Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting Room

If you’ve been following the latest adventure in Beltway brinksmanship, you know that we are down to the wire with the sequestration.  So far all we’ve heard is a lot of trash talk and tantrums from the Republicans because President Obama won’t give into their demands that he does everything they tell him too.  After all, who won the election last November.

Brian Buetler at TPM explains why the Democrats are content to let the GOP drive over the cliff.

The most important factor in this fight is probably the reality that Obama doesn’t have to face voters again and thus is willing to veto sequestration replacement bills if they’re composed of spending cuts alone. Congressional Democrats are fully aware of this, too, and that creates a powerful incentive for them to hold the line.

So sequestration will begin. Obama won’t cave. And then the tension sequestration was intended to create — and in fact has created — between defense hawks and the rest of the GOP will intensify and actually splinter the party. If that doesn’t happen quickly enough, then the sequestration fight will become tangled up in the need to renew funding for the federal government at the end of March. If Republicans don’t cave before then, they’ll precipitate a 1995-style government shutdown, public opinion will actually begin to control the outcome, and it’ll be game over.

The Republicans are at a disadvantage and they know it.  Everything they do smacks of desperation, and it gives the President the chance to look reasonable and magnanimous.

Game over, indeed.