President Obama is running around the country trying like hell to convince the American public that the sky is falling and that it’s not his fault, it’s those horrible mean-spirited un-American Republicans. The fact that he’s golfing in Florida or campaigning instead of staying in Washington to do his job is infuriating enough, but now the Washington Post has cited a Washington Post-Pew poll that says that just one in four Americans are following the debate very closely and less than one in five say they understand “very well” what would happen if the sequester went into effect.
What to make of that? Especially in light of the fact that Pew polling done in the run up to the fiscal cliff crisis showed that 40 percent of people said they were following the negotiations “very closely”? President Obama is clear that the sequestration will ruin our economy, our bond rating, and our jobs recovery and, most importantly, will prove that he made a mistake suggesting the idea in the first place.
Perhaps the problem is the word sequester? Everyone can get their heads around a cliff, right? Like Road Runner slamming on the brakes, plumes of dust billowing out behind his feet as he avoids the cliff by inches. Whew! Wipe your brow, we’re saved. But sequestration? Most people don’t even know what the word means. It sounds like some trick that accountants use to hide income or what the cardinals over in Rome are doing as they pick a new Pope, but it certainly doesn’t sound like the end of the world. Obama should have come up with something that could instill a bit more urgency, don’t you think? The Armageddon Plan, the Recovery Doomsday Plan, the Disaster Looms Plan. Those names would have gotten some good-old American blood flowing.
Maybe the name doesn’t matter. Maybe we’re all just getting a little tired of the drama. Cliff, crisis, seques-whatever. Tomorrow will arrive, and we’ll all pull up our bootstraps and face the consequences of our inability to think clearly and rationally, as a nation, about how we’re going to rein in this runaway spending.
I have a strong suspicion that Mr. Obama is getting a little nervous about the apparent resolve of the Republicans in the House to stand by their pledge to consider no more tax increases without a discussion of entitlement reform and serious cuts in spending. Obama got his tax increase on the wealthy during the debt ceiling debate and now he doesn’t want to play fair. Sometimes when you play chicken, the other guy doesn’t flinch, no matter what you call it.