilet seat and $600 hammer are decades old, and the statistic that the US spends as much on the military as the whole rest of the world combines is also well known.

    Therefore, Democrats can safely say "the sequester is the ONLY thing that would EVER get the Republicans to cut Defense spending."  And then put the Republicans having to request increases in Defense spending to restore the cuts, particularly for the programs the Pentagon has already indicated it doesn't want.  Emphasize the profits of defense contractors, remind people of Halliburton and KBR, and the supposed "peace dividend" of winding down the wars.

    There's no reason for Democrats to disclaim ALL the sequester's cuts, just the ones that have public support, and accomplish a goal most of the public understands would be all but impossible otherwise.

    "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." ~ Mark Twain

    by wonkydonkey on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 08:17:07 AM PST

    •  This was Howard Dean's angle. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, wonkydonkey

      I personally don't have a clue why we can't survive cutting defense spending in half. We spend 5% of our GDP on Defense.

       We don't need 1.5 Million active duty personnel and 1.5 million reservists. We don't need to be the world's policemen, or nation builders. We don't need to be worried about foreign invasion (after all, we have guns!).

  •  The President gave them 98% of (0+ / 0-)

    what they've been crying for all along. At least since 2004 as documented here with Paul [They'll give you the Iron Cross for this VonRyan] Ryan.

    "We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

    by voodoochild62 on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 02:16:14 PM PST

  •  Let's objectify the SEQUESTER!! (0+ / 0-)

    Start here...
    Why isn't WALL STREET freaking out over the approaching Sequester deadline of March 1?
    Answer: unlike the Fiscal Cliff which directly affected the financial markets by virtue of being an international DEBT MODIFICATION event which influences every financial play on Wall Street, the Sequester mainly targets working people via salary cuts and wholesale layoffs. Eventually the shrinkage in the flow of money in public circulation will begin to impose stress on the Wall Street DEBT driven economy. However Wall Street assumes by the time that shrinkage becomes significant, the hedge funds and institutional traders will have created an alternate DEBT flow model that will supplement the severe contraction of currency in the public consumer sector.

    Observation and Opinion:
    Watch the VIX!! The unknowns that are disturbing to Wall Street starts with the U.S. auto industry. Wall Street needs new car sales to slow, but at a real slow pace in order to give traders time to create some new DEBT trading models. However, panic will set in if new car sales of GM, Ford, and Chrysler all suddenly hit the wall, causing a huge market sell-off to explode taking four years of slow painful recovery down with it, sliding the national economy back to the 2008 state.

    Wall Street has not decided to slap its Congressional toadies into line over the sequestration, just  because they want to ride the current high DOW (oscillating around 14000) a little bit longer. Wall Street's game plan is to get as much money into the market chasing the high DOW, and then when the time is right hedge funds and traders will SHORT the market coincident with the financial damage from the sequester solidifying throughout the entire U.S. economy. If this play works out right those hedge funds in SHORT positions when the market crashes will make fortunes that will make the short money raked in after the 2008 market crash look like chump change.  

    So when the subject of the sequester comes up just keep in mind just who is orchestrating this new economic jazz...


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