March 8, 2013

The White House Budget Office decided the best way to get stubborn, misguided politicians to work together was to threaten them with something they would NEVER consider under any circumstances if they didn’t reach agreement. They chose the term “sequestration” for mandatory budget cuts that were so ridiculous no one would dare let them be triggered by partisan intransigence…and then they went back to demanding things the Republican-led House would never agree to and waited for them to cave. For their part, the House leadership managed to undercut the process by conducting two separate—but not coordinated—negotiations that went no-where. A delegation led by Majority Leader Eric Kantor ran amok while trying to negotiate with the Administration while Speaker John Boehner attempted an end-run by dealing directly with the President. When, unbeknownst to his colleagues, the Speaker actually gave ground regarding additional taxes, the President demonstrated previously unparalleled cheek by upping the ante by hundreds of millions more. At that point, two things became obvious: 1) The President’s arrogance towards Republicans knows no bounds—he’s definitely out to destroy them; and 2) he has decided that, with a media that will support him no matter what he does, he can dump the blame for sequestration on the GOP and flog them with the results by purposely mandating that the mandated cuts are made in high profile areas that inflict maximum pain on the public. Now that sequestration has been implemented, the White House and the Democrats are pounding away at their opposition with unrelenting force. Meanwhile, Republicans are forming a circular firing squad and blasting away at each other. Score another one for the most vitriolic White House in memory.

Sequestration used to be a term applied to juries that were forced to remain behind closed doors until they could agree on a verdict. I’d prefer that definition be applied to this situation: We should insist that negotiators from both parties be sequestered in an uncomfortable and preferably poorly-ventilated room without the benefit of room service, telephones, PDAs, contact with the outside world of any kind, until the can reach agreement on a realistic, thoughtful and sensible budget.This administration and the United States Senate haven’t been able to do that since 2009. They haven’t even come close, because the White House sends up proposals that are not only dead on arrival, they stink like they’ve been decaying for months. When the President’s budget is defeated 99-0, it’s pretty obvious he wasn’t serious.

Speaking of the Obfuscator in Chief, he also should be sequestered until he demonstrates some leadership and fiscal responsibility. He should NOT be allowed to get into the world’s greatest business airplane, Air Force One, and traipse all over the country uttering campaign slogans and fomenting Apocalyptic fear—all because of the Republicans—when he has offered no specific plan for consideration and spent two full years since his staff hatched the idea and he signed it into law, to deal with the possibility of sequestration. He didn’t take it seriously during the entire two year period, even insisting during the Presidential election debates that
“it’s not gonna happen!” Let’s restrict him to the White House or Capitol Hill until he shows some leadership and seriously addresses this country’s fiscal challenges. He should not be allowed out again until he focuses on lowering something besides his golf handicap!

Finally, what kind of leadership and representation is it when the Executive and Legislative branches of our government come up with a hair-brained scheme to “punish” themselves for not collaborating by forcing unnecessary and harmful cuts on their constituents. No elected official should have the right to run for re-election if he or she can’t figure out how to offer practical and useful solutions to the inevitable problems that result from millions of people living together. Sequestration really is SEEK-FRUSTRATION as far as the American people are concerned. We’re all dismayed by their performance. It really does seem the time for term limits has arrived…but don’t count on the House and Senate to EVER address that issue!