I just caught a few minutes of Martin Bashir on MSNBC. He had a small panel and they were discussing the air traffic fix to the Sequester debacle. And man, aren’t those Republicans bad! They’re willing to let old folk go hungry but spring into action when it comes to their own comfort. Apparently, the Democrats have nothing to do with this. The 45 Republicans in the Senate were able to get the bill passed without Democratic help and Obama’s intention to sign the bill into law is due to the incredible ventriloquism of the Republican Party!
During the segment, there was a clip of Jay Carney castigating the Republicans. At no point did he add the truth, “Of course the president is going to sign the bill.” Don’t think Obama has no choice. He could hold a press conference and tell the people, “I have always been in favor of shared sacrifice. This bill is not shared sacrifice. I can’t help the more affluent among us avoid inconvenience while requiring poor children and the elderly to suffer. I cannot sign this bill.” But of course he will sign the bill because his idea of shared sacrifice has always been that the rich make a mess and the poor clean it up. Balance!
My more pragmatic colleagues will counter that Obama is in a political bind because the people blame the Republicans and him equally for the flight delays. And this is kind of true, as The Hill just reported. But flight delays are something that, as I said, mostly affect the more affluent. Thus, any poll is going to be skewed. Actually, the numbers don’t look bad at all. Who do the people blame? Republicans: 34%; Obama: 32%; Neither/Don’t Know: 34%. That 32% is the Republican base. If you asked Americans who was to blame for the Boston Marathon bombing, most would say the Tsarnaev brothers, but 32% would say Obama.
If the approach to the Sequester is going to be, “Let’s do what we can,” then why don’t we just repeal all the defense cuts? I’m sure the Republicans would vote for that too. But the Democrats will not do that. They know that such an approach is just giving the Republicans everything they want and getting nothing in return. Thus, carving out the air traffic exception to the Sequester is a joint project between the Republicans and the Democrats. And shame on MSNBC for pretending otherwise. They are looking more and more like Fox News.